Summer Scholar Dairy Research

If Michael Burchard doesn’t know how to draw blood from a dairy cow after his summer in the field, then he will probably never learn.

That’s because he did approximately 400 blood samples during his Summer Scholars Research Program project in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Burchard, a third-year veterinary medicine student from suburbs of Chicago, worked with Dr. Patrick Gorden, senior clinician in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, on a research project that looked at the depletion of meloxicam from plasma and milk of post-partum lactating dairy cattle.

“I worked with the Veterinary Field Services unit and we were out at the Iowa State Dairy Farm the entire summer,” Burchard said. “I drew blood frequently and am now quite confident with the procedure.”

Burchard was one of 25 College of Veterinary Medicine students who spent their summer participating in the college’s annual Summer Scholars Research Program.

The program introduces veterinary medicine students to research in a wide variety of areas including clinical medicine, animal science, public health, neuroscience and immunology. Students are teamed with faculty researchers for the summer and work on an active research project.

In his project, Burchard looked at meloxicam, an extra label non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used in large animal medicine for its potential analgesic effects. When used for treatment on dairy cows, the current prescribed withdrawal time for milk production is 96 hours.

The research project that Burchard and Gorden explored looked at how early lactation cows treated with meloxicam will have longer milk and plasma depletion time when compared to mid-lactation cows. He found that even with an extended withdrawal time in recently calved cows, producers will still see a sizable increase in their cow’s milk production.

The third year student says he choose to be a part of the Summer Scholars Research Program because he has “a huge interest in working with dairy cows.”

“This gave me more exposure to this part of veterinary medicine and was a valuable experience,” Burchard said. “The program was also a good opportunity to see what research is actually like and see if I want to pursue research as a career field.