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Reflections from Bruno’s Diary on Dr. K

My genealogy goes back many generations. A search through these documents in the National Archives of Dog Pedigrees uncovered many interesting details about how my ancestors had followed a unique individual – Dr. K.

During his practicum to become a sheep vet, Dr. K spent many hours setting lambs on their rump while the instructor vaccinated them for overeating in the auxiliary space. After graduation (1959) he worked for USDA as a field vet and was assigned to tracking down scrapie exposed rams from Canada. Some rams were found in Moffat County and Routt County, Colorado. After disposing of the ram/s and completing ALL of the paper work, as a service to the producer, he would palpate all of the other rams for Epididymitis as there was no blood test at that time.

To prepare him for work in eradicating Brucellosis in cattle, Dr. K was sent to the University of Minnesota for further training. While working on a Master’s in Public Health, he worked together with Dr. Peitz of the National Animal Disease laboratory to develop the brucellosis card test antigen and technique, which was used for years to help in eradication of brucellosis from cattle. During this time, he was also instrumental in developing an increased sensitivity brucellosis ring test for the large dairy herds in southern California.

Dr. K’s first encounter with reproductive failure in sheep was in 1965 when a Grand Junction producer had problems with poor conception rates in his ewes.

Semen evaluation became an important part of Dr. K’s work in sheep reproduction. It turns out, the first ejaculator for rams was from a research unit in Australia where one of my great uncles worked. It was a powerful unit that plugged into the 110 volt socket. Wow! Did they collect rams! Many semen samples were pure trash and many rams had gross palpable epididymal lesions. As time passed Dr. K, in cooperation with Lane Mfg., developed a battery operated hand held ejaculator, that is the industry standard today.

Dr. K was one of the first to correlate white blood cells in a semen sample with the chance of culturing B.ovis. He and a couple of other blokes; Dr. Schweitzer from the West Slope Diagnostic Lab and Heinrich at the CSU Diagnostic Lab, then developed the standard technique for the B.ovis ELISA test.

Eventually, Dr. K’s work was used in setting the criteria for semen quality parameters adopted by the Society for Theriogenology (reproduction in animals) for both rams and bulls. He was also instrumental in the development of the K-R Spay instrument with Dr. Gary Rupp, liver & adipose tissue biopsies in large animals and numerous other useful adaptations for the production livestock industries.

In checking out the records, Dr. K has worked with producers, veterinarians and researchers from 6 of the 7 continents of the world. My genealogy doesn’t record any of my family being associated with Antarctica so it is unknown if he has studied brucellosis in penguins.

Prepared by Bruno (with the help of friends)

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