The Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners (WCABP) selected Acton for its Boehringer Ingelheim/WCABP Veterinarian of the Year award during the association’s annual conference in January.
Created in 1995, the annual award recognizes outstanding bovine veterinarians who work and live in Western Canada.
Originally from Lemberg, Sask., Acton has owned and operated the Deep South Animal Clinic in Ogema, Sask., for 30 years. In addition to his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Saskatchewan, Acton is a board-certified specialist in beef cattle practice and was the first Canadian to achieve this specialty status with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) in 2008.
Acton has been an active member of the veterinary profession through his involvement in several associations including the WCABP, the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA) and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP). He was the WCABP president in 2000 as well as SVMA president in 2013, and he has served as a speaker at numerous veterinary conferences.
While Acton enjoys working with all sizes and species of animals, he has a particular passion for innovative bovine medicine. Throughout his career, he has been an early adopter of current research and new technologies. For example, Acton’s rural practice is the only Saskatchewan clinic that owns a “float tank” — a tool that his clinical team has used with great success for treating acute calving injuries in beef cattle.
Acton has participated in investigations targeting failure of passive transfer (FPT) in calves and has recruited clients to participate in numerous parasite studies and other clinical projects. As the first marketing adviser for Prairie Diagnostic Services (the province’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory), he helped to develop several diagnostic panels as well as a herd surveillance program for bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).
As described in the award’s nomination letter, Acton always takes time to answer other practitioners’ questions about bovine medicine and surgery. He has been a mentor for many new veterinary graduates and students, and he is willing to provide advice on everything from surgical techniques and treatment plans to coping with the stresses of veterinary practice.
“After nearly 30 years in practice, when asked … [about] his favourite part of veterinary medicine, Dr. Acton simply replied, ‘Watching a sick cow eat,’” stated the nomination letter. “This demonstrates his caring disposition and genuine love for his profession.”