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Robert J. Van Saun, DVM, MS, PhD

  • Extension Veterinarian
  • Professor of Veterinary Science
Robert J. Van Saun, DVM, MS, PhD
111B Henning Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email:
Work Phone: 814-865-6995
Fax: 814-863-6140

Areas of Expertise

  • Ruminant nutrition
  • Dairy herd health
  • Metabolic disease
  • Reproduction
  • Nutrition reproduction interactions
  • Small ruminants
  • Llamas and Alpacas

Education

  1. PhD, Ruminant Nutrition, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, 1993
  2. MS, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine,
  3. Michigan State University, 1988
  4. Residency, Theriogenology, Field Service Section, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, 1987
  5. DVM, Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine,Michigan State University, 1982
  6. BS, Zoology, Michigan State University, 1978

Extension

  • Pregnancy nutrition and its influence on health, production and reproduction
  • Metabolic diseases and their prevention
  • Nutritional formulation and management of domestic animals – Dairy and Beef Cattle, Small Ruminants (sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas), and Horses
  • Nutritional Diagnostics
  • Nutrition-Disease-Reproduction Interrelationships
  • Preventive Medicine Programs

Research

  • Transition cow metabolism and its relationship to metabolic and infectious disease
  • Develop new diagnostic techniques for nutritional monitoring – metabolic profiling
  • Mineral and vitamin metabolism in pregnant animals
  • Modeling of rumen function and animal nutrient requirements

Specialty Certification

  • American College of Theriogenologists, 1987
  • American College of Veterinary Nutrition, 1990

Honors and Awards

  • Zoetis Distinguished Service Award, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, 2013
  • Lifetime Member for Outstanding Service, American Association of Veterinary Nutrition, 2013
  • Excellence in Academic Advising, College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society, Penn State University, 2013
  • Center for Teaching Excellence Award, College of Agricultural Science, Penn State University, 2009
  • Pfizer Excellence in Research Award, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, 1997
  • James and Mildred Oldfield and E.R. Jackman Team Award, OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, Dairy Team Member, 1997
  • Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teacher Award, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, 1995
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, Honor Society of Agriculture, 1990
  • National Society of Phi Zeta, Zeta Chapter, 1981

Professional Organization Memberships

  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association
  • American College of Theriogenologists
  • American College of Veterinary Nutrition
  • American Dairy Science Association
  • American Society of Animal Science
  • American Association of Bovine Practitioners
  • Society for Theriogenology
  • American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition
  • American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners
  • American Association of Extension Veterinarians

Background - Clinical Experience

  • Professor/Extension Veterinarian - Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Penn State University, University Park, PA, July 2006 - Present
  • Associate Professor/Extension Veterinarian - Department of Veterinary Science, Penn State University, July 2000 - June 2006
  • Assistant Professor/Rural Veterinary Practice Clinician, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July 1992 - June 2000
  • Associate Veterinarian, Friesen Veterinary Services, Carson City, MI, 1991 - 1992
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1987 - 1991
  • Field Service Resident/Instructor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 1984 - 1987
  • Associate Veterinarian, Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Lowville, NY, 1982 - 1984

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Gelsinger, S. L., Heinrichs, A. J., Jones, C. M., Van Saun, R. J., Burns, C. M., and Lysczek, H. R. Efficacy of on-farm use of ultraviolet light for inactivation of bacteria in milk for calves. J Dairy Sci. 97:2990-2997, 2014.

Van Saun, R. J., and Sniffen, C. J. Feeding the transition cow for minimizing periparturient disease. Vet Clin N Am-Food A. 30(3):689-719, 2014.

MacFarland, D. F., Tyson, J. F., and Van Saun, R. J. Nonnutritional factors influencing the feeding program. Vet Clin N Am-Food A. 30(3):745-764, 2014.

Lean, I. J., Van Saun, R. J., and DeGaris, P. J. Energy and protein nutrition management of the transition dairy cows. Vet Clin N Am-Food A. 29:337-366, 2013.

Lean, I. J., Van Saun, R. J., and DeGaris, P. J. Mineral and antioxidant management of transition dairy cows. Vet Clin N Am-Food A. 29:367-386, 2013.

Hall, J. A., Van Saun, R. J., Bobe, G., Stewart, W. C., Vorachek, W. R., Mosher, W. D., Nichols, T., Forsberg, N. E., and Pirelli, G. J. Organic and inorganic selenium: I. Oral bioavailability in sheep. J An Sci. 90:568-576, 2012.

Stewart, W. C., Bobe G., Vorachek, W. R., Pirelli, G. J., Mosher, W. D., Nichols, T., Van Saun, R. J., Forsberg N. E., and Hall, J. A. Organic and inorganic selenium: II. Transfer efficiency of from ewes to lambs. J An Sci. 90:577-584, 2012.

Hall, J. A., Sendek, R. S., Chinn, R. M., Bailey, D. P., Thonstad, K. N., Wang, Y., Forsberg, N. E., Voracheck, W. R., Stang, B. V., Van Saun, R. J., and Bobe G. Higher whole-blood selenium is associated with improved immune responses in footrot-affected sheep. Vet Res. 42(1):99, 2011 (Open Access: www.veterinaryresearch.org/content/pdf/1297-9716-42-99.pdf).

Hall, J. A., Harwell, A. M., Van Saun, R. J., Vorachek, W. R., Stewart, W. C., Galbraith, M. L.,  Hooper, K. L., Hunter, J. K., Mosher, W. D., and Pirelli, G. J. Agronomic biofortification with selenium: Effects on whole blood selenium and humoral immunity in beef cattle. Anim Feed Sci Tech. 164:184-190, 2011.

Van Saun, R. J. Effects of transition nutrition and periparturient disease on reproductive performance: A review. Bovine Pr.

Van Saun, R. J. Transition metabolism and periparturient: A review. Bovine Practitioner.

Van Saun, R. J., Wolfgang, D. R. Dairy herd biosecurity programs: A new look at an ongoing problem. Bovine Pr.

Van Saun, R. J., Todd, A. B., and Varga, G. A. Characterization of Serum Mineral Concentrations in Periparturient Holstein Dairy Cows. J Am Vet Med Assoc.

Van Saun, R. J., Todd, A. B., and Varga, G. A. Effect of Periparturient Disease on Serum Mineral Concentrations in Holstein Dairy Cows. J Am Vet Med Assoc.

Van Saun, R. J., and Tornquist, S. J. Use of pooled sera samples in assessing metabolic status of dairy cattle.  Bovine Pr.

Gianesella, M., Morgante, M., Stelletta, C., Ravarotto, L., Giudice, E., and Van Saun, R. Evaluating the effects of rumenocentesis on health and performance in dairy cows. ACTA Veterinaria Brno. 79:459-468, 2010.

Van Saun, R. J. Nutritional requirements and assessing nutritional status. Vet Clin N Am-Food A. 25(2):265-279, 2009.

Van Saun, R. J. Nutritional diseases of llamas and alpacas. Vet Clin N Am-Food A. 25(3):797-810, 2009.

Hall, J. A., Bailey, D. P., Thonstad, K. N., and Van Saun, R. J. Effect of parenteral selenium supplementation to sheep on prevalence and recovery from foot rot. J Vet Intern Med. 23:352-358, 2009.

Hall, J. A., Van Saun, R. J., Nichols, T., Mosher, W., and Pirelli, G. Comparison of selenium status in sheep after short-term exposure to high selenium fertilized forage or mineral supplement. Small Ruminant Res. 82:40-45, 2009.

Van Saun, R. J. Nutritional diseases of South American camelids. Small Ruminant Res. 61(2/3):153-164, 2006.

Van Saun, R. J. Nutrient requirements of South American camelids: A factorial approach. Small Ruminant Res. 61(2/3):165-186, 2006.

Hall, J. A., Van Saun, R. J., and Wander, R.C. Dietary (n-3) fatty acids from Menhaden fish oil alter plasma fatty acids and leukotriene B synthesis in healthy horses. J Vet Intern Med. 18(6):871-879, 2004.

Hall, J. A., Van Saun, R. J., Tornquist, S. J., Gradin, J. L., Pearson, E.G., and Wander, R. C. Effect of type of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid supplement (corn oil or fish oil) on immune responses in healthy horses. J Vet Intern Med. 18(6):880-886, 2004.

Van Saun, R. J. Vitamin D-responsive rickets in neonatal lambs. Canadian Vet J. 45(10)841-844, 2004.

Stup, R., Van Saun, R. J., and Wolfgang, D. R. A promising new role for extension educators in a dynamic industry: The cow sense project. J Extension. 40(6), 2002. http://www.joe.org/joe/2002december/a5.shtml.


Parker, J. E., Timm, K. I., Smith, B. B., Van Saun, R. J., Winters, K. M., Sukon, P., and Snow, C. M. Seasonal interaction of vitamin D and bone density in the llama. Am J Vet Res. 63:948-953, 2002.

Cebra, C. K., Tornquist, S. J., Van Saun, R. J., and Smith, B. B. Intravenous glucose tolerance testing in Llamas and Alpacas. Am J Vet Res. 62(5):682-686, 2001.

Tornquist, S. J., Cebra, C. K., Van Saun, R. J., and Smith, B. B. Metabolic changes and induction of hepatic lipidosis during feed restriction in llamas. Am J Vet Res. 62(7):1081-1087, 2001.

Smith, B. B. , and Van Saun, R. J. Seasonal changes in serum calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D concentrations in llamas and alpacas. Am J Vet Res. 62(8):1187-1193, 2001.

Valentine, B. A., Van Saun, R. J., Thompson, K. N., and Hintz, H. F. Therapeutic role of dietary carbohydrates and fat in equine polysaccharide storage myopathy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 219(11):1537-1544, 2001.

Van Saun, R. J., Callihan, B., and Tornquist, S. J. Nutritional support for treatment of hepatic lipidosis in a llama. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 217(10):1531-1535, 2000.

Van Saun, R. J. Pregnancy toxemia outbreak in a sheep flock. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 217(10):1536-1539, 2000.

Tornquist, S. J., Van Saun, R. J., Smith, B. B., Cebra, C. K., and Snyder, S. P. Histologically-confirmed hepatic lipidosis in llamas and alpacas: 31 Cases (1991-1997). J Am Vet Med Assoc. 214(9):1368-1372, 1999.

East, L. M., Van Saun, R. J., and Vanderwall, D. K. Equine Embryo Transfer In Practice: A review of the technique and 1997 practitioner-based survey. Part 3: Client and Veterinary Economics. Equine Pract. 1999;21(2):16-19.

East, L. M., Van Saun, R. J., and Vanderwall, D. KEquine Embryo Transfer In Practice: A review of the technique and 1997 practitioner-based survey. Part 2: Embryo recovery and transfer techniques. Equine Pract. 21(1):8-12, 1999.

Smith, B. B., Van Saun, R. J., Reed, P. J., and Craig A. M., and Youngberg, A. Normal blood mineral and vitamin E concentrations in the llama (Lama glama). Am J Vet Res. 59(8):1063-1070, 1998.

East, L. M., Van Saun, R. J., and Vanderwall, D. K. Equine Embryo Transfer In Practice: A review of the technique and 1997 practitioner-based survey. Part 1: Donor and recipient selection and preparation. Equine Pract. 20:16-20, 1998.

Van Saun, R. J., and Sniffen, C. J. Nutritional management of the pregnant dairy cow to optimize health, lactation and reproductive performance. Anim Feed Sci Tech. 59:13-26, 1996.

Van Saun, R. J., Smith, B. B., Watrous, B. J. Evaluation of vitamin D status in llamas and alpacas with hypophosphatemic rickets. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 209:1128-1133, 1996.

Van Saun R. J., Idleman, S. C., and Sniffen, C. J. Effect of undegradable protein amount fed prepartum on postpartum production in first lactation Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci. 76:236-244, 1993.

Mechor, G. D., Gröhn, Y. T., McDowell, L. R., and Van Saun, R. J. Specific gravity measurement of bovine colostrum immunoglobulin concentration as affected by temperature and colostral components. J Dairy Sci. 75:3131-3135, 1992.

Mechor, G. D., Gröhn, Y. T., and Van Saun, R. J. Effect of temperature on colostrometer readings for estimation of immunoglobulin concentration in bovine colostrum. J Dairy Sci. 74:3940-3943, 1991.

Van Saun, R. J., Herdt, T. H., and Stowe, H. D. Maternal and fetal vitamin E concentrations and seleniumvitamin E interrelationships in dairy cattle. J Nutr. 119(8): 1156-1164, 1989.

Van Saun R. J., Herdt, T. H., and Stowe, H. D. Maternal and fetal selenium concentrations and their interrelationships in dairy cattle. J Nutr. 119(8):1128-1137, 1989.

Van Saun R. J., and Ciszewski D. K. Preputial foreign body in a bull. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 194(9):1303-1304, 1989.

Van Saun, R. J. Copper toxicosis in sheep. Mod Vet Pract. 69:3-7, 1988.

Van Saun, R. J. Choosing a microcomputer program for dairy ration formulation. Agri-Practice. 9:18-22, 1988.

Van Saun R. J., Bartlett, P., and Morrow, D. A. Monitoring the effects of postpartum disease on milk production in dairy cows. Comp Cont Educ Pract Vet. 9(6):F212-220, 1987.

Book Chapters 

Van Saun, R. J. (guest editor). Dairy Cattle Nutrition. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 2014; November (12 chapters to issue).

Cebra, C., Anderson, D. E., Tibary, A., Van Saun, R. J., Johnson, L. W. Llama and Alpaca Care: Medicine, Surgery, Reproduction, Nutrition, and Herd Health, 1st ed., Elsevier: St. Louis, MO., ISBN: 978-1-4377-2352-6, 789 pp., 2014 (Editor of nutrition section, authored or co-authored 7 chapters)

Van Saun, R. J. Rickets in small ruminants and camelids. In: Applied Small Ruminant and Camelid Medicine, Plummer, P, Schleining, J, Coetzee, J, eds. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers: Ames, IA, 2013 (in press).

Van Saun, R. J. Analytical Laboratory Testing. In: Blackwell's 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Ruminant. Haskell, SR, (Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell: Ames, IA, pp. 44-47, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Metabolic Profiles. In: Blackwell's 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Ruminant. Haskell, SR, (Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell: Ames, IA, pp. 552-555, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Metabolic Profiling. In: Current Veterinary Therapy - Food Animal Practice, 5th vol., Anderson DE and Rings M, (Eds.), Saunders Elsevier: St. Louis, Missouri, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Metabolic and nutritional diseases of the puerperal period (Bovine Section, Chapter 46). In: Youngquist, RS, Threlfall, W (eds), Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology, 2nd ed, Saunders/Elsevier: St. Louis, MO, 2007, pp 355-378.

Van Saun, R. J. Puerperal nutrition and metabolic diseases (Caprine Section, Chapter 75). In: Youngquist, RS, Threlfall, W (eds), Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology, 2nd ed, Saunders/Elsevier: St. Louis, MO, 2007, pp 562-572.

Van Saun, R. J. and J DeJong. Livestock Nutrition. In: Pratt, PW. (ed), Principles and Practice of Veterinary Technology, Mosby-Year Book: St. Louis, Missouri, 1997, pp. 264-271.

Van Saun, R. J. Feeding the Alpaca (Vicugna pacos, Chapter 9). In: Hoffman, E., ed., The Complete Alpaca Book, 2nd ed., Bonny Doon Press: Santa Cruz, CA, 2003, pp. 179-232 (2nd printing chapter revision, 2006). http://www.bonnydoonalpacas.org/alpacabook.htm

Extension Publications

Van Saun, R. J., and Hendrichs A. J. Troubleshooting silage problems: How to identify potential problems. College of Agricultural Science, Penn State University, 10 pp., DAS 08-125, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J., Kime, L. F., Knoll, K. E., Hoch, P., Hoch, A., and Harper, J. K. Agricultural Alternatives: Dairy Goat Production. Agricultural Alternatives Circular UA 447, Department of Agricultural Economics and Veterinary Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, 8 pp., 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Feeding the pregnant alpaca. Alpaca Registry Journal. 5(1):3-10, 2000.

Van Saun, R. J. Understanding vitamin and minerals supplements forcamelids: Reading between the lines. Alpaca Registry Journal. 4(1):3-10, 1999.

Van Saun, R. J. Questions & Answers: An Interview With:, Llamas. 12(2):13-15, 1998.

Smith, B. B., Tornquist S. J., and Van Saun, R. J. Hepatic lipidosis in the camelid: A different perspective. Alpaca Registry Journal. 3(1):26-28, 1998.

Magazine Articles

Van Saun, R. J. Keeping cows healthy and profitable: A veterinarian’s view – Part 2. The Bagpipe (Highland Beef Cattle Quarterly). 23(1) Winter:7-10, 2014.

Van Saun, R. J. Keeping cows healthy and profitable: A veterinarian’s view – Part 3. The Bagpipe (Highland Beef Cattle Quarterly). 23(2) Spring:5-9, 2014.

Weaver, Bill and Mary. Nutrient Boost can help Prevent Mastitis. Country Folks Magazine, http://countryfolks.com/nutrient-boost-can-help-prevent-mastitis/, Accessed: 5/26, 2014. Helped authors with material for article and modifications.

Weaver, Bill and Mary. Moldy hay holds multiple hazards for horses. Country Folks Magazine, http://countryfolks.com/moldy-hay-holds-multiple-hazards-for-horses/, Accessed: 9/28, 2014. Helped authors with material for article and modifications.

Van Saun, R. J. How well are they growing? International Camelid Quarterly. 12(1):56-58, 2013.

Van Saun, R. J. Keeping cows healthy and profitable: A veterinarian’s view. The Bagpipe (Highland Beef Cattle Quarterly). 22(4) Fall:5-7, 2013.

Van Saun, R. J. Fundamentals of Llama Feeding Management. Discover Llamas. 13:13-17, 2011.

Van Saun, R. J. Copper Nutrition in Camelids Part 2. Lamalink.com. 3(17):28-30, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Copper Nutrition in Camelids Part 1. Lamalink.com. 3(16):37-40, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. How Well Are They Growing? Lamalink.com. 3(15):22-25, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Selenium Nutrition in Camelids - Part 2. Lamalink.com. 3(14):26-30, 2008.

Van Saun, R. J. Selenium Nutrition in Camelids - Part 1. Lamalink.com. 3(13):22-25, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. Hepatic Lipidosis in Llamas and Alpacas Part 2. Disease Therapy and Prevention. Lamalink.com. 3(12):36-38, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. Hepatic Lipidosis in Llamas and Alpacas Part 1. Recognizing the Disease. Lamalink.com. 3(11):40-42, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. Problems following grain consumption. Lamalink.com. 3(10):32-33, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. Inquiries on skin diseases and eating problems. Lamalink.com. 3(9):28-30, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. Urinary blockage in llamas and alpacas. Lamalink.com. 3(8):30-31, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. Where’d the sun go? Vitamin D and bone development. Lamalink.com. 3(5):26-28, 2007.

Van Saun, R. J. From here to wear. Lamalink.com. 3(4):26-28, 2006.

Van Saun, R. J. Grain feeding: It’s all about energy. Lamalink.com. 3(2):28-31, 2006.

Van Saun, R. J. Determining forage quality: Understanding feed analysis. Lamalink.com. 3(8):18-19,22,24, 25-26, 2006.

Van Saun, R. J. Which one, loose or block salt feeding? Lamalink.com. 3(7):22, 24, 26-27, 2006.

Van Saun, R. J. What is forage quality and how does it affect a feeding program? Lamalink.com. 3(6):31-36, 2006.

Sniffen, C. J., and Van Saun, R. J. Dry Cow care sets the pace for milking. Hoard's Dairyman. 135 (5):251, 1990.

Van Saun, R. J. Should you be balancing rations with a computer? Hoard's Dairyman. 134(10):447, 1989.

Van Saun, R. J. The why and how of twins. Hoard’s Dairyman. 146(5):170, 2001.

Ongoing Projects

Primary Investigator:

  • Levels of Nutritional Minerals in Free Ranging Elk Grazing on Reclaimed Stripmines
  • Levels of Nutritional Minerals in Free Ranging Cattle Grazing on Reclaimed Stripmines (Supplement)

Contributing Investigator:

  • The Impact of Diet Particle Size on Sorting, Rumen Fermentation, and Metabolic Disease in Dairy Cattle
  • Isolation and Characterization of Bovine class II MHC-Bound Peptides from Cows with High Somatic Cell Counts: A Proteomics-based Approach to Identifying Etiological Agents of Bovine Mastitis
  • Improving the Competitiveness of Dairy Production in Northwest Pennsylvania
  • Nanobarcodes-based Bioassays for Tracing Consignments of Meat and Bone Meal

Recently Completed Projects

Primary Investigator:

  • Diagnostic Evaluation of Trace Mineral Status in the Bovine Fetus
  • Diagnostic Relevance of Pooled Samples for Metabolic Profiles in Dairy Cattle