Insightful Dive into Swine Health Advancements: ENDOVAC Animal Health Interview Review

Curtis Stutheit of ENDOVAC Animal Health shares decades of industry experience and insights on their groundbreaking swine health advancements in a dynamic podcast interview with Jim on SwineWeb and SwineTV. Access the entire interview here:

JE: “The ENDOVAC Effect: Transforming Swine Health with Curtis Stutheit, Director of Swine Business. Welcome to SwineWeb and SwineTV.”

CS: “Thank you, Jim.”

JE: “You have some great things happening with ENDOVAC Animal Health in Missouri. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself first, Curtis?”

CS: “I grew up on a small livestock farm in Southeast Nebraska. Dad had about 50 cows and by the time I went to college, I had 50 sows. Which immediately had to be sold, as he wasn’t getting into the pig business. I graduated from the university of Nebraska with an Animal Science and Ag Econ degree and was the first college grad that Watt Publishing hired to represent Pig American Magazine, Pig International, and Industria Porcina. A couple years later, I was hired into the Animal Health industry, where I’ve been ever since for the past 40 years. I spent about half that time managing sales and marketing teams in the distribution side of the business and the other half working with the sales and marketing of vaccines and pharmaceutical products. Somehow, I always gravitate back to the swine industry. I’m happy to be back in the pig business.”

JE: “40 years is a long time a lot of changes of the industry, Curtis. What is your role at ENDOVAC?”

CS: “I was brought on board to help ENDOVAC Animal Health bring the science of ENDOVAC to the swine industry in the North American market.”

JE: “How Long have you been with ENDOVAC?”

CS: “I did some behind-the-scenes consulting and then joined the company in January 2018, so this is my seventh year.”

JE: “You’ve had quite a diverse career in 40 years. With ENDOVAC, currently, did you always envision what you’re doing now or how did that evolve?”

CS: “Oh, I’d like to say I’m that person that’s mapped out my career, had a grand vision, but I’m not. I’ve been extremely blessed to have worked with a lot of great companies, great products and people, and high performing sales and marketing teams. Along the way with the different companies; I’ve always had somebody step forward to be a fantastic mentor who was gracious with their time. They normally had a pretty big role in directing and pointing me to the next interesting opportunity if you will.”

JE: “Who is one of the mentors, Curtis?”

CS: “Well, I could start with my first one, Dean Coppernoll. He took me under his wing in a fairly high-level role as far as responsibilities. There were three of us in the U.S. that had responsibility for selling ad space for Pig American, Pig International, and Industria Porcina Magazines. Obviously out of college, I was the youngest. I think the average age for the entire team international and domestic was well into their 40s. So, he was forced to be a great mentor.”

JE: “Tell us a little bit about ENDOVAC Animal Health.”

CS: “It’s exciting science that is unique to the industry. It was discovered at the University of Missouri back in the early 1980s by Dr. Harold Garner and Dr. Ron Sprouse. Dr. Sprouse with his passion, vision and determination successfully got the company off the ground and gave us a good foundation to be where we are today.”

JE: “And how long has ENDOVAC been in business?”

CS: “We had the good fortune, last August, to celebrate our 40th year, in our new building, Jim. In 2020, we built a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing facility. It was quite a celebration of 40 years of success.

JE: “40 years and a new building… is it a family-owned business, Curtis?”

CS: It is. It’s currently being run by the second generation, Kevin Sprouse. We operate as a family business too with a high level of integrity, trust, and respect for each other.”

JE: “What products does ENDOVAC offer and how can those products help producers and veterinarians?”

CS: “Our portfolio is currently made up of four vaccines all based on the ENDOVAC science platform. They were brought to market over these past 40 years in this order of ENDOVAC-Equi, ENDOVAC-Dairy, ENDOVAC-Beef, and ENDOVAC-Porci. These vaccines improve herd health in those industries.”

JE: “I’ve seen a lot of challenges in the swine industry. What challenges are you seeing now, Curtis?”

CS: You know in the press- we talk a lot about foreign animal diseases… but interestingly enough, Jim, 40 or 50 years I don’t care how far you go back, health remains a big challenge. Dr. Luc Dufresne spoke back in 2003 at a Genetics Pig Health Symposium and titled his talk “The Economics of Pig Health Improvement.” His quote right out of the gate was “Unfortunately disease challenges remain a major, if not the major, stumbling block on the road to stable and profitable production.” Sadly, we are not even going the right direction in the last couple years. Sow mortality and wean to finish mortality are both going the wrong direction. They’re going up, and that’s just not economically sustainable.”

JE: “So how are producers and veterinarians tackling these challenges? I know you’ve been to AASV and the different trade shows, Curtis.”

CS: “Yes, you know we’re a very resilient group, but obviously the statistics say we’re not successfully tackling these challenges as you said. Respectfully, for the industry we are trying to do things the right way. We’re not trying to control disease and going back to the band-aid of pre-2016 with feed antibiotics covering up our issues. We are tackling them with vaccines and technology. Right now, one of the major trends is custom vaccines, or the better scientific term, autogenous vaccines, which are having mixed results.”

JE: “How do you see that affecting ENDOVAC?”

CS: “Well, I see it is a huge opportunity. As the industry gains experience and confidence in the two components of ENDOVAC, I think producers and DVMs will see multiple health benefits throughout their production systems with ENDOVAC.”

JE: “So for the swine market specifically it’s ENDOVAC-Porci which is the key product. Can you dive into that a little bit deeper, Curtis?”

CS: “Sure, I’d be happy to. It’s the same science as the other successful ENDOVAC vaccines. I say successful because ENDOVAC-Dairy has had the lion share of the mastitis market for decades now, even competing with three of the bigger pharma companies in the industry. ENDOVAC-Beef has been on the fast track of growth and ENDOVAC-Porci is chasing as well, as we are the last to be marketed. Both components are novel or unique to the industry. Our antigen is the core antigen of a gram-negative bacteria that is common to all gram negatives. Then the second component, I believe from the beginning of me being introduced to ENDOVAC-Porci that this immunostimulant we have branded as Immune Plus is going to be a big deal. It enhances the pigs’ immune system to respond with a stronger response to vaccines and disease challenges. And again, I think this is exciting science as the feedback coming back from producers and veterinarians is it is improving overall health. In turn, that helps with production and profitability.”

JE: “And you had a lot of good feedback at AASV?”

CS: “I did! It gets more enjoyable each year to go. There are more veterinarians that have used ENDOVAC for some time and there are more that are getting on board. It’s fun to hear their initial experiences and evaluations… for the most part they are very, very positive whether they’re using it on the sow farm or in the grow-finish pigs. It’s got a good future!”

JE: “Tell me a little bit about your user or current customer base.”

CS: “With me being a sales and marketing guy, I pretty much beat my head against a tough sale just in the grow-finish pig. But we’ve had some very good mixed-practice DVMs from day one that had experience with ENDOVAC-Dairy and ENDOVAC-Beef who adapted ENDOVAC-Porci and started to evaluate the product with their customers. This opened my mind to not just using ENDOVAC in the grow-finish where we deal with a lot of gram-negative diseases, but in overall sow health and health in the GDU. Most recently, we shared a study in boar studs that improved health and performance. DVMs and the producers themselves are helping us expand our market as we understand the product and the production systems better and they gain confidence in its science and performance.”

JE: “Are you working on a study now or is it available to the public?”

CS: “We’ve done a lot of research on the core antigen component of what gram-negatives does ENDOVAC control and all of those studies have been successful. We’re probably not going to continue to go down that list as it’s long list in the pig industry and the field tells us it works well in gram-negatives. One thing the industry doesn’t understand as well as we’d like is the value of the Immune Plus component. Our research will probably turn to what can an immunostimulant do for a hog production system.”

JE: “What is one piece of advice you would give somebody in the swine industry right now?”

CS: “My common theme as I visit with producers is if you’re not performing above or at industry averages, whether you’re talking about the sow farm and pigs per sow per year, pre-wean survivability, sow death loss, or grow-finish metrics; wean-finish mortality, days on feed, and so on, the economics won’t work well for you. I believe ENDOVAC can help most of those operations. I’d just say to them – check us out and give us a call. Let’s see where we might plug ENDOVAC in and what the results on your system are.”

JE: “What’s the most important lesson you have learned in your career?”

CS: “Does have to be one I’ve followed really well?”

JE: “No… haha!”

CS: “Being a salesperson, it takes some discipline to talk less, listen more, but age helps with that a bit. You just don’t learn much while you’re talking. This is a great industry full of extremely intelligent and talented producers and veterinarians, so there’s always so much more to learn out there. I would just say listen up and learn.”

JE: “Listen up and learn, that’s some good advice. Now let’s wrap up if there is anything else you want to tell our listeners about ENDOVAC Animal Health, ENDOVAC-Porci, or yourself Curtis?”

CS: “Well, I’ll wrap it all up. At ENDOVAC Animal Health, as I said, we’re a family company and it speaks to each one of us as individuals, as we’re pretty passionate about helping others succeed. We’ve enjoyed 40 years of success helping the dairy, beef, and swine industries. And we look forward to many more years of working with those industries. I personally, on the behalf of ENDOVAC Animal Health, would like to thank each and every one of our customers for those opportunities to serve. We appreciate you and we thank you!”

JE: “Curtis Stutheit, thanks for joining us today.”

CS: “You bet, Jim. Thanks for having me!”