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Michael Capel, D.V.M. ’00, named AABP president


Michael Capel, D.V.M. ’00, began a term as president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP). Photo: Provided.

Michael Capel, D.V.M. ’00, credits the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) with teaching him two lessons that fundamentally shaped his career: the importance of analytical thinking and a love of dairy production medicine.

“What Cornell really helped me understand was the importance of thinking critically about the things that came across my path,” he said. “No one is able to prepare you for absolutely everything you will see in the field, but Cornell gave me the tools and resources I needed to excel in this field.”

This year, Capel began a term as president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), an international association of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students interested in bovine medicine. Capel joins several Cornell graduates who have served as AABP president and other leadership positions over the history of the organization, including most recently Mark Thomas D.V.M. ’97 who served as president in 2017. In this role, Capel will serve as a national representative for the field of bovine medicine, attending conferences and advocating for policies that support bovine health and practitioners. He is also a partner in the Perry Veterinary Clinic in Perry, New York, where he is responsible for the health and well-being of approximately 25,000 cows.

Capel first joined AABP as a veterinary student, where he participated in externships and developed his passion for caring for cattle. “AABP has been a huge part of my career since I was in vet school,” he said. “They provide a sense of camaraderie, opportunities for networking, unparalleled continuing education, and advocacy for the profession of cattle medicine. For me, it was really important to give back to the organization because it’s been such an important part of who I am today.”

In his job as a veterinarian, Capel works with 15 dairy producers in western New York. His clients turn to him for nutrition advice, milking equipment consultations, guidance on barn designs, business management practices, and – of course – to care for sick cows.

Capel says he appreciates how bovine medicine has advanced in the past two decades to focus more on disease prevention. “I’m really happy to be part of an evolution from reactive medicine to more prevention and consulting services,” he said. “We don’t want to be good at fixing broken cows, we want them not to get broken in the first place.”

Capel also credits CVM with another important facet of his life: introducing him to his wife, Katrina Capel D.V.M. ’00. The pair were partners in anatomy dissection during their first year of veterinary school and inseparable after that. “We married our third year of vet school, graduated together, and joined the Perry Veterinary Clinic at the same time,” he said. Katrina Capel practices small animal medicine there. Michael Capel has also prioritized giving back to CVM, previously serving as the chairman of the advisory board for Quality Milk Production Services, a Cornell-sponsored program that promotes milk quality by reducing mastitis levels in dairy herds, and on CVM’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

Getting involved in leadership roles – both at Cornell and the AABP – has been an eye-opening experience, Capel said. “I’ve come to realize and value all of the work it takes to make the world go around on a daily basis,” he said. “And I’m grateful to give back to the organizations that have done so much to shape my own life.”

Written by Sheri Hall