Tribute to Jim Miller

August 15, 2017

Dr. Jim Miller, world renowned veterinary parasitologist, retired from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Animal Sciences on June 27, 2017.

 

 Jim and Carol Miller

 

Dr. Miller received a BS degree from the University of New Mexico in 1966, and DVM, MPVM and PhD degrees from the University of California, Davis in 1978, 1982 and 1983, respectively. He is board certified in parasitology in the American College of Veterinary Microbiology. He has been a member of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine faculty since 1984. He was named the Everett D. Besch Professor of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 and recently served as the Interim Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Studies.
 

Dr. Miller was one of the co-founding members of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC), and was a team member of the U.S. group that validated the FAMACHA system for use with goats and sheep in this country. Dr. Miller was a leading proponent for changing the central dogma on control of gastrointestinal nematodes in small ruminants from deworm the flock/herd often throughout summer months, to a more sustainable approach of selective treatment with combination dewormers or alternative methods such as feeding or grazing condensed tannin rich plants, use of copper oxide wire particles (COWP), and rotational grazing.

 

He is actively pursuing widespread use of Duddingtonia flagrans (nematode trapping fungus) to control gastrointestinal nematodes on pasture. Dr. Miller was one of the first to document anthelmintic resistance in the U.S., and fully supports the concept of refugia to slow dewormer resistance. Dr. Miller has worked with geneticists in locating genetic markers of parasite resistance in animals, and with others on development of estimated breeding values for parasite resistance used by the National Sheep Improvement Program.

 

Dr. Miller examined the immune response to Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm) in susceptible and resistant sheep; characterized the periparturient rise (susceptibility of ewes to parasites around the time of lambing) in several sheep breeds; demonstrated efficacy of a vaccine using gut membrane proteins against H. contortus. In addition to controlling H. contortus and other gastrointestinal nematodes, Dr. Miller pioneered the control of protozoan parasites such as Eimeria spp. or coccidia using methods such as feeding sericea lespedeza to susceptible lambs and goat kids.

 

Dr. Miller’s work on domestic small ruminants also extended to wild ungulates found in zoos. These captive animals are susceptible to H. contortus and other gastrointestinal nematodes similar to goats that graze grass rather than their native browse or other forage habitats. Anthelmintic resistance is just as prevalent in zoo stock as domestic animals. Dr. Miller has studied the use of sericea lespedeza, COWP, and nematode trapping fungi for control of gastrointestinal parasites in zoo animals. In addition, Dr. Miller has researched parasites in cattle, examining breed susceptibility and growth of infected and dewormed calves.
 

  Jim with members of the ACSRPC (South Africa 2015)
 

In order to accomplish all of this, Dr. Miller worked with researchers all over the U.S. and world, including Mexico, Spain, Denmark, Kenya, Scotland, New Zealand, and Pakistan.

Dr. Miller has delivered numerous invited presentations to scientists, veterinarians, extension specialists, and farmers, authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles, as well as technical reports, proceedings papers, abstracts and book chapters. He has appeared at scientific meetings, field days, workshops, and more, and is always a favorite speaker by the attended audience.
 

Dr. Miller can be appreciated for his gentle but firm nature, enthusiasm for controlling parasites, a respect for the sheep industry, a love of the outdoors, spending time touring the country and world with his wife, Carol, and enjoys visiting with family and friends. He was often heard saying that he would not retire until farmers could control H. contortus. His great many contributions will allow farmers to manage gastrointestinal parasites through novel tools he presented.

 

While Dr. Miller officially retired from LSU, he will continue to attend meetings, collaborate in research projects, analyze fecal samples, and talk shop with anyone willing. Jim is willing to smoke the lespedeza peace pipe with ACSRPC members and associates, show you his Haemonchus tattoo, and will be a forever gusanero of the Tres Gusaneros!!

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Sericea lespedeza has been shown to reduce barber pole worm infections in small ruminants.