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Letter to the Editor: Large-animal veterinarians important to state

Experts fear that Arizona’s livestock, like this longhorn steer, are becoming increasingly at risk of disease outbreaks because of a lack of food-animal veterinarians in the state. (Photo by Amanda Ames/Cronkite News)

Experts fear that Arizona’s livestock, like this longhorn steer, are becoming increasingly at risk of disease outbreaks because of a lack of food-animal veterinarians in the state. (Photo by Amanda Ames/Cronkite News)

Thank you for bringing attention to the shortage of food animal veterinarians in Arizona in your article on March 10. This is an important issue that Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Glendale is working to address.

The college matriculated its inaugural class of 102 students in the fall of 2014, including 24 from Arizona. It is the only school offering the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree in the state, and only one of five veterinary schools in the Western United States.

We recently opened a 70,000-square-foot Equine and Bovine Center on campus (part of the college’s Animal Health Institute), with six faculty members dedicated solely to teaching large animal medicine and surgery. At the center, students receive training necessary to prepare them to enter practice in food animal medicine and surgery, equine medicine and surgery, and other large animal specialties. The center is also home to the college’s ambulatory veterinary practice, which provides care to large animal patients in Arizona and supervised rotation training for students.

Our first class will graduate in 2018. As some will decide to become large-animal veterinarians, we hope to see them stay in Arizona and practice in rural areas that are underserved.

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D, is president and chief executive officer of Midwestern University.

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