Landtroop concerned about lack of large animal vets

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 7/03/2012 9:11 pm
State Representative Jim Landtroop said he's concerned about the lack of veterinarians treating large farm animals. He said the handwriting is on the wall and if something is not done, it could turn out to be catastrophic.

Pat Holt cares for his all horses he owns, especially one he calls Rowdy Romp. He said it is his million dollar baby, but Rowdy got hurt three weeks ago.

"Well he got into some barbed wire, and tried to cut his left front foot off," Holt said. “He just started doctoring him and doing what he needs to do, and I think the little colt is going to be sound."

Dr. Mart Brillhart has treated animals like Rowdy for about four decades.

"There is always going to be large animals,” Brillhart said. "There is not going to be people to replace people my age."

Brillhart said as time goes on, the minds of those wanting to go into the veterinary field change.

"The popularity with new graduates, the first most popular is small animals,” Brillhart said. “The next is equine and last is mixed practice or food animal practice."

"Currently the average student loan a student is graduating from vet school is around a $120,000,” Landtroop said.

He said aside from rising tuition, there are other factors on why large animal vets are becoming rare.

"About 70-75 percent of the students going to vet school are female. It's not that females can't do large animals’ veterinary work, they just tend to choose smaller animals."

Another veterinarian who treats large animals, Dr. Farr said veterinarian schools need to change its requirements on how they accept students.

"The selection process is such they just rely on grades,” Farr said. “Which I think is a poor criteria because a lot of people can make good grades and can't do anything else.”

Landtroop plans to work with the legislature and schools to recruit more large animals’ vets.

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