Rural Veterinarian Shortage - From the Ground Up

It’s not a problem for ranchers here in the Brazos Valley, but in more rural parts of the state there is a shortage of veterinarians with large animal practices dealing with food animals. Ashley Batey has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

“This is the second or third year where we’ve tagged our cattle where they can go to Japan or wherever they want to, but there are so many changes in veterinarian medicine now that the individual rancher has a hard time keeping up with what he needs to know and needs to do.”

Dr. Howard Cargill is a rancher and retired veterinarian. Eighty per cent of the graduates from the Texas A&M University Vet School end up in companion animal rather than food animal practices.

“A lot of people go into small animal practice out of large animal for two reasons, the first is that it’s not as physically extending, and then second, you’re probably better paid for your services.”

Dr. Dan Posey is a professor at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“You start looking at our society, where four to six per cent of the population is associated with the agrarian portions, agriculture, then it really cuts down the number of just opportunities for students to see what a rural veterinarian does.”

Dr. Posey says that faculty associated with food animal medicine will identify thirty to forty students in every incoming class and actually mentor those students all the way through their fourth year of vet school.

“Our students get off the summer time, so they’ll go to rural areas to practice with veterinarians, so we set them up with really great practices that have an opportunity to show them what the possibilities rural medicine is.”

Fifteen to twenty students out of every class will choose to become rural veterinarians and Texas A&M is working to increase those numbers. I’m Ashley Batey, taking a look at Texas agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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