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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

OSU Veterinary Students Can Now Tailor Their Education

November 28th, 2016
Kyra Knutson earned credit while working at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Kyra Knutson earned college credit while working at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Many veterinary students will tell you they wanted to be a veterinarian since they were small children. Kathryn Gaub (Class of 2017) did not even consider being a veterinarian until she finished an undergraduate degree in premed and was working in biology research.

“In my senior year [at Eastern Oregon University] I did a premed internship in South Africa which was great, but I realized that being a human doctor wasn’t for me,” she says. “So I decided to take some time off to decide what to do.” She spent two years in Alaska working on crab boats in the Bering Sea, doing field work in biology. That gave her time to investigate and discover that she really wanted to work in epidemiology and specialized disease research. “I figured my choices were either a Ph.D. in epidemiology, or I could go to vet school and have a broader use of my degree.” She applied for veterinary school and started the next year. “I began vet school thinking about being a wildlife vet for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, but that changed my first year when I got interested in public health and the correlation between human disease and veterinary medicine,” she says.

As one of the smallest veterinary colleges in the country, OSU has to be flexible and innovative to provide as many opportunities for students as possible. One example: With growing awareness of One Health issues, more students have become interested in non-traditional veterinary careers. While other veterinary colleges can provide more courses or hospital experience in fields like exotic species or public health, OSU had to take a different approach. Starting with the Class of 2017, students can choose a ‘non-traditional’ option where they have more flexibility in building their own curriculum. Those students take the same core classes but have 17 electives instead of seven.  That is a lot of electives to fill so Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Stacy Semevolos, will help the students come up with a plan, but they have to be proactive to get the training they want.

Kyra Knutson (Class of 2017) began volunteering at Turtle Ridge Wildlife Refuge when she was in high school, and developed an interest in wildlife medicine. She earned degrees in animal science and microbiology before enrolling in veterinary college. “OSU doesn’t have a wildlife program and the hospital doesn’t usually treat wildlife,” she says. “I chose the non-traditional track because it was the best way to get the most experience in wildlife medicine, and network with people in the field,” she says.

Knutson built her ‘custom’ curriculum with OSU electives, preceptorships and externships. “I did an externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia for a month,” she says. “The animals are not client owned so they can get you more involved. They had us positioning and shooting rads, and we were able to perform limited surgeries with supervision. I learned a lot about the different disease processes specific to wildlife and the different ways to treat them. It was really fun.” She also did an avian and exotic animal externship at the University of Tennessee.

But Knutson didn’t just drop into those learning experiences, she had to go after them ahead of time. Her advice to non-traditional students: “You are going to have to do a lot of investigation and ground work on your own,” she says. “It’s on you to find externships and rotations. That’s what is so cool about the non-traditional track; you are able to tailor your own curriculum. Just be sure to do everything very early. A lot of the externships fill up more than a year in advance.”

Gaub also had to be resourceful in building her curriculum. “There aren’t a lot of public health electives so you have to find your own,” she says. “The Center for Disease Control offers a 6-week epidemiology elective for veterinary and medical students. It was the best training for what I want to do,” she says. Gaub also found externships by networking. She advises students to attend lunch presentations on campus that interest them, and talk to the speaker afterwards. “I was just talking to Dr. Schurr, the USDA APHIS vet who was speaking in Magruder today. She is overseeing all of the marine shipping of animals and I might do an extra week with her.”

Veterinary medicine offers a broad array of career paths in addition to working in an animal hospital. There are many ways to find the right fit. “Get involved in student clubs like SAVMA; you learn so much about all your different options, and you meet all these different people,” says Gaub. “Get as much experience in different avenues as you can. There is so much to do in veterinary medicine.”

More Room For High School Students In Summer Veterinary Experience

November 28th, 2016

sveThe OSU Summer Veterinary Experience is a hands-on learning experience for academically talented high school students interested in veterinary medicine. It began in the summer of 2012 with eight students and was so popular, the number of places was increased to sixteen the next year.

This past spring, CVM received 60 applications for those sixteen places, so next year the program will accept 24. “The demand for the summer program has grown rapidly,” says Dean Tornquist. “We want to reach out to more high school students to help them understand the veterinary profession.”

Previously limited to Oregon students only, the program will now have five places for out-of-state students.

Lab Promotes New OSU Program

November 28th, 2016
OSU Endophyte Laboratory employees help promote the OSU Laboratory Safety Coat Program.

OSU Endophyte Laboratory employees help promote the OSU Laboratory Safety Coat Program.

Employees of the OSU Endophyte Laboratory recently became the faces of a new program at OSU. A photo of the group is featured on the website of the Laboratory Coat Safety Program which provides laboratory coats for all OSU laboratory employees at no charge to their department.

The endophyte lab joined the program to save money. “We do not have to buy lab coats as we get new hires, or people’s sizes change, and/or they just wear out,” says faculty research assistant Anita Holman. “It’s an added bonus that the university pays to have them cleaned and repaired as needed. People have also been very happy about how professional they look, especially when we have visitors.”

The Endophyte Laboratory is a joint project of the College of Veterinary Medicine and the OSU College of Agriculture; it provides testing of animal feed to clinical and commercial clients.

Another Big Applicant Pool at CVM

November 9th, 2016

The number of applicants to the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine rose again this year, but only by 17. The total number of applicants was 970, with 749 female and 147 male.

There were 91 Oregon applicants, with California leading the number of out-of-state contenders (see chart). As a group, the applicants have an impressive amount of experience with animals: An average of 2548 hours of veterinary experience and 3434 hours of experience working with animals.


Fowler Wins First Place At ACVR

November 9th, 2016

fowler-jenniferDr. Jennifer Fowler, a diagnostic imaging resident in the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, won first place for her presentation at this year’s American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR) conference. Fowler’s project tested the accuracy of the different imaging modalities for the identification of pneumonia in calves. “We did this by assessing the images in comparison to a gold standard of histopathology using calves with known clinical respiratory disease that were not responding to antibiotic therapy, as well as a small group of animals that were not exhibiting signs of respiratory disease,” she says.

Dr. Fowler is a graduate of the Atlantic Veterinary College and in her fourth year of residency. She finds her work very rewarding: “I enjoy the variety of species that I get to work with. I am neither exclusively small or large animal oriented, although I have a strong background in large animal work,” she says. “I get to provide a piece to the puzzle for diagnosing patients with confusing ailments, and mix my species knowledge in a creative way to remove knowledge gaps.”


Alumna Innovator Gets OSU Award

November 2nd, 2016

Dr. Kris Otteman (Class of 1986) is the director of Shelter Medicine and Humane Investigations at the Oregon Humane Society.

Last week Dr. Kris Otteman, director of Shelter Medicine and Humane Investigations at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS), was one of six OSU graduates to receive this year’s Alumni Fellow Award from the OSU Alumni Association.

Dr. Otteman (Class of 1986) was instrumental in developing a partnership with OSU that provides experiential learning for fourth-year veterinary students at the OHS Animal Medical Learning Center in Portland. She also developed one of the first shelter‐based medicine residency and internship program in the United States.

Dr. Otteman is a big beaver fan; she and her husband, Dr. Jeff Brant (CVM Class of 1985) ‘bleed orange’. “I really love this college,” she says. “It built the foundation for my career and allowed me to do what I always wanted from the time I was a small child.”

After earning their DVMs, Drs. Otteman and Brant opened a mixed-animal practice in Klamath Falls. Then in 1993, Pet Smart offered them (and fellow OSU alums Scott and Sandy Campbell) an opportunity to provide in-store veterinary clinics and they went for it. Those clinics evolved into a chain of full-service hospitals called Vet Smart. “It was really grass roots when it started,” says Otteman. “The four of us got together and started building a team of people. Within the first year, we opened 36 hospitals in Oregon, Washington, California and Illinois.”

Otteman’s primary role at Vet Smart was recruiting and training. She also worked on procedures and policies for the operation. “We were really focused on high quality,” she says, “We wanted to get it right, both for the pets and the profession. ” Those hospitals eventually evolved into the Banfield Pet Hospitals chain. Otteman says it was a great opportunity to learn about business and gain skills she still uses today.

In 2001, Otteman volunteered for the Cat Adoption Team who ran a shelter in Tigard and were in the process of building a veterinary hospital. “At that time there were no veterinary hospitals inside shelters anywhere in the whole country,” she says. “I got really excited about the idea of providing veterinary care for a large population of animals to get them through the shelter healthy so they could go to new homes quickly.”

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