The first in a series of training seminars for veterinary surgeons and technicians was announced by the Division of Agricultural System at the University of Arkansas.
The seminars are designed to expand the availability of veterinary services to producers raising large animals and other food animals.
Heidi Ward, veterinarian and assistant professor of animal science in the Agriculture Division, will lead a series of food animal workshops for veterinarians across the state over the next two years, starting at ‘October. Ward received a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the United States Department of Agriculture to fund the project, which she said aims to help transfer available veterinary resources to the state producers working with livestock and other food animals.
“My proposal was to take some of our small and mixed animal vets and retrain them to incorporate more food animal medicine into their clinics,” Ward said. “When we go to vet school we learn both small and large animal medicine, but in the last year of school we take one or the other more – and you tend to go there. where is the money.
“Vets graduate with huge student loans and of course, small animal care is in high demand and pays more money,” she said. “This is why a lot of people are turning to small animal medicine, even though they have the desire and intention to treat large animals. Then, over time, they lose that big animal education – many of them just need a little pep talk and maybe a refresher to get back to it. “
Despite the lack of its own veterinary school in the state, Arkansas has no shortage of licensed veterinarians. There are currently more than 980 veterinarians in Arkansas with active licenses, according to the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Examination Board. But at least 13 counties in the state are reporting a shortage of large animal vets, Ward said.
“It could mean that they have one or none living in the county, or it could mean that they have access to a traveling large animal vet from a neighboring county, but that vet can already serve four or five counties. It’s stressful for both the doctor and the producer, ”Ward said.
The series will offer 24 workshops over a two-year period, with each workshop offering between three and seven continuing education units for veterinary physicians and technicians. To maintain their respective licenses, physicians need 20 CEU hours, technicians need six.
The first course, scheduled for Friday, October 19, will focus on honey bee veterinary medicine. Most of the workshops will be hands-on, held in one of four locations across the state. Two of the courses, focusing on finance, will be available online.
Ward said the courses will largely focus on aspects of large animal veterinary medicine crucial for producers, such as performing field autopsies on dead animals to reduce or prevent the spread of the disease. disease, and palpate female cows to diagnose the stage and condition of pregnancies.
Ward said the teaching cadre for the workshops will be staff from the Agriculture Division, members of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association and well-known veterinary experts from across the country. The program, which is still being designed, will be generated by the Agriculture Division and the medical association, she said.
The workshops will be free. To register, contact Heidi Ward at [email protected]