Atlantic Veterinary College: A Surf And Turf Education

Posted: April 23, 2009


Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island slideshow

What better place to learn about aquatics than at Fish Vet School, the name fondly given Atlantic Veterinary College?

At the University of Prince Edward Island, the college embraces the water, offering the Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences, the Centre for Marine and Aquatic Resources and even the Lobster Science Centre.

But it would be a mistake to think Atlantic Veterinary College has its head only in the ocean. The 240 students pursuing a doctorate of veterinary medicine and the 70 faculty members are proud of the college’s other lures: the Atlantic Centre for Comparative Biomedical Research, the Center for Epidemiological Research and the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, to name a few.

Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the Canadian provinces, sits in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, nearly 500 miles from Montreal and Boston.

Donald L. Reynolds, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, was hooked almost as fast as the mackerel and bluefin tuna that deep-sea fishermen pull in offshore.

Dr. Reynolds landed at Atlantic Veterinary College in August 2008, taking over as dean after serving as an administrator at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I was really impressed by the collegiality of the faculty and the very warm campus environment,” he says. “We have small class sizes. The faculty knows the students on a first-name basis. There’s so much quality education here.”

Small class sizes are a strong selling point to the 60 students admitted to the college each year. Eighteen seats are reserved annually for international students, primarily from the U.S.

At a Glance

Location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Founded: 1986

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Students: 240 (60 students per class)

Programs offered: DVM, MSc, MVSc, Ph.D.

Accreditation: American Veterinary Medical Assn.’s Council on Education, Canadian Veterinary Medical Assn., Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Student body: Two-thirds Atlantic Canadian, one-third international

North American Veterinary Licensing Exam Mean Score: 528 (November/December 2007 and April 2008)

Graduate Program Expertise: biomedical research; animal health and welfare; aquatic health; population health; comparative biomedical sciences; infectious disease; public health

Recently Completed: $45 million infrastructure program


“Most senior rotations have three to six students receiving specialized training from a clinician and associated staff such as technicians,” college spokeswoman Charlotte McCardle says. “For example, our current companion animal veterinary cardiology rotation has three students and is led by award-winning teacher, researcher and author Dr. Etienne Côté. The direct access we provide our students to outstanding faculty and mentors to ensure a top-quality education and learning experience is one of our key points of pride.”

Atlantic Veterinary College is one of five vet schools in Canada, the others at the universities of Calgary, Guelph, Montreal and Saskatchewan.

“What happens in Canada is we have different regions,” Reynolds says. “Our region is the Atlantic–New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. One of our major goals is to provide veterinary education for the students in the region. We also provide services and activities, our teaching hospital, our diagnostic lab.”

A Canadian veterinary education is no barrier to graduates who head to the U.S. for a job. The college is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Assn., among other bodies.

“Graduates from our college are qualified for licensure in the United States, Canada, the UK, European Union countries, New Zealand and Australia,” Reynolds says.

As for the location, think green in the summer and white in the winter.

“The island has 145,000 residents, and approximately 1.4 million visitors travel to PEI during the year,” Reynolds says. “It’s a vibrant island with all the excitement and energy that goes with being a very popular tourism destination.

“It’s certainly different than living in the Midwest,” the dean says. “In Iowa, I was among the corn and soybean fields. Here, we’re on an island and there’s the coast and the beaches and outdoor activities like sea kayaking and deep-sea fishing. From my perspective, island life, so to speak, offers lots to explore.”


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