From a brick horse barn has sprouted one of the nation’s premier veterinary schools.
Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, but its origins go back even further. It was in 1857 that the university took root with five faculty members teaching veterinary science and other subjects to 63 male students.
Today, the horse barn and two other original buildings are long gone, having been replaced by a 5,200-acre campus and more than 46,000 students enrolled in 17 degree-granting colleges.
Nearly 430 of those students are pursuing a DVM at facilities “second to none” in the Midwest, according to administrator Pat LeBlanc, DVM, MS. Add 165 ranked faculty members and 6,000 alumni and it’s no surprise that U.S. World & News Report ranked the college ninth best in the nation in 2008.
“We’re really proud of the team we have here,” says Dr. LeBlanc, director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “I really do believe that we have the best people in the world, some great specialists--not only the clinicians, but the staff.”
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s annual caseload of 24,000 patient visits offers more than enough opportunities for hands-on learning.
“Our students have a clinical experience of 18 months,” LeBlanc says. “Most other schools have a clinical experience of 12 months. Our students change rotations every three weeks. For example, they might have three weeks of nothing but anesthesia, three weeks of oncology, three weeks of ophthalmology, three weeks of emergency. In all, 20 or so rotations over 1½ years.”
Clinical trials are a big deal at the hospital—some 21 new ones last year alone. Among the current trials are an evaluation of artificial elbows in dogs, a survey of ocular lesions in foals and a study of the efficacy of a new drug to treat mast cell tumors.
“When we do clinical trials, we always get the permission of the owners,” LeBlanc says. “We have the best interests of the animal in mind. We don’t experiment on animals here.”
The 170,000-square-foot hospital is just one of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s many jewels. Among the others:
•The Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, which does more than 1.2 million diagnostic tests a year for veterinarians and animal owners.
•The Matilda R. Wilson Pegasus Critical Care Center, which isolates large-animal patients suffering from infectious diseases.
•The Animal Cancer Care Clinic, which features 12 exam rooms, a diagnostic imaging suite, a diagnostic cytology teaching laboratory and a linear accelerator.
•The National Food Safety & Toxicology Center, which houses researchers with expertise in toxicology, carcinogenesis, pathology, analytical chemistry, microbiology and epidemiology.
•The Mary Anne McPhail Equine Performance Center, an 18,000-square-foot facility for clinical and research studies involving all types of horses.
•The Training Center for Dairy Professionals, part of Green Meadow Farms in Elsie, Mich. The 6,500-acre farm holds 9,500 head of cattle.
“We’re very proud of our operations here,” LeBlanc says. “I like to remind our employees that our students pay a lot of money to chase down a career they’re passionate about, and we need to treat them with respect.”
At a Glance
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
DVM Students: 429
Graduate Students: 188
Veterinary Technology Students: 75
Departments: Large Animal Clinical Sciences; Small Animal Clinical Sciences; Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation; Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Physiology; Pharmacology and Toxicology
Duel-Degree Programs: DVM/MS in Food Safety, DVM/MPH, DVM/MS, DVM/Ph.D.
Class of 2012: Mean cumulative GPA, 3.56; mean GRE score, 1,153.21
MSU’s Patterson Captures National Teaching Award (1/12/2015)
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