Veterinary School Update: University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine

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Published on: December 20, 2021

The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine is a new program that breaks the mold of traditional veterinary medicine curriculum. Our first six semesters are dedicated to learning about different organ systems. Courses are formatted for students to learn about multiple disciplines associated with each system and the uniqueness of the system in each species. In addition, students have clinical skills and professional skills courses with topics that build on the current organ system being studied.

During the courses, students have many opportunities to learn about large animal medicine in addition to companion animal medicine. During the GI course, students learn the differences between ruminant, hind gut fermenters, and monogastric digestive systems and had an opportunity to learn how to perform abdominal physical exams on some of the species from each group. This hands-on experience allows them to recognize normal and abnormal parameters to assist in generating differential diagnoses lists in the future. Similarly, the musculoskeletal course provides students the opportunity to learn about lameness in horses and hoof trimming in ruminants.

One of the more anticipated courses so far has been the “Cycle of Life.” Beyond learning about estrus cycles, gestation lengths, oogenesis and spermatogenesis, the students were introduced to examination of the uterus by rectal palpation (bovine), the prebreeding and cycle status exams (equine), and dystocia correction in ruminants and equine. By far the most excitement occurred during the lab which utilized the dystocia models.

Both the Food Animal Club and Equine Club (AAEP) have large student memberships and are regularly active at the college. Members of the Food Animal Club have, on multiple occasions, helped process cattle on local ranches and toured dairy facilities. A program has been established by the club for students to participate in regular pregnancy checks at a local dairy farm. Additionally, ten club members have been trained in bovine artificial insemination and there is a lot of interest in embryo transfer with students and staff working hard to get it organized. The AAEP has conducted wet labs throughout the year and several members participated in a burro castration through our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management. Other events, such as an equine lameness wet lab and an equine lymphatic drainage wet lab were held at the CVM facilities on the Campus Agriculture Center farm.

We’re grateful to have the Campus Agricultural Center as an extension of our program. Our large animal learning facility has opened the doors for our students to learn about large animal medicine and experience valuable hands-on training prior to their clinical year.

For more information please visit:

Dr. Gayle Leith and DVM students at a lab at the Campus Agricultural Center
Dr. Tony Martin teaching at the Bovine Education Extension Facility
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