University of Wisconsin-Madison's Vet School Celebrates 25 Years

Twenty-five years after it was established in 1983, the School of Veterinary Medicine is still the youngest school on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. And it is the second-youngest veterinary medical school in the nation.

But don't let its youth fool you. Wisconsin's veterinary medical school has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.

From ground-breaking research discoveries to innovative methods of teaching to state-of-the-art treatments and caring services for hospital clientele, its faculty have excelled. And they continue to break new ground, despite the challenges of limited space.

"Our success has been driven by the passion, intellect, and work ethic of our faculty, staff, and students," says Dr. Daryl Buss, dean of the school. "From success in competing for research grants to commitment to extraordinary teaching and patient care, they've made our school remarkable."

One of only 28 veterinary medical schools in the U.S., Wisconsin confers approximately 80 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees annually. Graduates receive a broad education that encompasses both large and small animals. It isn't until after they graduate that they can choose to specialize.

Annually, more than 20,000 cases are referred to the school's hospital. They originate not just from Madiso, but from all over the state and even surrounding states. Board-certified specialists in 18 different specialties handle cases ranging from cancer to neurologic problems to orthopedics in both large and small animals.

At the same time, the school's faculty continue to work on a wide variety of projects that embody the "one medicine" concept, meaning that work done on animals often also benefits humans, and vice versa. For example, they've:

  • Improved organ storage solution so transplant organs can be kept alive longer
  • Developed new total joint replacement surgery techniques that enhance long-term success
  • Researched vaccines, leading to revision of national pet vaccination standards (avoiding over-vaccination of pets)

Ongoing work addresses:

  • infectious disease (including infectious pathogens such as prions, viruses, bacteria, and multicellular parasites, e.g. malaria)
  • cancer
  • spinal cord injury and restoration of breathing
  • ophthalmology
  • food safety (emphasizing "on farm" food safety to ensure protection from foodborne infections)

During the school's brief tenure on campus, health care for animals has improved significantly. In addition to acquiring new diagnostic modalities (including a CT unit, MRI, and soon, TomoTherapy), the school continually develops and implements improved treatment methods.

In grateful thanks for the many generous donors who have supported the school throughout the years and in celebration of its anniversary, the school will dedicate its Walk of Honor entryway to the teaching hospital on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008, at 2 p.m. The dedication event includes the unveiling of a new sculpture commissioned from Alexa King, the same local artist that was chosen to create the Barbaro memorial sculpture that will be placed at the famed racehorse's burial site at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

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