UF College of Veterinary Medicine Makes New Advancements in Research and Patient Care

Florida’s only college of veterinary medicine, UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine, ranks ninth in the country for its outstanding research and patient care that is recognized nationwide.

With six degree programs and 454 doctoral candidates in veterinary medicine, the research and graduate education programs have been featured in a variety of online publications.

Last year, researchers at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine discovered a new disease affecting gopher tortoises, performed ankle replacement surgery on a dog, and developed a new treatment for animals with bone loss.

“When I applied for positions across the country and for positions in the Faculty of Internal Medicine, it best fulfilled my hopes of combining high-level patient care with teaching and clinical research,” Dr. Julie Levy, professor of shelter education at the College of Veterinary Medicine, said.

In addition to the state-of-the-art clinical skills laboratory and leading aquatic animal health program, Dr. Levy also that the faculty feels like family.

“What I noticed about UF Veterinary School was how friendly and cooperative everyone was,” she said. “It felt like this was a family working towards a common goal, not a collection of people working towards their different goals.”

There are two public veterinary clinics on the Gainesville campus, a Small Animal Hospital and a Large Animal Hospital. Over 42,000 animals were treated last year.

In 2008, Dr. Levy co-founded the college’s animal shelter medicine program. Her research focuses on infectious diseases in cats and humane community cat management.

Polly Weldon is now a 27 year old senior in college and began her studies at Ross University in the Caribbean. A year later she switched to UF because of her reputation.

“I knew a UF degree would be really an amazing thing for me if I could, and it’s just a great hospital,” said Weldon. “They have some of the best experts in the world, and I really wanted to be part of the Gator Nation for Veterinary Medicine.”

Weldon said her college professors are dedicated to student research.

“You’re at the forefront of veterinary medicine and it’s great to be involved as a student,” she said.

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While there is no official pre-veterinary program at UF, students can join either the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club or the Minority Pre-Vet Students. Both associations support prospective veterinary students with the exhausting application at the veterinary school.

Ashley Ferrato, president of the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club and 20-year-old animal scientist, said growing up on a horse farm helped her become aware of her passion for helping animals.

“Once I start working in the field and actually touching people’s lives, both animals and humans, the reward for me is just so great,” said Ferrato.

Veterinary medicine is a stressful field, but not very diverse, said Daniela Vassolo, president of Minority Pre-Vet Students.

The 21-year-old senior veterinarian hopes to become a veterinarian, but it can be difficult for minority students to succeed in the field. The club helps her feel less alone.

“We really try to give our members speakers from different backgrounds so that they don’t feel so alone and their goals are easier to achieve and relate to because they meet people who are like them,” said Vassolo.

Contact Eve Thompson at ethompson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @evealanaa.

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