LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University will start the state’s only 4-year veterinary program after the state legislature recently approved the funding. It could ease the shortage of veterinary professionals.
Utah is currently 42nd in the nation for the number of veterinarians per capita. Right now, students are doing two years at USU in Logan then finishing up at Washington State.
Professors hope to keep more graduates in Utah, and create partnerships to help get some of them into rural areas.
Ken White is the dean of the school’s college of agriculture and applied sciences.
He said the $18 million a year that will fund a college of veterinary medicine is a big deal.
“What our veterinary partners have told us is that they’ve seen a 3 to 4 fold increase in the number of pets that Utahns have taken on,” he said.
Many students are excited for the coming change, like Matt Thomas.
“It’s definitely an exciting thing for Utah as a state,” Thomas said.
Sydney Worley and her husband are also looking forward to the opportunity.
“Eventually I want to go into the research and academic side of veterinary medicine,” Worley said. “And open up a clinic with my husband, who’s also a first-year student in this program.”
But as it is now, all of them will have to finish up at Washington State University.
“If we can hit everything as we’ve planned, then hopefully we’ll take on the first students in the fall of 2024,” Dean Ken White said.
White says that will be first-year students, but perhaps the more exciting part comes as they get closer to graduation.
“Our students in the fourth year will be practicing with practitioners throughout the state of Utah,” he said.
He says there are already many interested business owners eager to train and likely hire upcoming professionals.
White says there will be a new building for the college of veterinary medicine, but they won’t be putting an animal hospital here, instead, focusing on those partnerships across the state.