Veterinary Practice, Veterinary, Rural America, Veterinary Colleges, Food Animal


Rural and food animal veterinary practice is evolving in response to changes in society, veterinary student demographics, and business opportunities available in the 21st century. The gravitation of veterinarians toward metropolitan areas has created a perception of under-serviced animal health needs in rural communities. Many rural communities are heavily reliant on agriculture; therefore, this perceived need for veterinarians influences the food animal industry as a whole. Veterinary colleges have changed in response to the increased number of students who are interested in companion animal medicine. These changes have resulted in diminished large animal content in the professional curricula, attrition of the number of faculty teaching food animal medicine, increases in the number of faculty dedicated to small animal curriculum, and an overwhelming sense that the veterinary program is centered around training in preparation for a career in companion animal practice. A multitude of factors likely contribute to the continued gravitation of veterinary students toward small animal practice. Veterinary colleges must strive to maintain a balanced, open-minded view of the profession so that students have an equal opportunity to choose a path that best suits their desires and interests.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Chieffo C, Kelly AM. Trends in gender, employment, salary and debt of graduates of US veterinary medical schools and colleges. J AM Vet Med Assoc 2008; 233:910-917