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Vetavision 2012 memorable for visitors

Warm fall weather, animals, interactive displays and enthusiastic veterinary students combined to make this year’s Vetavision a memorable experience for the thousands of people who visited the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s open house from September 20 to 23.

“Many people loved all of the demonstrations and speakers throughout the four days. When people arrived, they would ask right away what demonstrations were coming up so they wouldn’t miss anything,” says Angela Lê, chairperson of Vetavision 2012.

As always, Vetavision’s wide variety of animals were a big hit with all ages of visitors. “The younger kids really liked to hold the baby chicks and see the baby piglets. Seeing the Swainson’s hawks — Ariel and Jasmine — up close seemed to be a real highlight for people.”

Lê adds that four days of ideal, sunny weather also ensured that people were able to enjoy the show’s outdoor demonstrations involving local police dogs, flyball dogs and agility dogs.

Lê co-ordinated the college’s crew of 300-plus Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students who organized and operated Vetavision — a public event that has taken place every three years at the WCVM since 1970.

The open house gives veterinary students the chance to meet and talk with people of all ages about everything from animal health and veterinary medicine to public health and food safety.

Vetavision milking demonstration

Saskatoon-area schoolchildren check out a pail of fresh milk during a milking demonstration at Vetavision 2012. Photo: Christina Weese.

On Sept. 22, Vetavision organizers hosted more than 130 high school and university students from across Western Canada who registered for a pre-veterinary information evening. Besides pizza, the students were treated to talks by members of the WCVM’s admissions team and a chance to ask current veterinary students about their experiences and perspectives on the college’s DVM program.

One of the pre-vet night’s registrants was Laci Schmidt, a Grade 12 student who lives on a mixed farm near Wetaskiwin, Alta. Schmidt and her mother Marcine made the six-and-half-hour drive to Saskatoon so they could attend all four days of Vetavision and participate in the university’s Experience US!events.

“I wanted to know about the U of S, the courses it offers and see the site,” explains Schmidt, who eventually hopes to apply to the regional veterinary college. After listening to the speakers, Schmidt and her mother enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tour of the WCVM’s Veterinary Medical Centre that capped off the information night.

“It was good to tour around — it’s interesting and exciting to see what you may take part in one day.”

Since Schmidt is initially planning to attend the U of S College of Agriculture and Bioresources, she and her mother also had the chance to tour through some of the university’s livestock barns and its biofuel lab.

“It was all positive — it’s overwhelming to think that I was there to see everything in person,” says Schmidt. “It was well worth the drive and I hope to be able to attend the U of S soon.”

Dog stethoscope

Students had a chance to listen to dogs’ heart sounds during Vetavision 2012. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

Vetavision 2012 also gave many Saskatoon-area elementary and high school students the opportunity to learn more about agriculture, the roles of livestock producers and veterinarians in caring for farm animals, and the origin of eggs, meat, milk and other agricultural products.

This year’s Vetavision had some new attractions including a larger equine display with additional demonstrations in the college’s newly-expanded Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre. The public health and nutrition displays were also an informative addition to the Vetavision’s fleet of 30 displays.

“All of the displays had plenty to offer whether it was trying your hand at ‘surgery,’ finding the pathology to a specimen or picking up information on the food industry and animal care,” says Lê.

Vetavision 2012 was one of several popular events that took place on the U of S campus over the weekend. More than 20,000 visitors visited the university campus during the Sept. 17-23 week.

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