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Visitors go behind the scenes at WCVM centre

Dr. Romany Pinto describes some of the equipment used in the WCVM’s pet rehabilitation area to a group of open house visitors. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

More than 120 people gained a behind-the-scenes look at animal health care during an open house at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) on February 17.

During the afternoon event, VMC staff and veterinary students led visitors through the facility’s Large Animal and Small Animal Clinics including stops in the centre’s veterinary dental suite, the medical imaging department and its new computed tomography (CT) area.

For most visitors, the highlight was watching Rose, one of the VMC’s recovered canine patients take a run on the centre’s new aquatic treadmill in the pet rehabilitation area.

The veterinary college hosted the public event to celebrate the new name of its clinical facilities as well as its extensive involvement in community animal health care.

The original WCVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital officially became the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) after the University of Saskatchewan approved the name change in September 2011.

When the WCVM opened its hospital in 1969, its main goal was to give veterinary students practical clinical experience. But over the past four decades, the building has dramatically grown in size and in purpose.

The WCVM centre recently completed a major expansion and upgrade of its facilities, and it now provides western Canadians with a range of general and specialized clinical services.

“Our new name better reflects the facility’s roles as a centre of excellence for veterinary education, clinical services, and research in Western Canada,” said WCVM Dean Dr. Douglas Freeman. “The Veterinary Medical Centre is now internationally recognized for its clinical services, its involvement in animal and human health research, and its extensive community outreach.”

For example, the WCVM and the Saskatoon SPCA work together on several initiatives including a spay-neuter program to control the number of unwanted animals in the city.

“It is very rare to have a relationship that benefits multiple parties,” said Tiffiny Koback, shelter director of the Saskatoon SPCA. “This is one of those affiliations that has a positive impact on our adoptable animals, adoptive families, senior veterinary students and our community as a whole. We feel privileged to be part of such a mutually beneficial relationship.”

“These community partnerships benefit everyone,” said Dr. Klaas Post, acting director of the VMC. “Our senior veterinary students gain additional surgical practice time and enriched training before graduation while the SPCA has more success in finding homes for spayed and neutered animals.”

Post added that the WCVM has also partnered with Saskatchewan livestock producers so senior students gain hands-on experience with vaccinations and pregnancy examinations in large herds of cattle and horses.

As well, WCVM faculty members and students regularly participate in spay-neuter clinics that are held in northern Saskatchewan communities.


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