The Auburn University Veterinary School is one of the only two veterinary schools in the state, and their large animal teaching hospital is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation.
Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine has doctors who are specialized in a variety of different areas. Helen Gill, a pharmacist at the vet school who has been working there for 15 years, said that having all of these different specialties makes them the “go-to” people for certain injuries and issues.
They not only have an oncology service to treat animals with cancer, a dermatology service to treat skin and ear issues and a neurosurgeon to treat animals with Central Nervous System issues, they also have internal medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, community practice, radiology, equine medicine, equine surgery, equine critical care, dairy, beef, food animal theriogenology, diagnostic pathology, anesthesiology and an emergency medicine and critical care department that is open 24-7.
“We may see diabetic animals, animals with Cushing’s disease or things like that,” said Gill. “We also do chemo for animals, and that is something that your general practitioner is probably not going to do in his office.”
Having so many specialties is also beneficial for the students of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Science. During their last year of school, students are required to do clinical rotations through all of the departments of the hospital.
Gill said that this is beneficial for students because some schools do not require students to do both small and large animal rotations.
“We have them do both, and we have had people who thought they wanted to go into small animal get around horses and decide that now they want to work with horses,” Gill said. “So I think that is a good thing.”
The vet school also has a lot of technology that you may not find in a general practitioner’s office.
“We have an MRI, we have a CAT scan and we have a linear accelerator. All of these things are very special for treating certain kinds of problems,” Gill said.
Because Auburn is a land-grant college, they are funded by the state. This can be beneficial if an expensive piece of equipment breaks, because they can ask the state for another one. However, according to Gill, during a time like proration right now, funds are tighter and they are more willing to say “no” to expensive requests. Therefore, the College of Veterinary Medicine has been relying more heavily upon private donations.
The Small Animal Teaching Hospital also provides general veterinary care for people who live within 30 miles of the clinic. Other appointments are by referral only, unless it is an emergency or after hours.