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TRACKS Magazine Summer 2023

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Message from the Dean

M. Daniel Givens, in a suit and tie outside the veterinary college

Another inspiring academic year has passed at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, as we send forth more veterinarians, Ph.D. scientists, and public health graduates with bachelor's and master's degrees to live out Virginia Tech's Ut Prosim motto ("That I May Serve"). Although each year brings new faces among our students, faculty, and staff, the values we seek to uphold remain steadfast. We have declared those values in our strategic plan, with its pillars of promoting wellbeing and community in our college; enhancing educational opportunities; promoting discovery and scholarship; providing compassionate and impactful clinical services; and advancing One Health initiatives that improve the health of the environment, animals, humans, and human communities, including marginalized groups.

These priorities can be seen within the pages of this issue of TRACKS. Alumni from our college such as veterinary oral surgeon Kendall Taney are seeking new educational opportunities to stretch their expertise to improve compassionate clinical care for animal patients and the humans who care for them. Similarly, Fidelis Hegngi, Christina Loiacono, Jessica Walters, and Carrie Bissett are among those on the front lines fighting the avian flu outbreak and improving overall health of the environment for animals and humans alike. CPRAC, or community practice, impacts the local community in Blacksburg with top-notch clinical care of pets. Addressing the well-being of equine veterinarians, while also improving clinical care for patients and clients, is the goal of new initiatives at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia.

In the months ahead, VMCVM will seek to advance our strategic plan in many exciting ways. We are undertaking a process to holistically review and revise our Doctor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum. The Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, led by Valerie Ragan and Cassidy Rist, has been reviewed by an external team as it seeks to become a Center for Excellence in guiding new opportunities to improve the well-being of veterinarians who seek a new career track. And, of course, we maintain our focus on continuing to attract the donor support necessary for an expansion and renovation of our Veterinary Teaching Hospital. We appreciate everyone who supports this college in any way as we continue to make this journey in pursuit of excellence and impact, and we hope you enjoy this issue of TRACKS.

Dan Givens, Dean

In the Hospitals

Giving to the College



  • Article Item
    Close up of a white horses face.
    Equine Veterinary Crisis - sustaining emergency and critical care services in an ever-changing landscape , article

    There is a crisis silently brewing in the equine veterinary world. The combination of older veterinarians leaving the field, current equine veterinarians leaving for better pay and work/life balance, and fewer numbers of veterinary students choosing equine as their elective field of specialty have seriously affected the availability of primary and emergency care for horses throughout the United States and beyond. And, if nothing is done now this could be greatly problematic for horse owners who need to seek medical care for their horses in the coming years.

  • Article Item
    Sophie Boorman doing an ultrasound on a horse.
    Sustaining emergency and critical care services while an equine veterinary crisis rages on , article

    It has been widely known in the equine community in recent years that students in veterinary colleges throughout the country are choosing to steer away from equine veterinary medicine. In 2021, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) highlighted this plight by sharing that only a small percentage of veterinary graduates were entering the equine profession. Even more disturbing is the news that 50 percent of these graduates will leave the equine profession within five years. This phenomenon has caused some serious “outside-the-box” thinking, not only by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine but also by other veterinary colleges and private equine practices throughout the country that wish to sustain emergency and elective services that they currently offer to their clients.

  • Article Item
    A faculty showing sports helmets to supporters.
    Equine Medical Center spreads the word on helmet safety , article

    Stefan Duma, the Harry C. Wyatt Professor of Engineering, director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences and co-founder of the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, emphasized the importance of protecting the human head as he talked about research findings on horse riders’ helmets at a recent dinner event at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, Virginia.

  • Article Item
    A veterinarian sitting infront of imaging screens in a dark office.
    New table for CT scanner a ‘game-changer’ for examination of large animals at Veterinary Teaching Hospital , article

    Until recently, clinicians at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine couldn’t use CT, or computed tomography, for large animals. But the recent purchase of an $85,000 table for large animals that can be wheeled to the CT scanner now allows for that option, particularly useful for studying conditions inside the heads of equine animals.


Public Health

  • Article Item
    Rural residents share stories of resilience during pandemic , article

    The COVID-19 pandemic hit rural communities hard: isolation and financial strain have been major challenges for people living in rural areas. Through participating in a story tree, residents of Craig County, Virginia, reflected on their experiences and told the story of how their community has persevered.


Around the College

Global Connections

Student Spotlights

Open House

  • Article Item
    Two horses painted with skeleton and organs at VMCVM's Open House.
    Horseshoes and hedgehogs: Fun for all at veterinary college Open House , article

    The veterinary college hosted its Annual Open House event on Saturday, April 15, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Blacksburg. The event offered the public an opportunity to learn more about animal and human health, interact with veterinary and public health students and faculty, and experience the college's state-of-the-art facilities. The event is also an opportunity for the college to showcase its educational programs to prospective students and donors.

Editor Andrew Mann | Art Director Margie Christianson |  Writers Kevin Myatt, Sarah Boudreau, Sharon Peart, Margie Christianson | Photographers Andrew Mann, Sharon Peart, Margie Christianson, Ben Moreland | Send comments and story ideas to

TRACKS Magazine is produced by the Office of Advancement in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.