The stethoscope vs. the microscope: Solving the shortage of veterinary scientists

September 1, 2009 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

bigstockphoto_Microscope_348238Most people who go into veterinary medicine do it because they love animals. They don’t just love them in the abstract; they love holding them, staring into their eyes, and, apparently, pulling back their lips and gazing deep into their mouths.

But consider this: Who helps more animals, and who helps animals more, the hands-on veterinarian in private practice, or the researcher who rarely sees a patient? Given the incredible advances in veterinary science in recent years, including new diagnostic tests, surgeries, and other therapies, there’s no question that it’s the second.

For those veterinarians who want to combine the stethoscope and the microscope, a new program may be just what’s needed to address a critical shortage of animal health scientists:

A new program—the Pfizer Animal Health–Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) Veterinary Fellowship for Advanced Study—gives current practitioners necessary financial support while they pursue a veterinary research career. The program commits a minimum of nearly $1.7 million over four years toward a solution to the growing need for trained veterinary scientists.

“Many practicing veterinarians may wish to become veterinary scientists but can’t continue their educational journey due to financial constraints, such as high student debt,” said David Haworth, DVM, PhD, director, global alliances for Pfizer Animal Health. “The Pfizer Animal Health–MAF fellowships help these professionals pursue a new career path and provide a unique solution to the critical need for more veterinary scientists.”

Check out the release here, and kudos to Morris Animal Foundation for getting this up on their site before sending it to the media. You wouldn’t believe how many organizations don’t do that!

Speaking of good reading, Dr. Patty Khuly’s on fire over at Dolittler, raging against the machine that is the AVMA and its ethically and scientifically bankrupt position on antibiotic use in confinement-based industrial agriculture and why, yes, that was some loaded language I just used. As if you no one here knows how I feel on the subject.

Dr. Patty also quotes two of my favorite people, Gina and veterinarian Susan Wynn. You go, Patty! Now you all, go read!

And if that’s not enough, in other news:

PetPAC founder Bill Hemby is in some hot water with the state attorney general’s office over some questionable fundraising practices at a law enforcement non-profit organization, his hometown newspaper reports.

From, news that Chanel, the Wirehaired Dachshund who held the Guinness record as oldest dog, has died at the age of 21:

Earlier this year, the dog’s owners, Karl and Denice Shaughnessy of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., said that the canine, who wore sunglasses for cataracts but was otherwise in good health, still had plenty of pep.

“We were saddened to learn of Chanel’s passing on Friday evening,” Marco Giannini, founder and chief executive officer of Dogswell told PEOPLE Pets in a statement. “Our team at Dogswell had built a great bond with Chanel, as well as her owners, who show great love and care for their pets. We were thankful to have had some part in making Chanel’s life a little more comfortable and enjoyable. As the World’s Oldest Dog, Chanel touched many lives and inspired pet owners around the globe. She will be missed.”

Condolences to her owners on their loss.

And Nathan Winograd interviews UCLA law professor Taimie L. Bryant about the fate of animals now that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has suspended some provisions of the Hayden Act, which extended the period of time the state’s shelters had to hold stray animals; that time period has now been dropped to just 72 hours as a cost-cutting measure. Bryant was one of the chief drafters of the law.

And here’s some news worth sharing: The longest-term resident at the Portland Humane Society is a black and white kitty named Sporty Spot. The organization has launched an all-out social media blitz trying to get him a new home. He’s FIV+ but in good health… and if you want two, a second FIV+ cat comes with him at no cost. Even if you can’t give him a home, share his story with anyone you know who might!…

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