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A female veterinarian examines a dog on a stainless steel table

Expanding for Excellence: Primary care service increases, benefiting students and clientele

Friday, January 19, 2024

Media Contact: Taylor Bacon | Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator | 405-744-6728 |

The Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine already provides world-renowned education to veterinary students and exceptional care to clients. Now, it will be able to improve even more thanks to a recent development.

In spring 2023, the OSU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital expanded its primary care service to better serve clients and enhance the clinical education of veterinary students. Previously known as community practice, OSU VMTH was home to only two faculty general practitioners. As class sizes increased, it was apparent the service needed to expand. This expansion wouldn’t just benefit students, but current and future clientele as well.

4th year vet student examines a dog

The community practice service offered general medicine care, general surgery, preventative care and dentistry. Students gained experience in those practice areas during a single 2-3 week- rotation. After evaluation, faculty decided students would benefit from more focused rotations.

“The expansion of the hospital service has been beneficial as it provides a larger general caseload,” said Dr. David Bailey, clinical assistant professor of small animal primary care.

Small animal wellness, general dermatology, general medicine, general surgery and dentistry are among the services offered with the primary care expansion. This allows students to rotate through each specific service.

“Each rotation has a different emphasis which translates into a more focused experience for the students under the guidance of their veterinary instructors,” said Dr. Theresa Rizzi, veterinary pathobiology department head and interim veterinary clinical sciences department head.

Students can now dive deeper into real world cases. Bailey said learning how to balance care of diseases in older pets is a delicate responsibility. The ability to see and treat these cases has been an irreplaceable experience for students.

The real-world opportunities from the expansion’s increased caseload allows veterinary students to be more prepared after they finish their fourth year. Bailey said students are giving positive feedback on the services now offered. He said one of the biggest benefits is students are getting an increased hands-on experience with soft tissue surgery and dentistry.

“The expanded primary care team has allowed us to increase our case load, while giving us the perspectives and knowledge from several different doctors,” said Adison Hood, a fourth-year student. “I have gained so much knowledge and confidence in myself during this rotation.”

Animal dentistry is an aspect that OSU CVM students get to dive deeper into. A skill that is not easily taught, but vital to the veterinarian industry.

“I am so excited to be a part of the expansion of the primary care service,” said Dr. Blake Murray, clinical assistant professor of small animal primary care. “I have a professional interest in dentistry, and I know this is both a much-needed area of care for our patients as well as a necessary learning area for our students. I look forward to providing quality dental care to the pets that need us and preparing our new doctors to do the same.”

Since the expansion, the hospital has seen a larger variety of cases including heart disease, kidney disease, infectious diseases and cancer. 

Bailey said cases such as heart and kidney diseases are great learning opportunities for students, as they are common conditions many veterinarians see after graduation. The expanded general practice services have allowed veterinarians and students to diagnose and treat more cases.

The service expansion enabled the hospital to increase appointments and decrease wait times for clients. This has allowed clients and their pets to be seen by one of the experienced veterinarians in a timely manner.

“Our immediate plan for the primary care service is to educate the Stillwater and OSU community of our capabilities in caring for their pets and expand our offerings to clients and veterinary patients,” Rizzi said

Photos By: Taylor Bacon

Story By: KInsey Reed | Vet Cetera Magazine

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