UF vet school opens its doors for all to see

aurel Ignate, 6, left, reaches out to take her bear that was sewn up by Leah Mann, right, a 3rd year Vet student, at the Teddy Bear Clinic during the University of Florida Veterinary Hospitals Annual Open House held at the college of Veterinary Medicine off SW 16th Ave. in Gainesville Saturday April 13, 2013.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 5:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 5:46 p.m.

When Norman and Janet Dorn were rushing from Tampa to the University of Florida veterinary college Saturday with their pygmy goat that was having difficulty giving birth, they had no idea that mama would have an audience.

But Saturday was the college's annual open house, and some of the hundreds of people who came to see displays, exhibitions, demonstrations and to learn about veterinary medicine got to see the profession in action.

"They're having to do a C-section on her," Norman Dorn said. "There are only a couple of places that will do C-sections on goats, and our vet told us this is the place to come."

Eventually paper was placed over the door windows to the "induction" room in which doctors and techs were trying to deliver the babies, but the open house offered plenty more to see and learn — horses galloping on a treadmill, a nine-inch African bullfrog called a pixie, veterinary specialties including ophthalmology and cardiology, ultrasound of a pregnant horse and other demonstrations and displays.

Several animal rescue groups had dogs, cats and rabbits for adoption.

The open house is an annual event to show the community not only the facilities and work that the college does, but also to foster future veterinarians.

"I want to be an exotic animal and large animal vet, so seeing all this is great," said Lindsay White, a high school senior from Orange Park. "Radiology was neat, and I'm looking forward to seeing the horse ultrasound."

White spoke after watching Rex, a 6-year-old thoroughbred, gallop on a treadmill — a hit of the open house.

Rex and Slip, another demonstration horse, got plenty of love from visitors who pet them and fed them treats when they weren't getting in a workout.

Brett Rice, a senior biological scientist at UF, said he uses the treadmill to learn how long it takes for drugs to work out of a horse's system — a crucial matter in horse racing, in which the animals can be tested for doping.

The treadmill can get horses moving up to 37 mph — a thoroughbred can reach 45 mph depending on the length of the race — and Rex was raring to go as he was led onto the machine.

"A vet has a lot of drugs to treat a horse, but that doesn't mean a horse can run on them. Nowadays, drug testing has gotten way more sensitive," Rice said. "The horses adapt well to running on a treadmill. They just like exercising."

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