Students at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine spend 15 months in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Clinics before graduation. Primary care clinics and a referral practice offer case material for the training of all veterinary students.
“Students start learning in the clinic during their third year,” says Ginger Guttner, public relations coordinator for the school. “We have problem-based learning and a strong research component that offers students another avenue.”
Since 1973, the school has graduated 2,714 veterinarians. The original entering class consisted of 36 students, all Louisiana residents. While class size has increased over the years, only 86 students are admitted into the school each year out of a pool of 700 applicants.
In addition to educating more than 300 veterinary students and treating more than 20,000 animals each year, the school conducts a wide array of research.
LSU researchers recently engineered a herpes virus to potentially fight breast cancer. Konstantin Kousoulas, MS, Ph.D., director of the Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, says the herpes virus has been created to only replicate and destroy cancer cells, resulting in killing the tumor. While the study is in the pre-clinical experimental phase right now, the school is working to get the virus to Phase 1 human experiments.
In November, LSU and the University of Georgia were awarded funds for projects on the equine disease laminitis. Professor Susan Eades, DVM, Ph.D, Dipl. ACVIM of LSU has already started her project utilizing funds raised by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in memory of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro (a total of approximately $100,000). Dr. Eades’ project will continue in the efforts to understand the specific route of the development of laminitis.
“We have one of the leading equine programs in the country,” says Guttner. “The laminitis project is a testament to that.”
The school hosted its 26th annual Open House on March 1. Every year the event is free and open to the public, allowing family, friends and people in the veterinary field to learn the latest developments in animal health care, welfare and research. Equine treadmill demonstrations were held throughout the day, along with companion animal underwater treadmill demonstrations.
“For one day, we open the building to the public,” says Guttner. “Each year, we have about 4,000 attendees.”
For 21 years, amateur and professional artists have been invited from all over the world to participate in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s International Exhibition on Animals in Art. This year, the event takes place from March 29 through April 27.
“At one point, 400 people visited our school just to see the art,” says Guttner. “We received 446 entries from three countries this year, but only 75 pieces were chosen.”
Selected artwork is displayed in the library for one month and then sold as a fundraiser. All artwork can be seen on the LSU website on March 31.
The school will host its second Small Animal Medicine Symposium on April 27. This year, it focuses on infectious diseases of dogs and cats and will feature guest speaker, Edward Breitschwerdt, DVM, professor of internal medicine at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“We do more than just educate veterinarians,’ says Guttner. “We’re also a biomedical research facility and conduct research that deals with human–as well as veterinary–medicine.”