Veterinary Science Certificates Program is rising

Youth with a budding curiosity in veterinarian careers are getting extra important publicity to the Veterinary Science Certificates Program, VSCP, of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, because of an growth in out there summer season camps, in keeping with Nikki Boutwell, VSCP coordinator, Bryan-School Station.

A horse stands in front of students while a man kneels by the horse demonstrating farrier skills
Jason Wilson-Maki, a Texas A&M Faculty of Veterinary Medication farrier discusses the anatomy of the hoof and correct hoof care with college students on the Texas A&M camp in School Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife picture by Nikki Boutwell)

The Veterinary Science Certificates Program is a nationally acknowledged program designed for college students concerned with turning into a veterinary assistant. Collaborating college students are usually concerned with pursuing an affiliate, undergraduate or graduate diploma within the veterinary science area.

Boutwell mentioned her objective is to supply widespread alternatives for college students who in any other case wouldn’t have entry to this system. This contains increasing this system and growing consciousness of all college students, dad and mom, grownup leaders, lecturers and directors concerning the distance-based schooling course that may result in a Licensed Veterinary Assistant certification.

“We wish to get extra publicity any manner we are able to for teenagers and this system,” Boutwell mentioned. “I hear folks say, ‘I didn’t know this was out there; I want this had been round once I was going to high school,’ and that’s what I’m attempting to do – increase the provision.”

Serving to her make {that a} actuality are Susan Culp, DVM, retired and former VSCP coordinator, and Dee Ellis, DVM, a Texas A&M AgriLife Analysis veterinarian in Texas A&M’s School of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Increasing first over the summer season with extra camps

Boutwell mentioned the primary growth they made was to host two extra day camps throughout the summer season, bringing the whole to 4. About 50 college students attended every camp.

A man in front bends over to help a student apply a tattoo on a demonstration cow's ear that is nailed to a board
Dee Ellis, DVM, entrance, and Terry Hensley, DVM, in again, assist college students study to tattoo an animal for everlasting identification. (Texas A&M AgriLife picture by Nikki Boutwell)

“These camps present publicity to vet drugs for rural college students who don’t have an choice for the curriculum piece,” she mentioned. “If we are able to develop the employees, we are able to develop this system. We wish to attempt to embody one other location subsequent 12 months. We nonetheless have to show folks away, however fewer this 12 months as a result of we might provide extra camps.”

The camps included:

•             East Basis San Antonio Viejo Ranch in Hebbronville – This camp centered on cattle, wildlife and land stewardship. Two faculty teams – one from Laredo Impartial Faculty District, ISD, and one other from United ISD in Laredo – attended, in addition to college students from throughout Texas. College students received custom-designed camp t-shirts for the East Basis camp. A number of veterinarians drove in to assist, together with Ellis, Pancho Hubert, DVM, with the Tejas Veterinary Clinic in Corpus Christi; Terry Hensley, DVM, TVMDL assistant director, School Station; and T.R. Lansford, DVM, assistant director of the meat security assurance part with the Texas Division of State Well being Providers.

•             McMullen County in Tilden — This camp was a collaboration with Lansford and his spouse Christy Bramwell Lansford, AgriLife Extension agriculture and pure assets agent, and Amy Jo Kollman, 4-H and youth growth agent, each in McMullen County. It supplied the scholars with hands-on expertise with injection strategies, calf pulling and dystocia, plus enabled them to study veterinary devices and profession alternatives. 

students stand around a counter top with syringes in their hands
Veterinary science campers learn to safely deal with and fill a syringe and provides an injection throughout an El Paso day camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife picture by Nikki Boutwell)

•             Two of the day camps have been held again to again in El Paso in early July. The plan was to solely have in the future camp, however the registration was offered out in two days, so Boutwell mentioned they determined to host a second one. Faculties from Hereford, Van Horn and Monahans, all the best way west to Las Cruces, New Mexico, introduced college students to the day of studying. Along with the Canutillo ISD Agriculture and Veterinary Science program, Boutwell collaborated with the AgriLife Extension group in El Paso County. College students discovered about working with cattle, horses and goats. In addition they discovered about parasites and the way to use microscopes and put together needles and syringes for injections.

In a single day camps provide distinctive experiences

Boutwell mentioned they have been additionally capable of provide extra intensive in a single day camps to supply alternatives for college students who’re already working towards a vet program or as volunteers and have dedicated hours towards a objective of assistant certification.

students stand around a table where an instructor demonstrates different pieces of equipment used by vets
Veterinary Science Certificates Program college students study devices utilized in giant animal practices throughout a camp at West Texas A&M College. (Photograph by Shannon Sullivan)

Culp mentioned they have been capable of improve the in a single day camps from three to 6 this 12 months. The three-day, two-night camps require an software and are extremely aggressive. The rise helped guarantee extra college students might entry this distinctive alternative. Greater than 400 college students utilized to attend one of many six in a single day camps this 12 months, with solely 20-25 college students chosen for every camp.

The camps have been held in June and July at Texas A&M College-Kingsville; Texas A&M College, Bryan-School Station; Stephen F. Austin State College, Nacogdoches; West Texas A&M College, Canyon; Tarleton State College, Stephenville; and Lone Star School, Houston.

At every camp, college students acquired documentation of 20 hands-on scientific hours and affirmation of competency in 33 veterinary assistant abilities.

All camp agendas highlighted the issues that made every host establishment distinctive. When doable, the scholars acquired campus excursions and stayed in dorms.

•             The Texas A&M College-Kingsville camp was held on the Veterinary Know-how Campus.  College students got hands-on expertise with sheep, goats, cattle and small animals, akin to cats and canine. The camp included a wildlife and enormous animal expertise, in addition to a tour of the Ceasar Kleberg Wildlife Heart and the Nationwide Pure Toxins Analysis Heart, NNTRC. The scholars additionally attended an etiquette presentation by Tammy Alcala from the Profession Providers Heart.

•             On the camp at Texas A&M, the scholars acquired hands-on expertise with cattle and horses and hosted members from as distant as South Dakota and Puerto Rico. They toured the Texas A&M College Faculty of Veterinary Medication and the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, TVMDL, in School Station. 

•             At Stephen F. Austin, the scholars garnered hands-on expertise with horses, cattle, poultry and exotics. This camp included a tour of the college’s ag farm and equine heart, in addition to the Todd Agricultural Analysis Heart and Poultry Analysis Heart. 

a student has a blue cloth and is placing surgical instruments into it to be wrapped
A Texas A&M Consolidated scholar is demonstrating wrapping a surgical procedure pack throughout the West Texas A&M camp. (Photograph by Shannon Sullivan)

•             The camp at West Texas A&M supplied hands-on expertise with horses and cattle, in addition to a tour of the Texas A&M Faculty of Veterinary Medication’s Veterinary Schooling, Analysis and Outreach, VERO, amenities and a tour of TVMDL in Canyon. 

•             The Tarleton State College camp supplied hands-on expertise with sheep, goats, cattle and horses, in addition to a tour of the Southwest Regional Dairy Heart. 

•             The Lone Star School camp supplied hands-on expertise with horses, mules, cattle, cats and canine. At this camp, college students noticed small-animal surgical procedure demonstrations, together with presurgical bodily exams, premedication, anesthesia induction and monitoring, and spaying and neutering canine and feline sufferers. They discovered about affected person restoration, together with ache administration remark and cleansing the surgical suite and instrumentation. In addition they acquired security coaching and have been capable of function a hydraulic squeeze chute for cattle restraint.  

Greater and higher issues forward

This fall, a day camp is scheduled in November at Fossil Rim Wildlife Heart in Glen Rose. This camp will embody a tour of the ability, their veterinary care heart, a present and inform of darting gear, and a panel dialogue on profession alternatives in wildlife, conservation, zoo drugs, conservation schooling and animal care fields. 

In 2023, VSCP plans to supply at the very least eight in a single day camps with the variety of college students restricted to about 20 per camp so every scholar might have the absolute best expertise.

Christine Hoskinson, licensed veterinary technician and assistant director of Veterinary Know-how, Division of Animal Science and Veterinary Know-how, Texas A&M College-Kingsville, mentioned the camps provide the youth the chance to follow and do some hands-on enjoyable issues within the veterinary drugs area.

“A whole lot of these children are from throughout Texas, so not solely do they arrive and do lots of veterinary abilities for his or her certificates, for his or her CVA coaching, but in addition they see the entire campus,” Hoskinson mentioned. “They keep within the dorms, go to the wildlife heart, the NNTRC – you already know, all of the forms of issues that make Texas A&M College at Kingsville distinctive. Hopefully, that opens their eyes to the alternatives on the market, particularly right here on the Kingsville campus.”

The worth of the VSCP camps is that they introduce the scholars to a wide range of veterinary science profession paths, introduce them to their friends which are additionally concerned with veterinary science, and start to arrange their pathway to efficiently obtain the educational and experiential landmarks they should full to achieve entrance right into a veterinary faculty or to grow to be an authorized veterinary assistant, Ellis mentioned.

T.R. Lansford mentioned this system gives “a superb avenue for Texas youth to discover and acquire data concerning the veterinary medical occupation, and it gives alternatives for them to study invaluable life abilities akin to accountability and marketable profession abilities whereas broadening their scope of the world round them.”

He mentioned they’re already engaged on a day camp for 2023 that can benefit from a rural setting to, hopefully, present publicity to giant animal parts that extra city settings don’t have as prepared entry to.

For extra details about upcoming camps or this system, contact Boutwell at


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