MU Vet School opens facility for large animals

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine is expanding with the grand opening of its Large Animal Ambulatory Facility on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Dr. John Middleton, a professor of food animal medicine and surgery, said the free event is open to the public and will consist of a ribbon-cutting ceremony plus a tour of the facility.

"Our objective is just to launch the building and make people aware of the building and demonstrate what we're doing with these large animal funds to improve our program and our facilities," Middleton said.

According to the Veterinary Health Center's press release, "The Large Animal program strives to provide the highest standard of medical and surgical care to their patients and has served the area, state and region for nearly seven decades."

Large animals are livestock, such as sheep, goats, pigs and cows. Horses and donkeys are also considered large animals.

Middleton said over his past 16 years of working at the College of Veterinary Medicine, it has increased from 65 to about 120 students per class. The ambulatory facility is meant to accommodate the growth in student enrollment.

"It provides them hands-on experience with things that they will see when they go into private practice," Middleton said. "And it provides them with a different skill set than a hospital situation where you've got nice facilities for restraints."

Along with providing students more hands-on experience, the facility has a garage for ambulatory vehicles, a community office and a 50-seat classroom on the second floor.

"It makes sense if you've got a building with a 5,000 square foot footprint, then you might as well do something with the upper floor to accommodate more people," Middleton said.

He said the project cost about 2.5 million dollars. The money came from general operating funds that support the large animal program.

"It's given us space that was becoming very difficult to find," he said.

Middleton said he is hopeful MU's veterinary programs will continue to grow, so staff can use the ambulatory facility in multi-functional ways.