Best Large Animal Vet Schools

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Best Large Animal Vet Schools
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I was looking into the same things. I’m going Michigan State in the fall. I’m not sure about their FA case load, but I know they are one of the top dairy states in the country, so there will be lots of opportunities for me there.

School List – 10 Notable Large Animal Vet Tech Schools

Large animal veterinarians, also referred to as equine or farm animal veterinarians, can take care of and treat some of the most exotic animals known to man. All those large zoo animals that mesmerize audiences like tigers and bears, to farm animals like cows and pigs, are all options for those interested in becoming a large animal veterinarian expert.

By helping maintain food safety for these large animals and ensuring a healthy food supply for humans, there are several renowned large animal vet tech schools and farm animal programs that are available to those interested in pursuing this field as a professional career.

Read more to discover what the top 10 large animal vet tech schools in the nation have to offer.

Northeast Iowa Community College

The large animal vet tech program at Northeast Iowa Community College gives students the opportunity to work with the school’s dairy animal herd and its commercial companion animal hospital. Students can find the dairy animal herd at the Dairy Center, which serves as a public education facility and is sponsored by the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation. Located just outside of Calmar, it features classrooms, labs, a free-stall barn and calf barn.

An internship is part of the large animal vet tech program and specialized courses offered in the field include large animal diagnostics, and large animal imaging and surgery. Although the school’s program focuses on large animals, students also learn the different aspects of vet tech medicine and take more general courses in animal health, veterinary medical terminology, and animal reproduction. Students also have the opportunity to join the school’s Rodeo Club.

Colorado Mountain College

Students in the vet tech program at Colorado Mountain College can find the opportunity to work with large animals on a 220-acre farm overlooking the Rocky Mountains. Because the farm is home to about 175 animals, students can gain experience working with large animals such as horses, cattle, llama, and sheep. The farm also includes a science lab, work areas, and outdoor pens.

A 2,600-square-foot on-site hospital has been designed to operate like a vet hospital so that students can gain true-to-life vet tech experiences. This hospital features a large animal treatment area, a surgical suite, and dental, laboratory, and X-ray areas.

Students work toward completing an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and also have the option to take one-credit courses in animal management, including equine management.

Alfred State

As part of the vet tech program available through Alfred State, students can find opportunities to learn more about large animals through its Alfred State Farm. There, students gain hands-on experience working with a variety of large farm animals such as dairy cattle, alpacas, horses, goats, pigs, and sheep.

Students work toward completing an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in the program and can find the opportunity to take coursework focused on large animal anatomy and physiology. Students also have the option to take a farm management course. Other classes in the program focus on animal health care, animal parasitology, and anesthesia and surgical nursing.

Overall, the program puts a strong emphasis on hands-on experiences by having animal examination and imaging rooms, the farm, and a pathology lab available to students.

Vet Tech Institute

Through the school’s associate of applied science (AAS) degree, students can gain hands-on knowledge working with animals such as cows, horses, and sheep at a farm, stable, or other such facilities. This AVMA-accredited program can be completed in 18 months and is offered at four campuses across the nation in Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh.

The vet tech programs are designed to provide extensive hands-on experience through onsite kennels, surgical suites and prep areas, clinical labs, radiography rooms. The Chicago campus features public transportation and free parking and recreation opportunities.

With three convenient start dates available throughout the year, students can begin their degree program at their convenience and learn from talented faculty members who specialize in teaching courses such as large animal theory, large animal medicine, and large animals.

Columbus State Community College

Students in the Columbus State Community College vet tech program have the opportunity to learn about large animals through coursework and internships in this two-year associate of applied science (AAS) degree program.

Students can choose from more than 160 clinics to fulfill their clinical experience requirements, as well as learn vet techniques in clinical laboratories, examination rooms, surgical, and radiology facilities.

While the first year of this program is most often spent in laboratory settings, the second year of the program requires physical strength and hand dexterity to maneuver large animals and practice ambulatory medicine on farm animals, as well as restraints of large animals such as horses and cows.

Columbus State’s program has been fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association since 1974. Graduates from this program are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)—a credential that is recognized in more than 40 states to certify vet techs, including Ohio.

University of New Hampshire

In the University of New Hampshire vet tech program, students learn how to work with all the major domestic animals, including horses and cattle. The program leads to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and provides specific coursework that is geared toward large animals. One of those is a two-credit large animal behavior and handling course offered in the first semester of the program. The other is the two-credit large animal practicum offered in the final semester of the second year.

The program trains students in all areas of veterinary care and offers more generalized courses in clinical animal nursing techniques, the fundamentals of animal health, and animal nutrition. Facilities that students may access as part of their program include the UNH equine facilities, the UNH Organic Dairy Farm, and the Applied Animal Science Biologic and Clinical Teaching Laboratory, among others.

The University of Nebraska

Students in the vet tech program at the University of Nebraska can find a number of opportunities to increase their large animal experience and understanding, including by working with animals located in a horse barn and a cattle facility at the school.

The vet tech program provides additional ways for students to increase hands-on learning including through a surgical operating theater, laboratories, and several X-ray facilities. The school’s program offers students training related to all aspects of a vet tech career. In the second year, students take a two-credit large animal techniques class. And during a summer session following the second year, students need to complete their large animal clinicals (among other clinical rotations).

Elective options that may be of interest to large animal vet tech students include livestock nutrition (offered online) and calving rotations. This school’s vet tech program may be unique in that it is one of the oldest in the U.S. to continually receive accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Since 1973, it has been approved by AVMA..

Michigan State University

Unlike other large animal vet tech schools, the vet tech program offered through Michigan State University provides students an opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree. It is particularly geared toward students who have an associate degree in another field or who have been taking courses without selecting a specific degree focus.

Students gain general knowledge in their first year of the vet tech program. In the second year, the take classes such as large animal and laboratory animal nursing care techniques, and large animal diseases and management. An elective track the third year allows students to take a diverse number of classes, including one focused on large animal anesthesiology. In their third year, students can also complete a clerkship in equine medicine and surgery, which is often considered part of large animal care.

Notably, the school also offers a five-semester vet tech certificate of completion for those who have already obtained an associate degree in another field.

La Guardia Community College

Students working on the associate of applied science vet tech degree available through LaGuardia Community College take general vet tech classes and a three-credit farm animal nursing class as part of the requirement of completing the program. This particular class provides them with a week-long experience at Suffolk County Farm, where they assist with births, neutering, and additional facets of animal husbandry. While there, students are able to expand their large animal vet tech experience by learning about horses, sheep lamb, llamas, and pigs.

Additionally, two ten-week internships provide students with experiences to work with a variety of animals. Of note, the school is the only one within New York City to offer a fully-accredited AVMA vet tech program.

Pierpont Community and Technical College

Students in the two-year associate degree program at Pierpont Community and Technical College take classes focused on large animal vet tech care as part of their curriculum. In the health management of farm animals course, students learn about restraining, handling, and medicating large animals such as cows, goats, horses, pigs, and sheep. They also learn about interstate regulations and take several field trips as part of that course.

Pleasure horse management, another large animal course, specifically introduces students to working with and handling horses. Students received instruction in topics such as common horse breeds, health, and care, nutrition, and transportation as part of that class. Finally, students may be able to find hands-on experience working with large animals by assisting a veterinarian as part of two fieldwork experiences (or preceptorships) required by the school.

Methodology: Top Large Animal Vet Tech Programs

The following criteria were used in compiling this list of 10 large animal vet tech schools. Be aware that the schools chosen were often regular vet tech programs that had particular provisions offered for large animal vet tech care and training.

  1. Specific coursework in large animal care: All of these schools offer at least one to two courses (or more) in large animal care. Often, these classes are very tightly focused, include some sort of hands-on experience, and/or may be related to instruction in the care of farm animals.
  2. Opportunities to gain hands-on experience: The large animal vet tech schools that made the list provide students with access to farms or ranches to gain hands-on experience. Others may offer students short farm experiences or even give them the opportunity to gain large animal vet tech experiences through field trips.
  3. Externships and preceptorships: These programs require students to gain hands-on experience working with a veterinarian or working in a vet tech clinical setting as part of a hands-on experience requirement for degree obtainment.
  4. Pre-vet club: Many of these schools host a pre-vet club, through which students could meet others interested in the field, study for courses, gain experience, or even prepare for application to veterinary school.
  5. Diverse clinical experiences at a site: These schools offer students the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in various aspects of animal care. As such, the schools may provide X-ray rooms, clinical laboratories, or even surgical facilities.

Rachel is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).

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Good Large/Food Animal Vet School

I’m an animal science student and my aspiration is to be a large or food animal veterinarian. I’m wondering if you guys have recommendations on which vet schools have strong large/food animal programs. I’m not interested in schools with strong equine programs but have a lacking food animal program. Which schools have high food animal case loads or give students a lot of access to food animals? Which schools would you recommend?
Thanks for your help!

neocia

Class of 2019

From those that I’ve personally visited, I would suggest Iowa State, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
If New Jersey is the state you’re from, based on your username, you could see what schools offer contract seats for New Jersey residents.

NStarz

Ohio State c/o 2016

Joined Sep 25, 2009 Messages 3,707 Reaction score 899

If New Jersey is the state you’re from, based on your username, you could see what schools offer contract seats for New Jersey residents.

I think Ohio would be a good fit for you. Lots of FA opportunities here!

Caia

night stalker

Joined Oct 1, 2014 Messages 5,675 Reaction score 6,344
Preference of dairy or beef? K-State is supposed to be a great beef school.

apizfoshizz

Michigan State c/o 2019

I was looking into the same things. I’m going Michigan State in the fall. I’m not sure about their FA case load, but I know they are one of the top dairy states in the country, so there will be lots of opportunities for me there.

Illinois has a couple of teaching farms on campus and seemed to have a good FA program. I would also recommend Iowa – they have a brand new LA hospital and I think they are the biggest swine state in the country. I also know California (so UC Davis and Western), Florida (UF) and NY (Cornell) are big dairy states if dairy is one of your interests!

that redhead

Full Member

Joined Feb 26, 2010 Messages 12,023 Reaction score 13,977

It kind of depends what specifically in food animal you’re interested in. for example, I imagine NC State and Iowa have great swine programs, Wisconsin and Minnesota have good dairy programs, Iowa and KSU have good beef programs, etc.

Gemgrrrl

Full Member

I’m an animal science student and my aspiration is to be a large or food animal veterinarian. I’m wondering if you guys have recommendations on which vet schools have strong large/food animal programs. I’m not interested in schools with strong equine programs but have a lacking food animal program. Which schools have high food animal case loads or give students a lot of access to food animals? Which schools would you recommend?
Thanks for your help!

Can I just say thank you(!!) for posting about something other than getting accepted/rejected/or waitlisted this cycle. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now, on to your question. Here’s a really good list that has a description of the food animal programs at the different vet schools. It’s a couple years old, but still good place to start http://www.aavmc.org/foodanimalprograms.aspx

Trilt

puppy snuggler extraordinaire

Joined Feb 10, 2008 Messages 12,679 Reaction score 25,595

It kind of depends what specifically in food animal you’re interested in. for example, I imagine NC State and Iowa have great swine programs, Wisconsin and Minnesota have good dairy programs, Iowa and KSU have good beef programs, etc.

I looovvveeee our poultry faculty at NC state, too – they’re all really fun people who know their stuff.

When I’ve talked to students from other schools, I feel like we get quite a bit of hands-on food animal time, comparatively. Having a small teaching farm behind the school definitely helps!

rural-jersey-girl

Full Member

Thank you guys this has been so helpful! I’d love to hear from more people too!

deleted498041

Illinois has a couple of teaching farms on campus and seemed to have a good FA program. I would also recommend Iowa – they have a brand new LA hospital and I think they are the biggest swine state in the country. I also know California (so UC Davis and Western), Florida (UF) and NY (Cornell) are big dairy states if dairy is one of your interests!

According to our FA faculty, California is THE dairy state. UCD is closer to most of the dairy farms than WesternU, but I don’t know much about their program.

jmstroup

Illinois ’19

According to our FA faculty, California is THE dairy state. UCD is closer to most of the dairy farms than WesternU, but I don’t know much about their program.

I’m from the Central Valley of California and about 2 hours south of UCD. California really is THE dairy state. My hometown (claims) to have the largest concentration of jersey cows in the world. And a lot of dairy farmers from my area are leaders in the jersey cow industry (AJCA) and stuff. So I’m a little bit biased when I saw UCD has a leading FA medicine program.

Country_roads

MS 2015, DVM/PhD 2019

It really does depend on what you’re specifically interested in (beef, dairy, etc). Whatever the state’s big output is, is likely their strong point in terms of LA.

Although I gotta say, from my interview at Illinois I was deeply unimpressed and don’t feel as though they have a significant focus on LA at all. Then again, it was like a 30 minute tour with the other 300+ interviewees so what I saw may not have been representative

cowgirla

Oklahoma 2014

Joined Oct 6, 2009 Messages 3,629 Reaction score 1,994

Went to OK and right into mixed practice after graduation. I dont know how the caseload numbers compare to other schools, but you can get a ton of good, hands on. experience. Mostly beef/rodeo stock, but pretty good numbers of small rums and camelids, some dairy, some swine. I now do a lot of dairy and small ruminant work, but have a few beef and swine clients- overall, I went into practice feelinf pretty dang confident on the routine FA stuff,

There are a bunch of wetlabs about everything from castrations to dehorning, cosmetic dehorns, casting, digit amputation, therio classes (hands on breeding, palp, collection, plus dystocia management/fetotomy labs), techniques classes (epidurals, locals, c sections, ex laps, DA’s, plus basics like catheters, orogastric tubes). The school has its own herd of cows at the therio ranch so a lot gets practiced on those gals. In the advanced food animal elective my friend and I did a c-section with a resident supervising- about as hands on (in?) as it gets! There was a short summer elective that takes you around to a bunch of dairies, swine facilities and processing plants in the area. Therio elective has you palpating a couple afternoons a week. For fourth year, I spent about ten weeks off campus with mixed or large animal vets.

Only thing so far in practice that I wish I had actually gotten to practice in school is prolapses. learned theory but never got to actually do one!

Lab Vet

I love regs!

Our poultry guys are fantastic (love them), beef and small ruminant are great, too. All of our FA people are accomplished, but those three groups happen to be my favorites. There’s a pretty hefty swine program here at State as well. If you want to do FA, there’s a decent caseload at NCSU.

Maddie Otto

By Maddie Otto

Maddie is a second-year medical student at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney and one of Level Medicine’s workshop project managers. Prior to studying medicine, she worked and studied as a musician in Melbourne. She has a background in community arts, which combined her love for both the arts and disability support. She is an advocate for intersectional gender equity, and is passionate about accessibility and inclusive practice within the healthcare system.