PIQUA — The Upper Valley Career Center is kicking off a new veterinary science program this year, responding to an interest in the local academic and agriculture communities with a $1.2 million investment in a new building.
“It’s a new building project supporting a brand new career technology program,” District Public Relations Coordinator Kathy Voris said.
Jason Haak, a former agriculture teacher and former high school principal in Covington, explained that he has continually come across interest in a veterinary science program for the high school students in the region. As the executive director at UVCC, Haak has continued to encounter that interest from guidance counselors inquiring on behalf of their students.
“There was a huge interest of students,” Haak said.
The veterinary science program, a two-year program, is already over capacity in its first year. “We had 27 students sign up before there was an instructor,” Voris said.
For their instructor, the school brought in certified veterinarian Dr. Deb Stanfield, who has approximately 30 years of experience since she received her degree from The Ohio State University. Stanfield was a practicing veterinarian for the last 20 years at Tri-County Veterinary Service in Anna before injuries in her hands caused her to retire from veterinary practice.
“Their loss is our gain,” Voris said.
The new veterinary science program will prepare students for veterinary school who want to pursue a career as a veterinarian or registered veterinary technician, as well as any career involving animals in general, including horse training, research involving animals, working in an animal shelter, and more. Students may even learn techniques to bring back to the farm, such as different procedures with breeding cows and artificial insemination.
“Any kind of animal care,” Stanfield said. “I think they would be very well-rounded for that.”
Currently, Stanfield brings her two Doberman Pinschers, Dalton and Patton, to class and crates them while they are not being used as part of an instruction.
“The kids get to handle them,” Stanfield said. “They can be used to show how to hold a patient correctly.”
She explained that the students can learn discipline and handling techniques with the dogs. Stanfield is also able to teach canine anatomy and simple veterinary procedures using the dogs.
The new 6,300 square-foot veterinary science building is currently under construction at a cost of approximately $1.2 million.
With the new building, the class will be able to gain hands-on experience with both large and small animals, from pets to larger livestock.
Upon entering the building, there will be a reception area with a front desk to teach students about recordkeeping and what kinds of questions to ask the clients. From the reception area, there will be an exam room, traditional laboratory space, and surgery rooms. Then there will be a high-bay area for larger animals like cows, where they will also be able to set up temporary pins for multiple animals. There will then be a small room for cats and a separate room for dogs.
The students will be able to assist on procedures where they are legally allowed to, and then the courses will expose them to other procedures and minor surgeries.
“We’re real excited about it, and the students are as well,” Stanfield said.