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Thursday, January 20, 2022

UF College of Veterinary Medicine Makes New Advancements in Research and Patient Care

The only college of veterinary medicine in Florida is ranked ninth in the U.S.

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s academic building, located at 1945 SW 16th Ave. on Sunday, July 18, 2021.
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s academic building, located at 1945 SW 16th Ave. on Sunday, July 18, 2021.

The only college of veterinary medicine in Florida, UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked ninth in the country, with its prominent research and patient care recognized nationally. 

Home to six degree programs and 454 doctorate of veterinary medicine students, its research and graduate training programs have been featured in a variety of online publications.

​​In the past year, researchers at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine have discovered a new disease affecting gopher tortoises, performed a total ankle replacement surgery on a dog and developed a new treatment for animals with bone loss.

“When I was interviewing for positions around the country and internal medicine faculty positions, this was the one that best met my hopes to combine high-level patient care with teaching and clinical research,” Dr. Julie Levy, professor of shelter medicine education at the College of Veterinary Medicine, said.

Besides having the state-of-the-art clinical skills laboratory and the leading aquatic animal health program, Dr. Levy also said the faculty felt like a family.

“The thing that struck me with the UF veterinary school was how friendly and collaborative everybody was,” she said. “You felt like this was a family working towards a common goal, rather than a collection of people working towards their separate goals.”

There are two animal hospitals open to the public on the Gainesville campus, a Small Animal Hospital and a Large Animal Hospital. Last year, they treated over 42,000 animals.

In 2008, Dr. Levy co-founded the college’s shelter medicine program. Her research focuses on feline infectious disease and humane community cat management.

Now a 27-year-old rising senior at the college, Polly Weldon began her studies at Ross University in the Caribbean. She transferred to UF a year later because of its reputation.

“I knew a UF degree would really be an amazing thing for me to have if I could, and it is just an awesome hospital,” Weldon said. “They have some of the best experts in the world, and I just definitely wanted to be a part of the Gator nation for veterinary medicine.”

Weldon said her professors at the college are devoted to student research.

“They’re on the forefront of veterinary medicine, which is amazing to be involved in as a student,” she said.

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While there is no official pre-veterinary program at UF, students can join either the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club or the Minority Pre-Vet Students. Both clubs provide prospective veterinary students with support while they undergo the grueling veterinary school application process.

Ashley Ferrato, president of the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club and a 20-year-old animal science senior, said growing up on a horse farm helped her become aware of her passion for helping animals.

“As soon as I started working in the field, actually touching people’s lives, both animals and humans, the reward for me is just so great,” Ferrato said.

Veterinary medicine is a stressful field, but it is not a very diverse one, said Daniela Vassolo, president of Minority Pre-Vet Students.

The 21-year-old animal biology senior hopes to become a veterinarian, but it can be difficult for minority students to succeed in the field. The club helps her feel less alone.

“We really try to give our members speakers that have diverse backgrounds so that they don’t feel so alone, and they can find their goals are more attainable and relatable because they’re meeting people who are like them,” Vassolo said. 

Contact Eve Thompson at ethompson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @evealanaa.

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Eve Thompson

Eve Thompson is a third-year journalism major covering Santa Fe. In the past, Eve was a News Assistant on the university desk. When she’s not submitting public records requests or staring at a blank Google doc, Eve can be found on a boat, usually listening to 70s music.


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