The University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has accepted 122 new students for the 1998-99 academic year, up from 108 students in 1997-98. The School's admissions committee screened 1,134 applications in the search.
The Class of 2002 has the most women in the School's fifty-year history. The incoming class includes 25 men and a record 97 women--80% of the class.
Adding 14 students begins to help California address an increasing societal demand for veterinary services. According to Bennie I. Osburn, dean of the School, "The need for veterinarians in California is growing rapidly as people adopt more pets. Our global trading partners are importing more food animal products--health and welfare services for those animals must be provided. The public is also increasingly involved in a variety of wildlife stewardship issues which require veterinary expertise."
The supply of veterinarians is not keeping up with population growth in California. A recent analysis conducted by the School shows that, though the U.S. averages 21 veterinarians per 100,000 residents, California has only about 17 veterinarians per 100,000 people. California also has the lowest ratio of veterinary students in the country. As California's present population of more than 32.9 million increases a projected 6 million in the next ten years, ratios will decline further if more veterinarians are not trained. Osburn states, "We need to be turning out 50-60 more veterinarians into the community each year to keep pace with population growth."
The only veterinary institution in the state, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine offers a four-year professional program which includes medicine and science courses, hundreds of practical laboratory sessions, and clinical experiences leading to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. The broad discipline includes study of animal, human, and environmental health.
Most veterinarians treat small pets, including California's 7.6 million cats, 6.1 million dogs, and other small animals--including a variety of exotic reptiles, fish and birds. In response to society's demand for sophisticated animal therapies, many veterinarians pursue added training as residents in cardiology, behavior, nutrition, surgery, dentistry, and other veterinary medical specialties.
Veterinarians may work in agriculture, public health, and research positions at institutions or private firms. Opportunities exist for livestock and food animal practitioners. Public health experts study diseases common to animals and humans. Wildlife and exotic animal specialists work in animal parks and wildlife management programs. Veterinary scientists also apply biotechnology tools to human health research, animal vaccines, and diagnostic tests.
Starting salaries in veterinary medicine range from $40,000-$45,000. Salaries are not as high as in other professions with such rigorous training. However, 100% of School students find full-time positions upon receiving their DVM degrees.
One in three newly licensed veterinarians in California each year trains at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, celebrating its 50th anniversary in August 1998.