77 in direction and new challenges presented. As the structure of animal agriculture changes so must the practice of veterinary medicine if it is to effectively service the industry. Greater emphasis will be placed on preventive medicine with the team approach being recommended. This team will include the veterinarian, both general and specialist, the agriculturalist, the technician and the owner-operator. All members of this team will be placing more emphasis on, and be more concerned about, the use of chemicals, including antibiotics, pesticides, etc., in animal health care in order to ensure that abuses in the use of these products do not occur which could affect food quality and endanger human health. Although private enterprise practices will still be the dominant force servicing the animal industry, there will likely have to be increased government assistance either directly or indirectly in order for all regions to be satisfactorily serviced.

sidized veterinarian whether it be a grant or a verticare arrangement, to the full-time salaried government employee. When one considers the possible structure of animal agriculture in the future, one cannot help but become concerned about how livestock and poultry producers are going to be serviced in particular regions as the number of farm operators reduces. There will still be a future for veterinary medicine in these areas or regions because the animal industry will demand it, but viable practices will not likely exist without some form of government support. It is the intent of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food to continue with this type of support to the animal industry when need is determined. In spite of this, we contend that private practices will still be dominating the scene in the animal industry for many years. In summary, we foresee a very challenging future for veterinary medicine in animal agriculture, but there will be some definite shifts

THE EXPANDING PROFESSION OF VETERINARY MEDICINE K. F. Wells* VETERINARY MEDICINE is as old as recorded history and veterinary practices of some sort undoubtedly are as old as civilization itself. The earliest association of man and animal was that which existed between prehistoric man and the dog, and this undoubtedly started man's care of animals. Great strides were made in the application of veterinary art, but it was not until the advent of the great cattle plagues of Europe in the early 1700's that veterinary art became veterinary science with the establishment of the Veterinary School in Lyons, France in 1762, followed by the veterinary schools of London in 1791 and in due course the Ontario Veterinary College in 1862. But how far have we really come, not in the sense of treating sick animals but in the sense of veterinary medicine as a profession. Writing in Veterinary Medicine (1934) on the "Development of Veterinary Medicine in North America" the editor D. M. Campbell said "It is notorious among the informed that, compared to its merits, veterinary medicine is

*Former Veterinary Director General of Canada.

less known and least appreciated among the professions and sciences and perhaps among the industries, not only by the general public, but by agriculture which in the main, it serves. Veterinary medicine on this continent occupies a position subordinated below what its importance merits, or what its very material achievement justifies. Such has been the case for at least half a century." We as a profession must broaden our horizons beyond the application of animal health measures, that is the treatment of sick animals, meat inspection, a very limited public health involvement and research in animal diseases, to a position of equal partnership in administration and management of the animal and allied industries if we as a profession are to survive and expand. This, we must do if the animal industry, on which the world depends, it to survive, expand and prosper. Surely this is our responsibility. In Canada we graduate approximately 275 veterinarians per year, whereas the agriculture colleges graduate approximately 3500 agriculturalists per year - more than ten times the



number of veterinarians, but do we hear of which is spent on research and half on diagagricultural graduates holding seminars to dis- nostic services. All of these activities, as the cuss "Where will the jobs be?" Not to my need becomes more apparent, will gradually knowledge. But in addition to practicing their be increased and provide expanding opporfundamental profession in the field, we find tunities for veterinary researchers. In the field of food producing and comthem as presidents, general managers of animal feed companies, packing plants, meat panion animal practice there are two points food industries, drug and pharmaceutical com- we would like to raise. First, we are conpanies, stock yards, agricultural insurance cerned about the lack of initiative by food companies, and even banks to name a few, producing animal practitioners in the field of whereas the veterinarian, absolutely essential nutrition and genetics. The companion animal to the success of all of these industries remains practitioner on the other hand, does involve as a "drawer of water and a hewer of wood" himself to a greater extent in nutrition. This to these industries as he practices the funda- same principle applies also to the physiology, mentals of his profession. We must expand our genetics and housing of food producing anihorizons beyond the present day concept of mals. All of these factors have a distinct bearveterinary medicine. We must be prepared to ing on animal health and productivity, which move into managerial and administrative posts is the veterinarian's concern. We need more where the knowledge, expertise, and achieve- veterinary specialists in these fields which in ments of veterinary medicine can be exploited turn provides greater opportunity for the pronot only to the well-being of our nation but fession. Secondly, in this field of food producing to the well-being of our profession. What is happening today to give us con- animal practice is the large area of herd health fidence in the future? We are graduating vet- programs. Over the years veterinary students erinarians from the three colleges of Canada have been taught - and well taught - in the who are better trained in all facets of vet- skills of diagnosing and treating sick animals. erinary medicine than ever before. Yet, to Following graduation, there have been only a maintain and keep ahead of the ever increas- few who have used their professional expertise ing knowledge we are short of good veter- to develop "herd health" programs. The treinary teaching staff and this situation will be- mendous input of time, talent, money and come even more acute if and when a fourth effort on "animal salvage" practice made little veterinary college comes into being. The train- headway towards herd health programs. Foring of teaching staff is a long and expensive tunately, herd health is now a very active subprogram, but the need is here now and this ject and real progress is being made. This recognition of the need by our three deans of certainly is a facet of the profession that can veterinary medicine augurs well for the contin- be expanded. Expansion of this concept will uation of our high academic standards. Let serve two ends - it can absorb more graduates us be certain our profession is able to fill this and will save the agricultural economy untold millions of dollars. highly important need. Who really knows what these losses are? Moving on to the field of research, while the difficulty of financing research is recog- Has anyone calculated, for example, what one nized, the increasing need of research is also lone case of mastitis in a dairy cow costs the recognized. While the Canadian Department of industry - costs Canada - in lost potential, Agriculture is not fundamentally a granting lost production, lost time to the dairyman to agency, the amounts of money allocated for say nothing of the dollars spent on treatment. outside research such as operational grants, It is estimated losses due to mastitis alone cost extramural grants and contract research has Canada's dairy industry 1.240 billion dollars been gradually increasing. Total Agriculture annually. Neonatal disease losses in Western Canada grants in these areas to agricultural Canada are estimated at 80 million dollars and veterinary colleges reached seven million annually and fertility or reproductive losses during the fiscal year 1975-1976. In addition, at 120 million. If we bring only these three more veterinary researchers are obtaining sup- together we are talking annual losses of 1.440 port from the traditional research granting billion dollars. Surely, here is a case for exagencies of the Federal Government, that is panded opportunities both in research, practhe National Research Council, the Medical tice and administration not to mention the service provided to the animal industry. Research Council and the Canada Council. There is a growing trend towards some The Animal Pathology Division of the Health of Animals Branch has a budget of form of Federal-Provincial program of assistapproximately eight million dollars, half of ing livestock owners in the provision of vet206


erinary medicine. Without being of socialistic tendencies, however, when the present position of developing programs and patterns, together with the Federal-Provincial study group on "The Provision of Veterinary Services to the Livestock Industry" is studied, it becomes obvious that some Government assisted food animal health service is inevitable. In this vein if one examines the Quebec program where the number of food animal veterinary practitioners has increased from 84 in 1970 to 217 in 1976, equivalent to 258% in a period of six years, it leaves no doubt about expanded opportunities for veterinarians in this area. During this same six-year period the average gross income of large animal practitioners in Quebec rose to $38,000. There is another field that has been only lightly scratched in the past. It is one that, for some strange reason, does not seem to attract veterinarians. What we are referring to is the important field of public health. Certainly there have been, and are still, veterinarians with D.V.P.H. diplomas in this field, but how many are reporting to an M.D. Why should this be? Who is the better qualified to be familiar with the zoonotic diseases? How many times, for example, does the large animal practitioner or Health of Animals veterinarian have to give a quiet, private lecture to a medical doctor on rabies, toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis, etc. There is no reason why the veterinarian cannot be the manager, the administration or a member of this decision-making team of executives. This too is veterinary medicine - have you thought about it? Now, let us take a look at the food industry again. This time human food. Veterinarians are involved here, without a doubt, in inspecting the product someone else is turning out. These veterinarians may be actually employed by a Government-federal, provincial, municipal or whatever but, if we are capable of looking after such important things as plant construction, layout, sanitation and so forth, why aren't we in managerial positions in the industry itself, or in consultative or advisory positions, with the industry paying for our expertise directly. We must broaden our horizons in more than one plane. We have to expand in many directions. We must not only look at new corners of the fields we may now be in, but think of totally new ones. We will mention but a few the environment, for instance. We are becoming increasingly aware of this fragile ecosystem of which we are a part. It is composed of living matter - much of that matter is animal and that happens to be our 207


chosen vocation: treating sick animals and groups of animals. Can it be that there may be a place for the veterinarian when it comes time to treat a sick ecology. We would like to think that there should be. We have not yet touched on expanded need in the regulatory areas of veterinary medicine and this is of course difficult to assess. However, with expanding demands in the field of disease control and eradication along with similar demands in meat and food inspection one can only assume that these demands will be greater, not less. Meat inspection,, as an example is facing increased demands both from provincial, federal and federal-provincial cooperative programs at a rate greater than service can be presently provided. We could carry on at considerable length with respect to areas of possible expansion of veterinary services, such as economics. We might not need a great number of veterinary economists but a hard core of such people, that is a veterinarian with graduate training in economics would be of great help both to the profession and the livestock industry. At the present time when we need a study done involving economics we turn to an agricultural economist. We try and explain the problem in veterinary terms, with veterinary background and hope for the best. We must say our problems are usually well looked after. But how much better it would be to have a veterinarian trained in economics. An example is, mastitis. How much does one case of mastitis cost a farmer. The full ramifications of such a study require veterinary knowledge. These economic questions are going to become more urgent as we move further into preventive veterinary medicine and herd health programs along with increasing federal-provincial veterinary service assistance programs, if we are to adequately assess cost-benefit ratios. Finally, there is serious concern of the need for greater veterinary services to aquaculture. Apart from increasing interest in fish disease problems in natural fish habitats, there is a growing industry of fish culture for food purposes in artificial fish habitats or fish ponds. Here is a further opportunity for expansion of veterinary interests and service. In the discussions that eventually led to the building of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, there were cries of gloom and doom. Too many veterinarians will flood the job market, some moaned. There will be unemployed veterinarians all over, and so on. Well, history has proved these prophets wrong. As you know, not only has the Western


College been turning out graduates that have inces need a veterinary college. This is only a managed to find places for themselves, but small part of the story. Without a centre of since then all three schools have increased veterinary expertise in the Atlantic provinces, their enrollment substantially, and still, where the veterinarians in these provinces have noare the unemployed? There always seems to where to turn for help, assistance or even conbe opportunities for the ambitious and well tinuing education. However, just as important qualified. One of the spin-off benefits that from our professional point of view and that came about as a result of the location of the of the livestock industry is the stimulation to college at Saskatoon, was an increasing aware- the livestockman in recognizing the value of ness of the value of veterinary medicine on the veterinary medicine that would result in the part of the western livestockman. In the ten presence of a centre of veterinary expertise in years of the Western College, it has created a the Atlantic provinces. place for itself in the hearts and minds of In concluding we are convinced that one western livestockmen and at the same time of the basic problems with the Canadian has carved a place for itself in the pocket veterinary profession today is that the profesbooks of the veterinarians. Just as the location sion has never been hungry. We have never, of the Ontario Veterinary College had a defi- as a profession, had to look for opportunity nite and positive impact on the agricultural or work. The demand for our services, in the industry of the province, so has western agri- traditional disciplines, has always been presculture benefitted from the presence of the ent. Certainly there have been exceptions, but Western College. on the whole few new graduates have had to As you are aware there is consideration be- hustle or scramble for gainful occupation in ing given to the establishment of a fourth their chosen profession. The traditional opporCanadian veterinary college in one of the At- tunities may not be all that plentiful today but lantic provinces and we are again hearing ex- beyond that imaginary boundary there are no pressions of concern about placing of the po- limits. In fact, if the veterinary profession does tential graduates. Presently Atlantic province not accept the present challenges of a more students seeking training in veterinary medi- aware and demanding society by expanding its cine are at the mercy of entrance demands at horizons, the profession will wither on the vine our three colleges far in excess of capacity. and drift back to being only a service group. Atlantic province students cannot get into the Do not expect that someone else will expand Western College of Veterinary Medicine as it and broaden our horizons for us, we the prois primarily for the Western provinces and as fession, you the graduates of today and toalready indicated demand far exceeds capa- morrow will be responsible. We cannot remain city. The Ontario Veterinary College has gen- hidebound to tradition, if we stand still we erously agreed to take up to six Atlantic will be left behind. We must be both willing students per year and St. Hyacinthe Veterin- and able to break out of the old mould and ary College has an agreement with New take on new tasks. This is where the future of Brunswick to take two francophone students veterinary medicine lies and this is where the per year. Apart from these arrangements, At- jobs of the future lie. Let us have confidence lantic students have no where to go in Canada in our ability to seek out these new dimensions for veterinary education. In fact the Province which will create a more noble veterinary of Newfoundland sends veterinary students to profession than ever before. Britain. On this basis alone the Atlantic prov-


choose to enter the companion animal area of

*Practitioner, Guelph, Ontario. 208

practice? Will you be happy and prosperous, disillusioned and prosperous or simply disillusioned? Since the mid 1950's, huge progressive changes have taken place.

The expanding profession of veterinary medicine.

PROBE 77 in direction and new challenges presented. As the structure of animal agriculture changes so must the practice of veterinary medicine if it...
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