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But a large number of the students who graduate from vet school will not practice those types of specialized medicine rather, they will work in community practices that focus on primary care and pet wellness.
"About half of all vet schools in the U.S. now have some sort of community practice clinic attached to them," explains Dr. Steve Thompson, director of Purdue's Wellness Clinic and one of two full-time practicing clinicians who double as faculty in the veterinary teaching hospital.
At Purdue, students are eligible for the elective in their fourth year of study. Under the supervision of Thompson or Dr. Alondra Martin, they perform all of the tasks of a regular community clinician. Prior to the development of the Wellness Clinic, students' only exposure to the community practice setting was through a required externship, also taken in their fourth year of study.
"The students gather medical and behavioral histories from the client, perform a complete physical exam on the pet, and assist with the diagnosis and development of a treatment plan," Thompson says. "We also work on issues such as client communication, veterinary economics and practice management."
The clinic's services are available to all pet owners, including those with exotic animals and non-traditional pets, who reside within a defined geographic radius of the university.
"We do a lot more than just dogs and cats," Thompson says. "About 15 percent of our current caseload is made up of exotics like ferrets, iguanas, large birds and even fish."
Students are also exposed to the latest developments in progressive veterinary medicine practices.
"Veterinary medicine mirrors human medicine in many ways, including an increased focus on wellness issues and special care for aging animals," Thompson says. "Nutrition and behavior consultation as well as animal dentistry are becoming more standard rather than specialty services. Since pets are living longer, their nutritional and medical needs are changing. The community practice elective gives students exposure to all of these issues in an actual practice setting."
CONTACT: Steve Thompson, (765) 496-3399, email@example.com
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Nationally reported incidents of foodborne illness caused by E. coli bacteria have increased consumers' awareness of the importance of proper food handling and thorough cooking, but the most common cause of food-related sickness is far from common knowledge.
"Improper cooling is the No. 1 reported cause of foodborne illness in the United States," says Richard Linton, an associate professor of food safety at Purdue University. "Most people recognize the need to cook foods to a temperature above 140 degrees in order to destroy most microorganisms that might be present, but they don't realize that any leftovers have to be cooled quickly so as not to allow any surviving bacteria to grow."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that cooked food be cooled to the refrigeration temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit in less than four hours, but Linton says that's not as easy to accomplish as it sounds. He demonstrates this for his classes by preparing a big pot of chili and then measuring the amount of time it takes to cool to the recommended temperature.
"I cook the chili at 165 degrees and then let it cool to 140 degrees before placing the pot in a refrigerator that's set at 37 or 38 degrees," Linton says. "I then ask them how long they think it will take to cool down to 40 degrees. Rarely do I get a correct answer, which is between 20 and 24 hours."
Even people who have been cooking a long time may not realize the potential hazards of not cooling foods properly.
"How many people allow their Thanksgiving turkey to cool at room temperature for a couple hours before placing it in the fridge?" Linton asks. "If you've cooked it to the right temperature, you've killed all the bugs that are going to cause a problem right then. But bacteria thrives in that window between 140 and 40 degrees, and even a turkey carcass that's refrigerated immediately after it's carved is going to be in that temperature range a lot longer than four hours."
Consumers can speed up cooling time by using stainless steel containers that facilitate heat transfer; dividing food into smaller, shallower containers; slicing meat off the bone; stirring the food as it cools; or placing the container of food in an ice-water bath before putting it in the refrigerator.
CONTACT: Richard Linton, (765) 494-6481, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compiled by Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809; email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue veterinary clinician Steve Thompson examines the wing feathers of a Moluccan cockatoo held by Mary Rakowski, a senior in veterinary medicine from Bremen, Ind., and assisted by second-year veterinary technician student Rebecca Cripe of South Bend, Ind. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Thompson.commclinic