Veterinary Teaching Hospital Contributes to Purdue Veterinary Medicine's Broader Impact on Indiana

As a component of the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital puts Purdue University in rare company since only 30 colleges and schools of veterinary medicine exist in the United States. Additionally, Purdue Veterinary Medicine (PVM) is one of only four U.S. veterinary schools or colleges that train the entire veterinary team, including veterinarians and veterinary nurses.

The economic activity generated by PVM and its alumni produced an estimated $28.6 million in state and local government tax revenues and $46.7 million in federal government collections in 2014. The VTH is integral to training these alumni in the field of veterinary medicine. Today, 63 percent of Indiana's veterinarians and 30 percent of the state's veterinary nurses are Purdue alumni.

A full analysis of Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s financial impact on the state can be found in the "2014 Economic Impact of Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine on the State of Indiana." (Economic Impact Study PDF)

Veterinary Teaching Hospital is Vital to Disease Research and Medical Discovery

The College of Veterinary Medicine's clinical and research missions reflect the general public's growing understanding and commitment to animal health and its implications for human health and well-being. Clinical trials are an important component of "translational medicine," which involves advances in animal health that lead to advances in human health. Naturally occurring medical conditions in animal patients can be treated, with owner permission, as part of important clinical studies that have the potential to benefit both animals and people. This patient population plays a critical role in the translation of basic research to clinical applications and commercialization, especially in drug discovery.

Because, like humans, dogs, cats, and horses develop diseases that require improved diagnostics, treatment, and therapies, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is a natural laboratory for clinical studies of diseases. Six out of every ten infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. Dogs develop cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, for example, and many of these cancers, such as lymphoma, bladder cancer, and brain tumors, are excellent models for human disease. Other examples of diseases that are common in both animals and humans include obesity, immune disorders of the skin and respiratory tract, and epilepsy. Through clinical trials in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Purdue Veterinary Medicine specialists are able to treat these animals and improve their length and quality of life while advancing medical discovery.

As a result, faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine play leadership roles in the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, the new Pillars of Excellence in Life Sciences, the Purdue Institute for Immunology, Inflammation and Infectious Diseases, and the Center for Integrative Neuroscience.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital Supports Learning

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital provides veterinary medical and veterinary nursing students real-life experiences in patient care and management, attracting a cadre of outstanding and diverse future professionals who seek out Purdue because of the College of Veterinary Medicine's reputation for producing career-ready veterinarians and veterinary nurses, and its work to diversify the profession.

PVM students learn alongside faculty scholars who are experts in an array of specialized fields, including cardiology, oncology, surgery, internal medicine, neurology, radiology, and ophthalmology. The faculty serve as practitioners, educators and scientific investigators pursuing advances in medical science.

Currently, the College enrolls 339 DVM students and 89 veterinary nursing students on-campus, and another 270 in the Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning Program. Additionally, 37 residents and 9 interns work in the VTH as part of their advanced training in specialty fields of veterinary medicine.

Our Current Challenges

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital's potential to benefit the people of Indiana and Purdue University is dependent on the size and quality of the facility and its capability to house new technology. Most of the hospital is more than a half-century old. Because of the college's extraordinary faculty and staff, care standards have been maintained; however, the last three accreditation site teams (2004, 2011, and 2018) from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA-COE) have recommended that Purdue address its aging teaching hospital. During the 2018 visit, COE team members commented that Purdue "must" replace its small and large animal hospitals. This language differed from the previous two site visits in 2004 and 2011 that encouraged Purdue to "address" its aging facilities.

The Path Forward

Purdue University is at a crossroads, facing a special opportunity to lead the state forward in a way that recognizes the general public’s growing understanding of, and commitment to, animal health and its implications for human health and well-being. Statistics on animal ownership in Indiana help set the stage for understanding the magnitude of Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s societal impact. More than half of all Indiana households own a pet, and 40 percent of pet owners visited a veterinarian at least once in the past year. Beyond companion animals, the state has approximately 22,400 farms producing livestock, poultry and related products valued at $3.68 billion. Indiana ranks first in duck production, second in egg production, third in turkey production, and fifth in swine production. Additionally, the hospital provides vital support to the Indiana equine industry which is an important component of the state’s economy, boasting around 160,000 horses and generating about $2 billion annually. Indiana depends on the veterinary medical profession to care for the health needs of these animals, ensure a safe and secure food supply, and protect public health. This facility also allows Purdue to interact with pet-owners, who account for more than 50% of Indiana households and are part of the $60 billion Pet Economy.

Recognizing its role as the state of Indiana’s most significant animal health resource, the College of Veterinary Medicine has established a long-range blueprint for the future. That plan includes a new Veterinary Teaching Hospital that will enable the College to capitalize on its potential to enhance the quality of life for the people and animals of Indiana in the 21st century through engagement, learning and discovery. This plan for the new hospital represents a wise investment in a statewide resource that will provide a many-fold return to Hoosiers. A state-of-the-art Veterinary Teaching Hospital will help Purdue fulfill its promise as a university by advancing both animal and human health through medical discovery; meeting the animal health care needs of companion animal and livestock owners through advanced diagnostic and medical services; and attracting and educating the brightest future scholars and veterinary practitioners who will serve the needs of an increasingly diverse society.

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