Certificate in Food Animal Veterinary Medicine

Administered in the:

Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida

Food Animal Veterinary Medicine (FAVM)

The AVMA notes that “around the turn of the 19th century, virtually every veterinarian was a food supply veterinarian. Today, only about 17 percent of veterinarians work in food supply, which includes private and public practice veterinarians involved in the entire food chain from farm to fork. Research forecasts a shortfall of four percent to five percent per year in the ranks of food supply veterinarians. We are at a crossroads. Americans are demanding, now more than ever, healthy and wholesome food, and there aren’t enough veterinarians on the front lines helping to make sure their expectations are met”.

The State of Florida has strong cattle industries, with 1.8 million food animals made up primarily of beef and dairy cattle. There are about 175 food animal or mixed animal practitioners in the State caring for this population of animals (or ~10,000 animals per veterinarian). Nineteen of Florida’s 68 counties have no food supply veterinarian; nine of these counties have a food animal population of 5,000 to 25,000 animals. The clientele served by this pool of veterinarians is a well educated cadre of agriculturalists and entrepreneurs.

Certificate Overview

The shortage of food supply veterinarians is an important national issue that extends beyond the State of Florida. The need for well trained veterinarians in the area of food supply veterinary medicine is identified as critical at the local, state and national level. To encourage the development of students and future practitioners capable of providing professional service to the area of Food Animal Veterinarian Medicine, a Certificate in Food Animal Veterinary Medicine (FAVM) is offered. The program is administered by the Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Students participating in the certificate program are mentored through didactic, clinical and extracurricular activities that provide a strong entry level training in food supply veterinary medicine.

Students from all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to participate. This is an opportunity for students to fill in experiential deficits and provide exposure to FAVM. Students with rural backgrounds that have had experience with food production are particularly encouraged to participate. Students participating in other College programs, such as the Masters of Public Health and (or) the Certificate in International Veterinary Medicine program may find achievement of this certificate to be of benefit in their professional development plan.

Students who successfully complete this program will receive a certificate that documents their advanced and directed training in FAVM. This certificate will identify the new graduate veterinarian as an employment prospect for an entry level position in food animal practice or a food systems profession. The certificate will provide students an edge in employment readiness due to their dedication, work ethic and commitment to the certification process. They will be better prepared to provide leadership in the area of food systems veterinary medicine. This process will also prepare the way for specialty training in an internship and/or residency program and (or) advanced training in a graduate education (MS, PhD) program. Faculty mentors will play an important role in helping students clarify and pursue their career goals and set the path for their completion of certificate requirements.

The Certificate provides a template for mastering basic skills associated with FAVM, including food animal/systems oriented courses taught within the CVM and targeted extracurricular experiences.

Extracurricular Activities

The extracurricular experiences encourage early exposure to FAVM. This is accomplished by participation in the Food Animal Club within the College. Students are expected to participate in and provide a leadership role to this student organization. Weekend wet labs coordinated by the student club and the faculty mentors provide hands-on animal experience, discussion of food animal topics and, very importantly, contact with others of similar interest, i.e., students, food animal residents, interns and faculty mentors. Students also will become members of the professional association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), and are encouraged to affiliate with the Society for Theriogenology (SFT). Both associations strongly encourage student development within the respective disciplines. Through this support structure students will:

  • Observe the benefits of a career in FAVM with an emphasis on how careers in this area provide meaningful work of importance to the nation and society that allows them to fully use their veterinary medical training.
  • Receive information that accurately describes the varied career opportunities of veterinarians involved in FAVM
  • Develop a clear understanding that a FAVM career will allow them to fully use their veterinary medical knowledge, with a well educated clientele.
  • Participate in seminars, tutorials, and other forms of advice and assistance to help new graduate veterinarians function in and establish a food animal practice.
  • Be educated on issues related to the proper handling of large animals to overcome concerns about the physical aspects of a career in FAVM.
  • Be provided courses during the first years of the veterinary medical curriculum that cover the basic tenets of production animal medicine to provide early exposure for students who lack this experience.

Food Animal Club Wet Labs

Weekend wet labs are organized through the fall and spring of the each year in cooperation with the Food Animal Club and its faculty coordinator. Wet lab instruction is provided by food animal house officers and faculty mentors. The labs provide instruction in bovine palpation, toxic plants, small ruminants, necropsy/pathology, dehorning, nutrition, ultrasound utilization, embryo transfer, foot care, nursery pigs, breeding soundness evaluation of bulls, artificial insemination collection center, grazing dairies, euthanasia, and other timely topics. Students receiving ‘certificate’ credit for participation in wet labs are expected to attend 10 labs per year. It is expected that those participating in the certificate program will earn certificate credits for wet lab participation at least twice during the 4 year professional program, including one credit in their 4th year.

Individual Investigation (VEM5991)

An important part of a student’s academic and scientific development is the curiosity and critical evaluation associated with pondering a research question and developing and executing a research study. Students will carry out an individual investigation under the supervision of a food animal clinician or an approved scientific mentor. The role of the mentor is crucial in helping to identify and develop a project that will help the student develop analytical skills and reach professional goals. The research will be conducted with a focus on addressing a food supply veterinary medicine question/problem. The study will be hypothesis driven, with specific objectives defined and evaluated. At the study’s conclusion, the findings will be presented in an appropriate forum, i.e., Alpha Zeta Research Emphasis Day, AABP or SFT student presentations, and publication of results will be encouraged.

Species Emphasis and Externships

As students prepare to enter clinics, they will select a Food Animal/Large Animal track emphasis. As a result, their clinical assignments will permit early participation in the food animal clinical rotation and subsequent elective rotations. Further, students will be readied early in clinical experience to participate in externships and receive external mentoring at locations that will provide strong and supportive opportunities under the guidance of practitioners and their faculty mentors. Upon return from each of at least 2 externships, the student will prepare a written report of the experience. Students will be given an appropriate forum to share their experiences in presentation form with other students.

Faculty Mentors

Faculty mentors are an important component of the certification process. Mentors will also act as student advisors to the certificate-seeking student. The mentor will provide guidance in attaining the best curricular and extracurricular experiences possible during the professional course. The mentor may provide direction with the individual investigation and externship experiences. They will also work with students to acquire funding for externships through established professional organization sources (AABP, ARV, SFT). In some cases, employment or stipends may be available for extended summer externships. Current faculty mentors include, but are not limited to, the following individuals:

G. Arthur Donovan, DVM, MS, Professor

Klibs Galvao, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Assistant Professor

Jorge Hernandez, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Professor

Fiona Maunsell, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM, Clinical Assistant Professor

D. Owen Rae, DVM, MPVM, Professor, Service Chief

Carlos A. Risco, DVM, DACT, Professor, Department Chair

Rafael S. Bisinotto, MV, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor

Core and Didactic Curriculum

Students will be expected to demonstrate enthusiastic, leadership roles in the core, required food animal didactic and clinical courses, and additionally, will participate in the elective food animal didactic and clinical courses offered by the College. These core and elective courses are listed by name and by description below. Additional elective courses may be approved by certificate administrators. These may include CVM graduate courses or didactic courses in other Colleges, i.e. ruminant nutrition, ag-economics, HACCP systems.

  • Core Didactic Curriculum:
    VEM 5201 Veterinary Clinical Techniques and Physical Diagnosis
    VEM 5278 Theriogenology
    VEM 5503 Veterinary Epidemiology
    VEM 5504 Veterinary Preventive and Production Medicine
  • Core Clinical Rotation:
    VEM 5735 Core Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service Clerkship (FARMS)
  • Required, Elective Courses [Students are encouraged to participate in all and required to participate in several ** of the following]:
    VEM 5277 Bovine Reproduction
    VEM 5352 Dairy Production Medicine
    VEM 5355 Ruminant Medicine **
    VEM 5501 Clinical Epidemiology
    VEM 5530 Advanced Beef Practice
    VEM 5991 Individualized Investigation **
  • Required, Clinical Courses:
    VEM 5835 Advanced Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service Clerkship (FARMS) or
    VEM 5836 Food Animal Production Medicine Clerkship

[Note: These descriptions may need to be expanded to be more descriptive and reader friendly. Some updates will also be necessary.].

  • Description of these courses:
    • VEM 5201 Veterinary Clinical Techniques and Physical Diagnosis – 1 credit. An introduction to clinical methods used in examination and treatment of domestic animals. Course Coordinator – Dr. R. Milner; Grading System – Pass/Fail.
    • VEM 5277 Bovine Reproduction – 1 credit. Special emphasis on problems in bovine reproduction including diagnosis of pregnancy, postpartum care, rebreeding, abortion, evaluation of breeding soundness, heifer management, embryo transfer, ultrasonography, teaser bull management, reproductive surgery. Prerequisite to VEM 5888 – Bovine Reproduction Clerkship. Course Coordinator – Dr. C. Risco; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5278 Theriogenology– 2 credits. Basic principles of obstetrics, gynecology, andrology, genital diseases, fertility control and artificial insemination of domestic animals. Course Coordinator ; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5352 Dairy Production Medicine – 1 credit. Introduction to issues in dairy herd health medicine including record keeping systems; implementation and evaluation of reproductive programs, milking management, nutrition programs, replacement rearing programs; individual animal management, client education. Course Coordinator – Dr. A. Donovan; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5355 Ruminant Medicine – 2 credits. Gastroenterology, respiratory diseases, neurology, cardiovascular diseases, hemolymphatic disorders, and dermatology of ruminants. Course Coordinator – Dr. M. Long;
      Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5501 Clinical Epidemiology – 1 credit. Introduction to food animal oriented clinical epidemiological history and principles, interpretation of diagnostic tests, measurement of disease frequency, epidemiologic criteria for association in disease, confounding and interaction, disease outbreak and investigation. Course Coordinator – Dr. A. Donovan; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5504 Veterinary Preventive and Production Medicine – 2 credits. Introduction to basic concepts in preventive and production medicine with emphasis on herd health and production programs for domestic animals including cattle, (dairy and beef), small ruminants, swine and companion animals. Epidemiological and economic aspects are combined with production health, regulatory and preventive medicine considerations. Course Coordinator – Dr. C. Risco; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5506 International Veterinary Medicine – 1 credit. To develop an awareness of the impact that veterinary medicine has on the health and well-being of people and animals in foreign countries, and explore opportunities in international veterinary medicine. Course Coordinator – Dr. J. Hernandez; Grading System – Pass/Fail.
    • VEM 5530 Advanced Beef Practice – 1 credit. Special emphasis on the beef cattle industry including topics in economics, behavior, principles of herd health management practices, regulatory issues, nutrition and feed additives, genetics, reproduction issues, and computerized management of records. Course Coordinator – Dr. O. Rae; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5735 Core Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service Clerkship (FARMS) – 2 credits. Clinical experience in medicine of bovine, porcine and ovine species. History taking, physical examination and management of hospital patients and out patients. Course Coordinator –Dr. O. Rae; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5835 Advanced Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service Clerkship (FARMS) – 2 credits. Clinical experience in medicine of bovine, porcine and ovine species. History taking, physical examination and management of hospital patients and out patients. Course Coordinator –Dr. O. Rae; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5836 Food Animal Production Medicine Clerkship – 2 credits. Advanced clinical instruction regarding food animal medicine. Course Coordinator – Dr. O. Rae; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5888 Bovine Reproduction Clerkship – 2 credits. Advanced clinical training in bovine reproduction. Prerequisite VEM 5277 required. Course Coordinator – Dr. C. Risco; Grading System – Letter grade.
    • VEM 5931 Seminars in International Veterinary Medicine – 1 credit. The objectives of this course are to enhance the UF CVM international profile by creating a forum for presentation of faculty/resident/intern/student international activities and to facilitate international opportunities for students. Course Coordinator – Dr. J. Hernandez, Grading System – Pass/Fail.
    • VEM 5991 Individualized Investigation – 2 credits. Students individually prepare an oral and written report on a research or clinical topic. Course Coordinator ; Grading System – Letter grade.

To participate in the FAVM certificate program veterinary students are expected to maintain good academic standing. If a student is placed on academic probation, his or her ability to participate in this program will be interrupted until academic probation is resolved in a satisfactory manner.

To earn the certificate in FAVM a student must, in brief:

  • Be enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine seeking a DVM degree and complete 16 credit hours of approved food animal academic course work.
  • Select a food animal track emphasis for clinical and didactic course work.
  • Be in good academic and professional standing.
  • Show a consistent, four-year participation in FAVM program functions and activities.
  • Identify a faculty mentor who will provide guidance through the required and elective course work, individual investigation and externships.

Approved Academic Course work and Time Table: Click the link to access the PDF file.

Administration

Oversight of academic credits earned by student participants will be administered by the Associate Dean of Students and Instruction. The tracking of Certificate program elements and student progress therein will be supervised and administered by the Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service, i.e., the service chief and faculty mentors. The certificate will be awarded at the time the DVM degree is awarded.

For further information, contact:

Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service
Office hours: daily 8:00 to 5:00, 352-294-4310

D. Owen Rae, Service Chief, raeo@ufl.edu
G. Art Donovan, donovana@ufl.edu
Jorge Hernandez, hernandezj@ufl.edu
Carlos Risco, riscoc@ufl.edu