As the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health
Sciences continues to grow and enjoy success, so do the college’s three
wellness centers that enable students to experience different practice
“”Our college is very proud to be focusing on wellness and disease
prevention in the first two years of our curriculum. This focus occurs
concurrently with mastery of basic sciences by our students,”” said Dr.
Shirley D. Johnston, founding dean of the College of Veterinary
Medicine. “”We believe that this will position our students to move easily
into learning provision of primary care in their third year experiences
in partner veterinary hospitals and to learning under the guidance of
veterinary specialists in the fourth year.””
In October 2003, the college opened the Hill’s Wellness Center,
located just a few miles off campus in a building that once served as a
human medical center. The center features several exam rooms, a cat ward,
an exercise area and a pharmacy. Hill’s Science Diet pet food products
are available for sale.
Students provide wellness services to the dogs and cats of WesternU
students, staff and faculty. Students from the college work with faculty
and learn how to conduct wellness exams. When problems are found, pets
and their owners will be referred to local veterinarians for treatment.
Dr. Elizabeth Boynton, the college’s wellness professor and director of
the center, said the students have seen several hundred patients and have
already had repeat follow-up visits.
“”It’s a great learning opportunity for the students,”” Boynton
said. “”They’ve enjoyed getting to know the pets and the people on campus.””
This year, the college and Banfield, The Pet Hospital celebrated the
opening of a new temporary on-campus center, which provides similar
wellness services as the Hill’s Wellness Center.
The 2,000-square-foot building features three exam rooms each equipped
with touch-screen computers, four treatment tables, a kennel area, a
surgery suite, and an in-house lab. It is also open to WesternU students,
staff and faculty and their pets. Dogs and cats are seen at both sites,
but the Banfield, The Pet Hospital wellness center also welcomes many
types of exotic pets, including birds, rodents, and reptiles.
The past year also saw the completion and utilization of the college’s
Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service mobile unit, which made its
public debut at the 2004 Los Angeles County Fair.
The 36-foot-long vehicle features two main rooms — one that serves
primarily as a sterile procedure room and the other that will allow for
minor treatments and exams. It is outfitted with three procedure tables,
patient prep table, four anesthesia machines, a limited diagnostic lab, a
darkroom and a kennel area.
Under the supervision of CVM faculty and technicians, first- and
second-year students will provide primary care services, including
physical examinations, surgical sterilizations, microchipping and
The mobile clinic coordinates services through human organizations and
targets the pets of homebound senior citizens, people with disabilities
and hospice patients. Animal rescues and shelters that do not have on-
site veterinary services also will be assisted.