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

philosophies.

“”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

vaccinations.

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.