vcaVCA, a longtime friend of Western University of Health Sciences, will take the spotlight at WesternU’s “A Tribute to Caring” gala.

WesternU will honor VCA with the Corporate Award for Excellence in Health Care Nov. 5, 2016 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. Click here to visit the ATC website. Proceeds benefit student scholarships.

VCA’s history with WesternU dates back to the College of Veterinary Medicine’s (CVM) early years. Every CVM student takes the “Diagnostic, Laboratory and Pathology” course at VCA’s Antech Diagnostics Laboratory in Orange County, and many VCA practices provide training opportunities to CVM students.

“VCA’s practices have specialists in all areas of the profession. Our students are exposed to extremely high-quality medicine, and benefit from exposure to highly qualified professionals,” said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD. “Some of our students have graduated and become interns and residents in VCA practices, while other students are boarded as a result of their experiences in VCA hospitals.”

VCA, founded in 1986, is a publicly traded national animal health care company (WOOF on NASDAQ) that provides veterinary services, diagnostic testing, imaging services and various medical technology products and related services to the veterinary market.

VCA’s family of businesses include: VCA Animal Hospitals, which is represented by approximately 800 small animal veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada; Antech Diagnostics, which is a preeminent nationwide clinical laboratory system that services all 50 states and Canada; Sound, which is a leading animal diagnostic imaging company in the veterinary field, and Camp Bow Wow, which provides pet services including boarding and doggy day care.

VCA Co-founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Bob Antin will accept the Corporate Award for Excellence in Health Care on behalf of his team, which includes Arthur J. Antin, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer; Neil Tauber, Co-founder and Senior Vice President of Development; Tomas W. Fuller, Chief Financial Officer; and Todd Tams, DVM, DACVIM, Chief Medical Officer.

VCA has established the largest small animal private practice post-graduate education program for veterinarians in the world, and employs the largest group of veterinary specialists of any veterinary care company. The company has approximately 4,500 veterinarians, including nearly 600 board-certified specialists, and more than 25,000 skilled pet care providers, support staff and managers.

VCA invests back into the profession, spending $100 million annually in capital expenditures for hospitals, replacing and improving its facilities, linear accelerators, MRIs, flexible and rigid endoscopy systems, digital radiography, ultrasounds, CT scans and other instrumentation that help support our staff and our pet families, Bob Antin said.

VCA’s growth created increasing competition for veterinarians’ services and increased salaries, as well as opportunities for veterinarians to sell their practices and retire.

“We believe we have made a huge contribution to the veterinary profession. We created jobs and opportunities. We contributed to the success of veterinarians. We’ve given veterinarians, through acquisitions, more than $1.5 billion,” Antin said. “We created careers and proliferated teaching programs. We’ve created a truly amazing business to be proud of, which is what attracts students. There are great opportunities to make a living, have a career, get training, and work with modern technology.”

VCA was one of the first innovators to automate many of the diagnostic tests used in veterinary medicine. Those diagnostic tests are similar to the ones used in human medicine. A majority of veterinarians use VCA diagnostic facilities in order to help detect diseases and treat their animals, Nelson said.

“Bob Antin is the co-founder of a company that has put together high-quality veterinary practices, and those practices have extended the knowledge of veterinary medicine in a way that private practice has never impacted veterinary medicine before,” he said. “Not only has he developed a network of practices that are effectively protecting their community, those practices have also developed new techniques that made certain translational advancements more available.”

Veterinarians are as much a part of the public health team as doctors, nurses, podiatrists, optometrists and others, Nelson said. Because human beings are consumers of animals and animal byproducts, healthy animals are important to humans’ well-being. The healthier the earth’s population of animals is, the healthier we all are.

The work of small-animal practitioners benefits public health. There was a time parasitism in humans was rampant, largely because parasitism in animals was rampant.

“When we learned how to control those parasites in animals, we were able to build a buffer zone for human beings,” Nelson said. “Because of the work of small-animal practitioners, human beings don’t have to worry about those threats. So even deworming a dog is a public health act because preventing our pets from having zoonotic diseases – diseases that can cross over from animal to human – will improve human health and the public health.”