Thursday, May 31, 2018

DAY 1 of Vet Camp

By Allie Allsup
As we embark on this year’s summer veterinary camp, our eighth one since its inception in 2011, we have 43 young campers joining us to listen, learn and engage the field of veterinary medicine.
Once check-in concluded around 8:30 a.m., campers and their family members were invited to join camp staff in the First Year (DVM) Classroom for a welcoming ceremony. This included a meet and greet of all the camp staff members and a brief summary about what the camp entails.
After initial greetings etc., we had a surprise guest, our mascot Bully, who is also affectionately known as Jak, and his handler, Lisa Pritchard. Lisa got to share all the details about Jak and his many habits, while also sharing a little bit about the history of our beloved mascot. As parents said goodbye, each camper got to take a group picture with their counselor and Jak to officially start camp.
Kaitlyn Junkin, Student Camp Director, is in charge of making sure camp comes together and has been preparing for this day for weeks. When asked about what she was most looking forward to about the camp, she replied that it’s getting the kids better prepared for the future that keeps her going.
“I’m really looking forward to teaching kids more about veterinary medicine,” Junkin said. “I wish I had this knowledge and opportunity when I was 15 or 16 years old and it’s exciting because we get to do stuff that us second year veterinary students haven’t even gotten to do as students yet.” 
In addition to a camp staff comprised of veterinary students, MSU’s summer veterinary camp program also has a clinician or faculty member overseeing each of the labs students participate in, to provide added oversight and expertise.
With camp officially underway, campers got to play some fun icebreaker games to get to know one another better. One of which was ‘Guess the Pet’, a game where the campers tried to guess the pet of their counselor. It was a great way for the campers to get to know the counselors a little bit better and a fun-loving activity to get them warmed up to what’s to come.
Next, it was finally time for the campers to experience their first Critical Care Lab, taught by Dr. Brittany Moore-Henderson. Before they got to enjoy some hands-on experiences in the lab, Dr. Marc Seitz came in and gave a 40-minute interactive presentation about Heat Strokes in Dogs. This presentation got them better prepared for what they were about to experience and allowed them to have plenty of discussion before diving into the lab activities.
It’s here that we learned of campers coming from as far as Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. It goes to show that these students are really focused on exploring a future career in the field of veterinary medicine, as well as how far they are willing to come to make that goal happen. In fact, between the two camp sessions – day camp, which just kicked off today, and overnight camp, which will kick off next week – there are campers from a total of fifteen different states (coast-to-coast) and two countries (U.S. and Norway) represented. 

Finished with the presentation, campers were led into one of the MSU-CVM labs where they experienced seven different stations with hands-on activities. Each camper got to experience some type of medical task whether it be pumping the chest of a coding dog (stuffed of course) or putting a catheter into a dummy dog. They were each tasked with very real situations with our counselors providing constant care, attention and participatory efforts for the students to really learn and understand what they are being taught today. They got to learn and review different techniques for helping a coding animal and got to observe certain techniques used by veterinarians.
Day Camp Coordinator Mekayla Mekara talked about what she is hoping to achieve and what she wants the campers to take away from this camp.
“My goal is for the campers to walk away with hands on knowledge that will prepare them for future job shadowing, internships or any field after high school, whether it be veterinary medicine, a veterinary technician or any medical or science field,” said Mekara.
If this morning has anything to say, it’s that this camp is jam packed with activities that are fun and essential for aspiring young veterinarians to encounter, all aimed at encouraging them to consider a career path in the field of veterinary medicine.

For more information about the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s summer veterinary camp program, visit

To see more photos please visit our facebook page.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine Conducts First-of-its-kind Survey on Dog Shelters

For Immediate Contact:
Katie Timmerman
PH: (662) 325-0465

Starkville, MS (May 3, 2018) – Mississippi State University (MSU) and its College of Veterinary Medicine announced today that it is conducting a first-of-its-kind survey of dog shelters in five states across the country.  The survey, which is funded by the Stanton Foundation, will provide valuable information about dog populations in shelters in key geographic regions across the country.  The goal of the survey, which will be one of the most comprehensive shelter surveys in U.S. history, is to gather detailed information on the number and physical characteristics of dogs entering shelters and what happens to them.

“The lack of reliable data makes it difficult to most effectively serve and help dogs in need. This survey will ultimately enable organizations that seek to promote canine welfare to help the greatest number of dogs,” said Dr. Kent H. Hoblet, Dean of MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The information will be beneficial to shelter operators, policymakers and ultimately dog owners across the nation because it will provide vital insights into patterns and behaviors regarding dog ownership, adoption, transfers, outcomes and resource distribution.”

The team conducting the survey will be reaching out to more than 400 shelters in five states – Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado and Oklahoma – that they have identified as eligible to participate. The five states were chosen because they each have a registry of shelters and provide a diverse geographical representation of the U.S.  The college is offering an honorarium of $100 to each participating shelter.

MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine will build on previous work measuring and assessing dog shelters. For this current study, MSU’s team of researchers and students will visit shelters in person to gather data, which will help ensure the quality of data is strong.  The individual data gathered will be kept confidential.  Additionally, the researchers are interested in hearing feedback from stakeholders and others about this initiative.

“People in all regions of the country care very much about canine welfare, and we believe that this study will help dog owners, elected and appointed officials, and shelter operators make informed decisions,” said Dean Hoblet.  “We appreciate the shelters that are partnering with us to help us acquire this data and are looking forward to working with them.”

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Friday, May 4, 2018

MSU-CVM Assistant Professor Barbara Kaplan elected Councilor for Society of Toxicology

Dr. Barbara Kaplan, an assistant professor in the Mississippi State University Center for Veterinary Medicine Department of Basic Sciences Center for Environmental Health Sciences, has been elected as 2018-2019 councilor for the Society of Toxicology.

According to its website, the Society of Toxicology is the largest toxicology society in the world with over 7,000 members from more than 60 countries. The goal of the Society is to further toxicological science in order to create “a safer and healthier world.”

Kaplan, whose research focuses on autoimmune disorders and environmental toxins, has been a member of the Society since 1997 and was nominated as councilor last November. As councilor, she will act as a liaison for the Society of Toxicology Council—the organization’s leadership group—and several of its committees, providing them with guidance. 

“I am honored to have been elected,” Kaplan said. “I’m looking forward to helping the Society achieve its goals for our members.”

Kaplan ran for councilor on a platform based on these goals. She said she will use her position to “support the Society’s efforts for recruitment and retention of students to toxicology at the undergraduate level, continue to learn about how best to communicate science and toxicology to the public, and promote the use of mentors at all career stages.”

Dr. Stephen Pruett, professor and head of the Department of Basic Sciences, said Kaplan’s new position will allow to have a positive impact in the advancement of toxicology and gain deserved prestige in her field.

“Getting elected to this leadership role in such a large organization is a great honor,” Pruett said. “It is very rare for someone as early in her career as Dr. Kaplan to be elected to the Council.”

Kaplan will begin acting as councilor on May 1, 2018.