MU College of Veterinary Medicine State of the College

This February, I celebrate my second anniversary as the permanent dean at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.

I am honored to serve the students, faculty and staff of this institution, members of the veterinary profession and the people of Missouri and beyond. I am humbled by the support I have received from friends, family and colleagues and I am grateful for the daily opportunity to meet new people, hear fresh ideas, and learn from the experiences and expertise of others.

I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved in the past two years and prouder still of the dedication and energy demonstrated by the outstanding team we have assembled at the CVM. Together, we are entering a new decade, guided by our vision and value statement, “We are passionate about defining the future of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health”.

President Kennedy once said, "For those to whom much is given, much is required." I look forward to fulfilling that obligation as I lead the MU CVM in its mission to Teach, Heal, Discover, and Serve.

A favorite mantra of mine, especially when setting off on some new adventure, is, “We’ll either have a good time, or we’ll have a good story.” The past two years have provided plenty of both. As I begin my third year as dean, I want to offer a look back at some of those good times and good stories and offer my commitment that the best is yet to come.

MU Veterinary Health Center to Provide After-hours Emergency Care in Kansas City

The University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center (VHC) has purchased the Animal Emergency Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The sale was finalized on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. The clinic reopened April 26.

Vet Technician Program

The CVM entered an agreement with Moberly Area Community College to help ensure that the veterinary profession will continue to have a skilled pool of veterinary technicians.

Helping Business Dreams Take Flight

Libby Martin’s shock was evident when it was announced she won the University of Missouri System’s Entrepreneur Quest Final Pitch Competition. Martin, a first-year veterinary medicine student at MU and CEO and founder of Calving Technologies, created a tracking device for cows that monitors vital signs in order to decrease cow mortality during calving season. Calving Technologies hopes to market their technology to farmers in the self-described “beef bread basket,” a group of Midwestern cattle farms that drive the beef industry in the U.S.

Slowing the Spread of Disease

MU’s Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab screens harvested deer for chronic wasting disease

The Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Missouri is helping to improve the testing of deer in Missouri after continued reports of chronic wasting disease. This illness is found in deer populations and affects the neurologic system, commonly causing chronic weight loss. Chronic wasting disease is fatal in all deer it infects, and left unchecked, has the potential to wipe out Missouri’s white tail deer population. Throughout Missouri, testing for the disease is vital and MU’s lab, housed in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is aiding statewide efforts by providing testing in a timely manner.

CVM Celebrates the Silver Anniversary of Clydesdale Hall

The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine ushered in Alumni Reunion Weekend Sept. 21, 2018, with a Clydesdale Hall 25th anniversary celebration. Clydesdale Hall was completed in early 1993 and dedicated on April 3 of that year. It was built to house the CVM’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where third- and fourth-year veterinary students acquire hands-on clinical experience. The teaching hospital was renamed the Veterinary Health Center in 2015 and comprises the Equine, Food Animal and Small Animal hospitals.

Army Veteran Has New Buddy to Help Battle PTSD

For retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Hopson, Memorial Day 2019 was particularly memorable ─ it was the first one spent with Max, his new service dog. Hopson received Max, a chocolate Labrador, on Friday, May 24, through the University of Missouri Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) Uniting Veterans with Service Dogs program.

New Precision Medicine Procedure Fights Cancer, Advances Treatment for Pets and Humans

The CVM continues to transform healthcare through the development of new therapies to treat cancer and other diseases.

New Bachelor of Science Degree Program in Microbiology

This program provides students with a thorough and challenging curriculum designed to prepare graduates for a multitude of careers, including entry-level positions in research, clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories, graduate studies in microbiology and other scientific fields, and ad-mission to schools of health professions.

Faculty and Staff Strategic Planning Retreat

The CVM faculty and staff participated in a college-wide retreat, or “three-treat,” as it was held on three separate occasions to allow all members of our community to participate. The goal of the effort was to gather everyone’s ideas to move the college forward.

Heartbeat Hero

MU College of Veterinary Medicine helps athletic horse recover from irregular heartbeat

After 16 years, an inseparable bond between a woman and her horse was on the verge of collapse.

Together, Cynthia Russell, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, and her horse, Signature, had competed in dressage, a sport where horses and their riders perform a series of predetermined movements from memory in front of judges.

But those competitions were put on hold in April 2018 when Russell received a call from Alison LaCarrubba, an associate teaching professor at the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Health Center. While LaCarrubba was conducting a dental check up on Signature in Kansas City with the MU Equine Ambulatory Service, she noticed something wasn’t right. Signature had atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that creates a quivering or irregular heartbeat.

NextGen Precision Health

University of Missouri celebrates official launch of new health research center

University of Missouri System leaders and state and national officials broke ground Friday on the NextGen Precision Health Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a central facility supporting a systemwide precision health initiative. The event also served as an official launch for the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, which harnesses and supports the research activities of the system’s four universities and health system.

University of Missouri Announces Department of Public Health

The University of Missouri announced the creation of a new academic department shared by the School of Health Professions and the College of Veterinary Medicine. The new Department of Public Health will be the home of the interdisciplinary Master of Public Health Program and create the academic infrastructure required to advance public health education and research at the university.

Shelter Medicine Program Finds a New Home

The Shelter Medicine Program in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine moved from Middlebush Farm to a renovated facility next door to the Central Missouri Humane Society in August 2019.

The Shelter Medicine Program provides care to shelter animals in need and excellent learning opportunities for veterinary students. Through the program, faculty and students provide preventative medicine services and to mid-Missouri animal shelter, those working in the program perform more than 100 surgeries each month.


Fall equals food plus football. The college’s tailgates allowed faculty, staff, students, friends and family to become acquainted outside of working hours.

MU College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2019 Encouraged to Seek True Purpose

The veterinary profession grew by 109 new members on May 17 as the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine graduated the Class of 2019. The CVM commencement was held in Jesse Hall on the MU campus.


We improved our facilities to modernize them and make them more welcoming to our CVM family, alumni, friends and clients. In the Veterinary Medicine Building, we renovated the lobby, Zalk Veterinary Medical Library, Auditorium and Adams Conference Center. Other upgrades are in progress. The Veterinary Health Center Small Animal and Emergency and Critical Care and Neurology and Neurosurgery suites were remodeled to improve safety, efficiency and patient comfort.

A Triumph Birthed by Tragedy

Nonprofit formed by CVM residents partners with other animal welfare organizations to offer free spay and neuter clinics to help Puerto Rico’s recovery after Hurricane Maria.

MU CVM Researchers Develop Gene Therapy Vector in Quest to Conquer Childhood Disease

Monir Shababi, an assistant research professor in veterinary pathobiology, and Christian Lorson, College of Veterinary Medicine professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies, have invested countless hours during the past five years to solving a cruel medical mystery. A family who has endured the agonizing ordeal of having two children born with the same disease has invested funding for the research being conducted at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center.

Big Cat Spay Offers Unique Learning Experience

Clinicians at the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center routinely perform spay and neuter procedures on dogs and cats, but when the patient is a full-grown Bengal tiger, the work day is anything but ordinary. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Zahara, a 7-year-old tiger from a Missouri animal park, was brought to the VHC to be spayed.

Upon Zahara’s arrival at the VHC, Assistant Professor Alex Bukoski, DVM, PhD, DACVAA, and anesthesia resident Kelsey Fisher, DVM, anesthetized the big cat and placed a breathing tube to administer oxygen and anesthetic during the surgery. Assistant Teaching Professor of Small Animal Surgery Jill Luther, DVM, MS, DACVS, performed the spay, assisted by third-year surgical resident Brenna Barger, DVM, and a team of students, interns and technicians.