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University of Missouri

Funds Benefit Large Animals

New state funding improves large‐animal program.

cow squeezer

A young bull is held in a squeeze chute as John Middleton, professor of food animal medicine, demonstrates to third‐year veterinary student Dane Foxwell how to trim the bull’s hooves. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Deep inside the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is what looks like a rail yard — a room filled with curving‐metal alleys and switching stations. But the commodity being herded is not boxcars of coal or corn but cattle and other large animals.

With a $1 million annual appropriation from the state beginning in fiscal 2014, the College of Veterinary Medicine has purchased a new “squeeze chute,” which sits at the terminus of the metal‐alley maze. Costing $25,000, the chute hugs an animal tightly and tips it on its side so veterinarians can more easily access the animal’s underside.

It’s a core piece of equipment in a hospital that treats 1,500 food animals a year. “There are days this is all I do all day,” says John Middleton, professor of food animal medicine, nodding at the contraption.

Common uses for the chute include examinations for lameness, routine foot trimming and reproductive‐tract surgery.

The new, quieter chute is just one of several improvements the College of Veterinary Medicine has made or is considering making to its large‐animal program. Other items include upgrading the teaching space at Middlebush Farm and replacing aging field service vehicles — a pickup or SUV that serves as a mobile clinic on house calls to far‐flung farms. Also considered is a building to house the vehicles, which could also include additional teaching space, office space and a biosecure area to decontaminate vehicles, boots and other equipment.

The funding will also support personnel, including two veterinary residents (and shared funding for a third) and one new faculty member to be shared with MU Extension’s swine program.

Dean Neil Olson also wants to put money toward student travel grants to obtain advanced or unique large‐animal training in locations inside or outside of Missouri.