Donor Madeleine Pickens refuses to fund OSU vet work

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: February 24, 2009 at 10:35 am •  Published: February 24, 2009
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Th
e program has stagnated because it would require three extra staff positions. Students would require closer supervision because shelter dogs would not be eventually euthanized like the purchased dogs are.

OSU pays $139 per dog, Shutt said. Shelter dogs would be free.

Animals used at the 28 veterinary colleges nationwide come from a variety of sources, said Mike Chaddock, deputy director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. The most common sources for live animals are breeders, shelters and pet owners.

Professors must balance education with animal welfare, Chaddock said. Many teachers will use diagrams, cadavers or models if possible, but sometimes working with a living animal is the only way to train students.

"I would equate it to human procedures,” he said. "There are some procedures we’d hope our doctor learned to do on a real patient.”

All veterinarians — whether they’re working with animals or students — work within the veterinarian oath, Chaddock said. One of the pillars is to relieve animal suffering.

"We want to make sure that everybody treats these animals in a humane and proper way,” he said. "We believe our schools do.”

Working with live animals gives students invaluable training, said veterinarian and OSU graduate Rory Stricklin of Wewoka.

"It’s just one step forward to becoming a better practitioner,” Stricklin said. "They show you what needs to be done and keep you from making the same mistakes they did.”


ALSO ...
Animals at Oklahoma vet techs
The three veterinary technology programs in Oklahoma all use live animals in their training.

Murray State College in Tishomingo
The college has a partnership with the Ardmore animal shelter, said Carey Floyd, director of the veterinary technology program. The students examine the animals and perform lab work. They also assist Floyd with spaying and neutering the animals by administering anesthesia and completing other tasks. If the animal needs to be euthanized, the students will assist Floyd with the procedure. The students practice on models before working with the animals, she said.

Oklahoma State University- Oklahoma City
Students perform exams on their own dogs, spokeswoman Evelyn Bollenbach said. The students are allowed to bring their own animals in the classroom for practice work. The students also work shifts helping with surgical prep and recovery at the Oklahoma City animal shelter.

Tulsa Community College
Students spend an entire semester with the shelter animals they work with, said Jan Weaver, coordinator of the school’s vet tech program. The program adopts animals from the Sand Springs animal shelter, and students spend the semester practicing such techniques as deworming and health exams. At the end of the semester, students find responsible adopters to keep the animals.

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Madeleine Pickens, wife of OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens wants a $5 million donation redirected from the veterinary school because of how animals are used there.

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Read OSU’s response to Pickens’ donation flap.

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