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College of Veterinary Medicine

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NC Economy spotlight

RFD-TV video series on large animal veterinary medicine at the CVM

2009 NC Equine Industry Study of all equine breeds (horses, ponies, mules, donkeys and burros), the three large horsing sectors (showing, racing and recreation) and all associated activities.

North Carolina’s economy

At $68 billion a year and employing close to one of every five North Carolinians, agriculture is the state’s biggest industry. Animal agriculture (swine, poultry, cattle, and dairy) comprises six of North Carolina’s top 12 commodity groups. The NC equine industry, by itself, represents $1.9 billion in revenues and marine aquaculture and recreation is critical to the livelihood of coastal residents and their communities.

Meeting the need for large animal veterinarians

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the number of veterinarians focusing on large animals nationally has dropped from nearly 6,000 in 1990 to fewer than 4,500 today. Meanwhile, the demand for food animal veterinarians is expected to exceed the number of practitioners by 25 to 30% in the next 15 years.

Food animal concentration per food animal veterinarian by NC county

To promote food supply medicine and the need for related practitioners, the CVM initiated the Food Animal Scholars Program. Each year, six qualified undergraduate students with a career interest in food animal veterinary medicine are accepted into the program. Upon successful completion of an undergraduate degree and additional CVM requirements, program participants are admitted into College’s DVM program.

Supporting the NC equine industry

The NC General Assembly recently funded a recent statewide study of North Carolina’s horse industry to assess its economic impact and identify opportunities for growth. The results documented an annual contribution to the state’s economy $1.9 billion. In addition, nearly 20,000 jobs are tied to the industry.

In supporting North Carolina's significant equine resources, the CVM Equine Health Program has developed into one of the most respected in the country. For example, the program has received acclaim for its leadership in equine laser treatment; nuclear scintigraphy, ultrasound and magnetic imaging; gastrointestinal research; surgery and ophthalmology.