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Shortage Region CA247

State/Territory
California
Shortage Location - Must Serve
Siskiyou County, CA
Shortage Location - May Serve
Location Center
Yreka, CA
VSGP Status
Open
VMLRP Status
(Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program)
Open
Priority of shortage
High
Fiscal year
Percent FTE
(Full Time Equivalent, based on a 40hr work week.)
80
Type of Shortage
(Veterinary Practice Area / Discipline / Specialty)
Type I Shortage: Private Practice Food Animal Medicine
Must serve
Beef Cattle
Small Ruminant
Other Must Serve
May serve
Swine
Other May Serve
Honeybees
Employer
Position Title
Other disciplinary area
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Dr. Annette Jones
Nominator Title
Division Director
Nominator Org
California Dept of Food and Agriculture
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
916-900-5000
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
Addressing the large animal veterinary shortage in Siskiyou County is essential to maintaining a safe and secure food supply in California. The successful veterinarian's objective would be to serve the area's beef cattle and sheep industries. There are approximately 25,500 head of cattle and 8,710 head of sheep in this area contributing to the annual $47 million animal agriculture industry in the county. An accredited veterinarian practicing in this area is a key component to the early detection system protecting the California livestock industry from emerging diseases and foreign animal diseases (FAD). Interstate 5, a major highway serving California, Oregon, and Washington, passes through Siskiyou County. Whether introduced intentionally or not, it is highly possible to seed an undetected disease in these high plains and mountainous areas. Because of the remoteness of the cattle population and the interaction with wildlife, including the native deer population, a delayed detection of a FAD and the opportunity to become entrenched in the region could be financially devastating to the State. Additionally, the practitioner will play a vital role in antimicrobial stewardship by working with producers to develop preventive herd health, biosecurity, and treatment protocols and by educating producers on disease mitigation and judicious antibiotic use. In light of legislation removing the over-the-counter access to antibiotics, such as California's SB-27 and FDA's Guidance for Industry #263, this presents an increasing need in within the veterinary services sector as more veterinary oversight is now required to utilize these valuable therapeutic tools.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
The veterinarian would perform the typical duties of a food animal practitioner including but not limited to: pregnancy diagnosis, dystocia or obstetrical difficulties, FAD surveillance, semen evaluation, trichomoniasis testing and diagnosis, and overall herd health practices (vaccination, castration, and testing requirements for State and federal regulations). The veterinarian should also make routine herd visits to monitor implementation of preventive health and therapeutic protocols, as well as usage of antibiotics and other prescription medications. In addition to beef cattle and sheep, the successful candidate may serve swine, bees, and provide veterinary services and outreach to small hobby farms or youth agriculture groups. These operations often require more time and nuanced care, with educational farm visits that rely on veterinarians teaching safe and sustainable animal agriculture practices to maintain good health and welfare standards. The veterinarian may also assist with emergency veterinary needs during wildfire responses or other natural disasters, work at sale barns, teach quality assurance programs, establish Secure Food Supply plans, or work for local county fairs, petting zoos, or rodeos in the area.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Currently, in recognition of their county's need and not because it is a significant part of their practice, three companion animal veterinarians are attempting to provide the bulk of the large animal services. Due to the lack of specialized food animal care, producers have to deal with veterinary problems themselves. When this is not always possible, they must ask for assistance from veterinarians 100 or more miles away in Redding. Veterinarians occasionally cross the border from Southern Oregon as well, but that is not sustainable for emergencies and other urgent care. A 2021 VSGP grant was funded in this area; however, there is still a need for continued expansion of veterinary services through a VMRLP award.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
Maintaining adequate animal health vigilance in this county is extremely important to the entire State of California. There is a true need for continued food animal veterinary services here because there are currently not enough large or mixed animal veterinarians to serve the needs of over 400 farms spread across the county's 6,347 square miles. Additionally, because of changes made through state and federal antimicrobial laws and regulations, producers of all sizes require now veterinary oversight in the form of a VCPR in order to access therapies that were previously available over-the-counter. The 4-H and FFA groups are especially vulnerable to this requirement; although they are short-term producers, they often require involvement from a vet regarding preventive health, food safety, antimicrobial stewardship, and biosecurity. Without appropriate veterinary medical support, animal health and welfare are at risk and disease threats are imminent.
Community Aspects
Located along the northern edge of California, Siskiyou County is home to plentiful forests, lakes, and mountains, including the iconic Mount Shasta. The successful candidate has the opportunity for limitless hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, golfing, water sports, or skiing. Enjoy the vistas on a hike to view McCloud Falls, world class fly fishing, or take a deep dive to explore over 800 caves at Lava Beds National Monument. Experienced rock climbers can attempt the Castle Dome trail, over 5 miles of rugged granite terrain in Castle Crags State Park. Afterwards, enjoy a beverage at one of many local breweries. This location is ideal for a candidate who loves outdoor activities and a small community feel.

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