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Shortage Region NV232

Shortage Location
Pershing County, Northern Washoe
Location Center
Lovelock, NV (Pershing); Gerlach, NV (Northern Washoe)
VSGP Status
VMLRP Status
(Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program)
Priority of shortage
Fiscal year
Percent FTE
(Full Time Equivalent, based on a 40hr work week.)
Type of Shortage
(Veterinary Practice Area / Discipline / Specialty)
Type II Shortage: Private Practice – Rural Area Food Animal Medicine
Must serve
Small Ruminant
Beef Cattle
May serve
Dairy Cattle
Other May Serve
Carry Over
Yes, Yr2
Nominator Name
Julian J. (JJ) Goicoechea, DVM
Nominator Title
State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Nevada Department of Agriculture
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian

This position would fill a shortage in Northern Nevada, with limited resident veterinarians. More than 150 farms and 300,000 acres of farm land inhabit the 6067 square miles of Pershing County with almost half being dedicated to livestock. This livestock is primarily cow/calf, but also includes poultry/eggs, swine, and small ruminants. Pershing County lies east of Washoe County. The Northern portion of Washoe County (that borders Pershing and Humboldt Counties) including the most northwestern portions of Nevada as well as the area of Gerlach (which lies just west of the Pershing County border) is also in need of resident, agriculture/large animal veterinarians. The focus of this position would be producers of Washoe County which are also primarily cow/calf, although the poultry production has become a recent area of concern, due to the number of producers contacting NDA for health concerns, and the proximity to California, a state that recently experienced a VND outbreak. These areas have relied on a number of California, Oregon, and Idaho veterinarians, that have been obtaining NV licenses to aid in serving these communities, but that cannot be relied upon for long term management. Having a larger number of resident veterinarians providing agriculture veterinary services will also reduce the number of out of state veterinarians that have historically provided care without Nevada licensure.

Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services

This veterinarian will routinely visit Native American tribes, providing services related to zoonotic diseases(s), such as rabies vaccinations. Basic herd health for small ruminants, swine, and beef cattle will also be routine for this position. Northern Washoe County and Pershing County also have public grazing allotments that provide seasonal grazing for commuter herds from Oregon and California. Maintaining appropriate herd management, including disease testing and health inspections, will aid in greater compliance with entry requirements, not only for Nevada, but also the states with which we share commuter herd agreements. This veterinarian will provide diagnostic services through in-house testing, post-mortem investigations, and provide regulatory medical services to this underserved area of Nevada.

Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian

Although there are numerous veterinary hospitals in Southern Washoe County, and at least one mobile practitioner that serve areas of Pershing County, services to the areas of Lovelock and especially Gerlach have been limited. Many mobile practitioners do not include these areas in their service radius/areas. For several producers, we have had to rely on out of state veterinarians that have current Nevada licenses, and are willing to travel to these areas, but that cannot be relied upon permanently, especially with the increased workload of veterinary practitioners in the previous 18 months.

Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian

Due to the rural nature of these areas, as well as the lack of resident large animal/agricultural medicine veterinarians, the risk of disease exposure, transmission, and detection are of great concern. These areas also maintain large wildlife populations of elk, deer, and sheep that also pose a risk of disease transmission. The location of these areas being adjacent to California, Oregon, and Idaho with easy access to large highways further facilitates the speed at which an outbreak could spread. With an increase in population in central Nevada, there is also an increase in backyard flocks of birds associated with these residents. Major migratory flyways of wildlife cross eastern Nevada. The risk of an undetected outbreak of Avian Influenza or virulent Newcastle Disease is high without regular veterinary care and flock management. Major highways and travel volume allow easy access to larger population centers, increasing the risks of rapid disease spread if avian disease outbreaks were to occur. Nevada's federally owned lands provide grazing for nearly half a million cattle and large numbers of sheep. These animals are important to both the cattle and sheep industries in the United States. Having healthy herds is extremely important and required in order to allow for the multiple use mandate on federal lands where interactions with wildlife are possible.

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