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Shortage Region WY244

Shortage Location - Must Serve
Wyoming, Albany County
Shortage Location - May Serve
Other states, especially those contiguous to Wyoming
Location Center
Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, University of Wyoming, 1174 Snowy Range Rd Laramie, WY
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 III Shortage: Public Practice
Other Must Serve
Other May Serve

Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, University of Wyoming

Position Title
Assistant Clinical Professor of Veterinary Anatomic Pathology
Other disciplinary area

Veterinary pathology

Carry Over
Nominator Name
Hallie Hasel, DVM
Nominator Title
Wyoming State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Wyoming Livestock Board
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory operates under the umbrella of the University of Wyoming. The laboratory is fully accredited and committed to maintaining a quality assurance program, as well as a tier II member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). It provides disease surveillance, communication of diagnostic outcomes to decision-makers, and diagnostics during animal disease outbreaks. The state of Wyoming continues to invest in its university, helping to make it a leader in academics, research, and outreach. The university has state-of-the-art facilities in many areas, and provides the advantages of a major university. UW enrolls approximately 14,000 students, including 3,000 graduate students. Veterinary anatomic pathology is a key discipline within the broad field of veterinary diagnostic medicine. Anatomic pathology provides antemortem diagnostic data for the diagnosis, management, and ultimately treatment of disease at the individual patient level, as well as postmortem determination of cause of death. In terms of food animal production, rapid and accurate diagnosis is often the key to reducing losses to a producer and potentially decreasing the spread of disease or exposure to other premises, herds, or flocks. Profitable biopsy-centric diagnostic veterinary pathology has enabled significant work-from-home digital pathology positions, as necropsies are rarely needed. State-supported diagnostic laboratories, such as the WSVL, have the mission of supporting state animal agriculture. Investigation of livestock disease can be complex and usually involves a necropsy performed for disease diagnosis/surveillance purposes, as well as close communication with other veterinary diagnostic specialists. The need of the WSVL is to recruit and retain highly trained veterinary pathologists who work on-site and are available to complete pathology services to support the Wyoming livestock industry.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory pathologists are responsible for completing animal necropsies, requesting testing based on preliminary findings (e.g., bacteriology, virology, toxicology), and writing and communicating preliminary reports to clients. They complete microscopic evaluation of tissues and then write complete reports that integrate all the test results to indicate the significance of the findings and, where possible, provide a final diagnosis of the cause of the disease. As part of these functions, WSVL pathologists also complete cattle necropsies that are suspect carriers of brucellosis based on serology testing. Due to the large geographical area served by the WSVL, pathologists have a vital role in communicating with veterinary clinicians around the state to consult on disease outbreaks and provide input on necropsy/appropriate sampling when field necropsy is undertaken. Departmental faculty expertise is centered on infectious diseases of livestock and wildlife. The WSVL is a well-equipped and AAVLD-accredited diagnostic laboratory with BSL2 and BSL3 necropsy suites and in-house next-generation sequencing technology.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory has an ongoing effort to recruit and retain veterinary pathologists. There are currently two open positions. Efforts to attract pathologists include a search agency to help obtain qualified applicants. Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory further intends to retain our current pathologists. Part of the retention effort is helping with loan repayment. Because Wyoming does not have a state-funded student loan repayment program, VMLRP is a substantive motivation Wyoming can utilize to attract veterinarians to the state. While this program does not guarantee long-term retention, it is a significant step to help with retention. It allows new hires to settle into the community and grow into their positions.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
The lack of pathologist capacity at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory puts more workload on the remaining pathologists. This lack of capacity impacts retention. It also requires WSVL to bring in locum pathologists, who, while highly trained, are costly and can only sometimes be here at times of greatest need. Failure to retain this position reduces our pathology service robustness and puts more workload on the other pathologists. This lack of capacity makes it challenging to complete our mission relating to the diagnosis of livestock disease. This position provides an opportunity to interact with Wyoming Game and Fish, USDA APHIS Veterinary Services, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, US Fish and Wildlife, National Park Service, and the US Forest Service to help control, eradicate, and prevent brucellosis in both wildlife and livestock. An understaffed laboratory results in delayed reporting, delayed transport for livestock, and decreased income for our producers. WSVL pathologists are also vital for diagnosing zoonotic diseases of livestock, wildlife, and companion animals. Examples of zoonotic infectious identified at the WSVL in the last year include plague and tularemia (domestic cats), West Nile Encephalitis (horses), and brucellosis (cattle). While toxic diseases are less common than infectious diseases, WSVL pathologists are often involved in making these diagnoses based on pathology findings that support specific testing. Examples include lead poisoning in cattle and wildlife, toxic plant poisoning in ruminants, and forage-related feed problems in cattle (e.g., nitrate poisoning). The loss of pathologist capacity makes it challenging to complete these activities. VMLRP is essential to Wyoming's ability to attract and retain highly qualified individuals for this position to achieve USDA NIFA's goal to ensure a safe food supply supported by high consumer confidence.
Community Aspects
The University of Wyoming is located in Laramie, a town of 30,000 in the heart of the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to opportunities for academic excellence, Laramie provides outstanding outdoor recreational activities. Beautiful Curt Gowdy State Park is a 25-minute drive, offering 35 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Other nearby opportunities include world-class rock climbing at the Vedauwoo Recreation Area and wintertime groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails at Laramie Summit. The beautiful mountain landscape offers outdoor enjoyment in all seasons, with over 300 days of sunshine annually. There are many opportunities for activities such as hiking, skiing, hunting, and camping. Laramie is near Colorado's metropolitan Front Range, a bustling group of cities including Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Laramie is a very safe community with good schools, making it attractive for families. The nearest large airport is in Denver, a 2-hour drive from Laramie. The University of Wyoming provides Laramie with a College town atmosphere. There are many restaurants and opportunities for attending events centered on the performing arts. People moving to Wyoming find it a friendly place where it is easy to get to know others.

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