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Shortage Region WY245

Shortage Location - Must Serve
Fremont County, Wyoming
Shortage Location - May Serve
Location Center
1160 Major Ave., Riverton, WY 82501
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
Beef Cattle
Other Must Serve
Other May Serve
Position Title
Other disciplinary area
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
Fremont County is centrally located in Wyoming, surrounded by the Wind River Mountain Range, the Owl Creek Range, and the Green Mountains. Attracting and retaining large animal veterinarians in this region is critical to local livestock producer's economic livelihood, as well as the state livestock industry. Fremont County includes approximately 1,100 ranches raising 89K cattle, nearly 17K sheep/lambs, and 7K horses. Fremont County has insufficient practicing food animal veterinarians in the county. There are only a handful of large animal veterinarians; some veterinarians from outside the area travel to service Fremont County ranches. Adverse weather conditions experienced in the busiest seasons for food animal veterinary medicine can limit the availability of the few veterinarians to provide the services requested by producers. Education and services provided by a veterinarian will improve herd health, reproductive efficiency, and nutritional management - all contributing to producer profitability and overall economic growth in an area heavily reliant on animal agriculture. The availability of a large animal practitioner to properly educate producers concerning biosecurity, disease control, herd health programs, animal welfare, and veterinary products will minimize possible devastating adverse events for local operations and Wyoming's livestock industry. Additionally, an accredited large animal practitioner in this area will be an intermediary for regulatory officials and producers - communicating and endorsing state and federal animal health regulations, disease programs, animal welfare, and interstate livestock movement. An accredited veterinarian in this area is vital to the livestock producers in Fremont County.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
Fremont County has great opportunities for outstanding veterinary entrepreneurship. Potential exists for herd health consultation, production management, embryo transfer, and artificial insemination. Species include beef cattle, small ruminants, and equine operations. Operations vary tremendously in size, ranging from 2000-head cattle herds and sheep flocks to backyard livestock enterprises. Spring is busy with obstetrical work, although over time calving season has lengthened, going from mid-January to mid-June. Food animal surgeries include c-sections, urethrotomies/-ostomies, enucleations, claw removal, castration, dehorning, abscess treatment, trauma treatment, and lumpectomies. A strong desire exists within the communities for veterinary mentorship regarding livestock management, outreach, and production. Additional mentorship opportunities in or near Fremont County include eight Central Wyoming College Agriculture and Equine programs, such as Animal Science and Ranch Management; Western Wyoming Community College's pre-medical science program; livestock events, 4-H, and FFA. Interaction with state and federal veterinarians occurs regularly due to the neighboring Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA). Tremendous potential also exists for collaboration with federal and state wildlife officials regarding the livestock - wildlife interface on the large percentage of federal land across the county. Producer outreach in conjunction with extension also occurs on a regular basis. Finally, the veterinarian will maintain their federal accreditation, allowing them to perform surveillance and diagnostic testing for state and federal programs and endorse livestock for interstate shipment.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Multiple veterinary clinics offer job opportunities in Fremont County; however, recruiting veterinarians into central Wyoming is difficult due to increased debt and a small pool of interested candidates. Wyoming does not currently have a state-funded student loan repayment program. Competing with states with a loan repayment program is challenging, thus Wyoming's need for VMLRP. Because of our low population, the number of "home-grown" candidates tends to be small. Local veterinary clinics offer competitive salaries and other benefits to compete in the mixed practice market. The loan repayment incentive is a substantive motivation Wyoming can utilize to attract veterinarians to the state.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
Wyoming must address this veterinary shortage to ensure a safe food supply, specifically for beef cattle transiting Wyoming's Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) or coming out of Fremont County. Fremont County borders the DSA and several local producers graze animals inside the DSA. Due to the elevated risk of brucellosis within Wyoming's cattle herd, over 83,000 cattle are tested annually. Without the required testing, surrounding states may be unwilling to accept Wyoming origin cattle. In-person veterinary care is needed to mitigate increased risk to public health threats such as emerging diseases and drug residue exposure. Wyoming's #3 business is agriculture, and Fremont County is representative of Wyoming's ranch culture. Producers need continual veterinary care, advice on preventive medicine, and production management recommendations for their animals. We continue to lose more food animal veterinarians annually than we are able to hire. Without access to veterinarians, our producers are unable to test their cattle in a timely manner, resulting in economic loss. Food animal veterinarians are needed for continually increasing regulations regarding veterinary feed directives and antibiotic usage, along with the continued demand for organic, grass-fed beef and niche marketing, difficult with the harsh winters we receive. Increasing interaction between livestock and wildlife due to changing land use continues to present challenges for Wyoming producers. Food animal veterinarians are ideally poised to offer education and outreach, along with specifically designed herd health plans, to keep our producers economically viable. Food animal veterinary medical professionals are an integral component of livestock industries. Without them, producers, local communities, and the people of Wyoming suffer economically and are subject to increased risk of disease incidents.
Community Aspects
Anyone looking for an adventurous western place to live, work, and play will find a great match in Fremont County. The Wind River Mountain Range and the Wind River run through the area, offering hiking, biking, horseback riding, and world-class blue ribbon river fly fishing. The Sinks Canyon of the Popo Agie offers a fascinating look at the river flowing through nearby caves; touring the Carissa Gold Mine offers a historic tour of South Pass City. Additionally, Fremont County is home to a number of reservoirs with excellent fishing and boating. The county seat of Lander is one of the best outdoor towns in America. Lander is internationally known for its summertime rock-climbing opportunities and wintertime Nordic skiing at the Beaver Creek Nordic Ski Area. Fremont County towns are welcoming and supportive communities that share and contribute to the way of life unique to this area. Wildlife in the area include elk, moose, black bear, antelope, and big horn sheep. Other nearby visitor attractions include natural hot springs in Thermopolis and fine dining at Cowfish and The Middle Fork. Dubois, Wyoming is a gateway to majestic Yellowstone National Park and the Absaroka Mountain Range. Exploring further into Wyoming offers access to towering Grand Teton National Park, blue ribbon wild trout rivers, national-best elk and antelope hunting, and premier dining and western experience events from Jackson Hole to Cody to Sheridan.

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