A lot of our Wisconsin farms have veterinarians visiting their farm regularly with some even every day. But are there enough large-animal vets staying in Wisconsin to be able to handle that demand? Alycia Kowalski, DVM and clinical instructor in large animal medicine at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, says half of their graduates stay in Wisconsin.
“Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s roughly two thousand veterinarians in Wisconsin,” explains Kowalski. “Just looking at those numbers, it definitely gives the feeling that they’re certainly more animals than veterinarians.”
While it may seem that veterinarians are making a lot of money, it all depends on their location, size of the practice, what level of practice they’re at, as well as having to account for any mileage or other expenses you have to be able to make the farm visits.
The UW-Madison Vet School works with other universities in Wisconsin to recruit students. They also do additional outreach events at high schools to foster interest and help make students aware of the career opportunities in the agricultural veterinary industry.
“Last year, all of the graduates except one, stayed in Wisconsin to practice veterinary medicine,” explains Kowalski. “The one that didn’t is working in Illinois, so still at least in the tri-state area.”
She adds that supply chain and inflation have affected their ability to get some of the pharmaceuticals needed, however it’s not enough of a hindrance to where they can’t do their jobs. They have some items back-ordered and are working hard to be more cognizant of using those items in situations where other medications may be just as good. Kowalski says while it may seem like a glamorous job, it can be very physically and emotionally demanding.