Purdue Veterinary Medicine Showcases College and Profession at Indiana State Fair

Friday, September 2, 2022

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Fairgoers watch a veterinary dentistry procedure in the sterile surgery suite located in the PVM tent on the north side of the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday, August 13. The suite also was used for daily neuter surgeries on pets awaiting adoption.

For the first time since the pandemic, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine resumed its tradition of providing opportunities for fairgoers young and old to learn about veterinary medicine through activities and demonstrations at the Indiana State Fair.  A large tent on the north side of the fairgrounds, near the Farm Bureau and FFA buildings, served as the venue for clinical demonstrations, including neuter surgeries conducted in a sterile surgery suite, as well as the ever-popular Indiana State Fair Vet Camp.

The surgery and other clinical demonstrations represent a longstanding fair tradition that consistently draws crowds to watch the narrated procedures conducted through a collaboration between the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association.  Purdue University Veterinary Hospital staff and clinicians support the effort as well as IVMA members who provide narration and perform some of the procedures.  In addition to the neuter surgeries performed on shelter animals awaiting adoption, demonstrations of dental procedures also proved popular among fairgoers.

Purdue veterinary student ambassador Adrian Dixon of the DVM Class of 2026 with some of the State Fair Vet Campers who participated in a session he helped lead.

The Indiana State Fair Vet Camp hosted by the college also is a perennial hit, providing multiple one-day versions of the summer on-campus Boiler Vet Camps. The State Fair Vet Camp gives middle and high school students opportunities to watch a neuter surgery demonstration, hear from Purdue veterinary students, and engage in hands-on learning activities, including sessions on suturing, cardiology, bandaging and diagnostic imaging. 

(Left to right) Alaunie Smiley of the DVM Class of 2024, Devon Anderson of the DVM Class of 2025, and Adrian Dixon, of the DVM Class of 2026, were among six Purdue veterinary student ambassadors who helped with the veterinary medical demonstrations and the Indiana State Fair Vet Camp.

The college is well-represented by veterinary student ambassadors who lead the State Fair Vet Camp sessions, greet visitors to the PVM tent and answer lots of questions.  In addition, the college partnered with the State Fair once again to provide veterinary care for the fair’s exhibition animals, coordinating all the veterinary services for the exhibition animals on the fairgrounds, including most of the 4-H animals. The veterinary team provided 24/7 on-call care throughout the fair, which proved a mutually beneficial partnership allowing students to put their training into practice. The experience also provided an opportunity for faculty and students to engage with the community and inspire future veterinarians.

Participants in the Indiana State Fair Vet Camp learn about bandaging.

Another dimension to the college’s presence at the State Fair involved a partnership with Indiana 4-H Youth Development to provide veterinary expertise for the 4-H Dog Show. The Small Animal Primary Care Service of the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital facilitated the involvement of fourth-year veterinary students who performed examinations on 4-H pet dogs before they were shown, examining the animals for contagious diseases like ear infections and upper respiratory infections.

Dr. Matt Lemmons (PU DVM 2003), a board certified veterinary dentist in Indianapolis, conducts a veterinary dentistry demonstration accompanied by Linley Brewer, BS, RVT, comparative oncology veterinary technician with the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital.

“Our participation in the Indiana State Fair provides a great opportunity for our students, faculty, and staff to engage with the State Fair attendees,” said Dr. Jim Weisman, assistant dean for clinical education and clinical associate professor. “This opportunity allows everyone to share the great aspects of our profession and all of the outstanding activities of our College. We appreciate the participation of everyone who played a role in the college’s presence at the 2022 Indiana State Fair.”

This 165th Indiana State Fair attracted more than 837,500 people during its 18 day run.  The fair was open daily, except Mondays and Tuesdays, from July 29 – August 21.  If you missed it, make a note of next year’s dates.  The 2023 Indiana State Fair will be held July 28 – August 20, with the same Wednesday through Sunday schedule.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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