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Veterinary Medicine

VTH open house was bigger and better than ever

April 8, 2014
by Rachel Griess

Last weekend, the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital held its most successful open house, as veterinary students and clinicians welcomed thousands of community members for tours, lectures, demonstrations and animal meet-and-greets.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital 35th Annual Open House

(10 images)

A visitor listens to a kitty's heartbeat.

This patient shows patience with open house visitors.

Youngsters conduct mock surgery on plush-animal patients.

Veterinary students take a break from hosting open house by having a photo taken with CAM the Ram.

Open house visitors view both familiar and unfamiliar animals.

A horse patient provides an up-close look at equine medicine.

An orthopedic exhibit shows visitors the intricacies of a horse hoof and lower leg.

Radiographs give visitors a view of animal insides.

Demonstrations feature dogs used for police work and search-and-rescue missions.

The Fort Collins band Post Paradise provides entertainment at the VTH open house.


The 35th annual open house offered more than 2,000 visitors an up-close look at one of the world’s best university vet hospitals. The estimate is based on tour and lecture attendance.

“I think this event is great for everyone,” said Jamie Balducci, a second-year veterinary student who helped organize the open house. “There’s fun activities for children, information on veterinary school and how to get in, and the event showcases the work we do for our community.”

CSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital annually logs about 40,000 patient visits and treats all species – from dairy cattle to iguanas. The hospital is home base for the No. 3 vet school in the nation and is known for leading-edge, compassionate animal care.

Something for everyone

The 35th annual VTH open house drew a record crowd.People who visited during the open house saw demonstrations with police dogs, used a stethoscope to listen to a horse’s heartbeat, fed carrot chips to alpacas, tried their hands at milking dairy goats, learned about state-of-the-art canine cancer care, toured surgery suites, and got tips to prevent pet poisoning at home.

“My favorite part was getting to pet the horses. I even got to listen to its heart,” 9-year-old Madison Reichert said. “When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian and come to CSU for school.”

Preschoolers – their faces adorned with painted snakes and butterflies – conducted mock surgeries on plush animal toys. And veterinary student groups manned more than 40 tables with information about specialties, ranging from emergency care to small-ruminant medicine.

"It was great having community members come and see what we're up to at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital,” said Dr. Tim Hackett, hospital director. “We were thrilled at the large turn out."

Building a relationship community-wide

Yes, even reptiles get medical care at the CSU hospital.For the first time this year, the open house featured live music, food vendors, and visits by both CAM the Ram and the CSU Marching Band.

These additions added to the attraction, said Laura Klaasen, another student organizer.

“The event gives us the chance to open the hospital doors and show the public how CSU veterinarians and students are involved in the community,” she said. “We want to get the community excited about what we are doing.”

Blake Barbee, who is training at Pikes Peak Community College to be a veterinary technician, said a demonstration with search-and-rescue dogs was the most memorable part of the day.

“It’s incredibly interesting to learn first-hand how animals can help humans,” said Barbee, adding, “The VTH is amazing. It’s a top-of-the-line facility with one of the best staffs in the country.”

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