Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said students are getting more instruction in the classroom relevant to the potential threat of bio-terrorism to the public safety.
Richardson said today's veterinarian looks beyond the pet owner's dog or horse, or the farmers cow or hog. "We have more of a public practice awareness," he said.
In addition to classroom instruction, Kansas State is developing a system for veterinarians in the field to record symptoms of cattle on a central data base that can provide a two-day warning of a major regional outbreak of a disease like foot and mouth.
Dr. Robert Gates, the president of Texas A&M University, told graduating veterinarians in a recent speech they will be the first responders if the nation every faces a terrorist attack with animals diseases.
"Like firemen and police in a city under attack by bombs or hijacked airplanes, you likely will be the first on the scene," he told the 118 graduates at College Station.