Obtaining preventative veterinary care in underserved areas

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2017: $67,092.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2019
Grant Recipient: West Virginia University
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
William Shockey
West Virginia University


  • Animal Products: fiber, fur, leather, meat


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, preventive practices
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    Problem and justification

    Preston County is located in the higher elevations of North Central WV and ranks fourth in cattle (20.000) and fourth in sheep (2,500) inventory out of the 55 WV counties. Yet, there is no practicing veterinary clinic located in Preston County that provides large-animal livestock services. Approximately 500 counties in the US have no veterinarian based in that county despite the fact that these counties also have over 5,000 head of livestock residing in each county and 1,300 counties have less than 1 farm veterinarian per 25,000 animals. A well- organized educational campaign designed to appeal to the needs of part-time livestock producers will be used to: 1) educate producers about the economic benefits of having an established relationship with a veterinarian, 2) demonstrate the coordination of a veterinarian farm visit pools, and integrate electronic communication technology in the veterinarian-client relationships.

    Solution and approach

    The beneficiary audience consists of livestock producers and veterinarians. Livestock producers are primarily beef producers with fewer than 50 brood cows and who spend significant time earning off-farm income. A media campaign lead by WVU Extension Service will generate interest on the veterinary care crisis and stimulate attendance of livestock producers at demonstration programs, town hall educational meetings, and on farm veterinarian visits.  Livestock producers will apply the knowledge to organize veterinarian service pools consisting of 100 to 200 animal units located on 6 or fewer farms. Service pools will guarantee the veterinarian a sufficient number of animal checks to make financially feasible to drive 1 to 2 hours one-way. By pooling personnel resources, a single producer can guide the veterinarian to each farm, herd and corral livestock at each location, operate animal restraint facilities, and collect notes and invoices at each stop. Sustainment of the veterinarian-client relationship will be facilitated by use of electronic communication technologies. Continual long-term assistance will be provided through financial planning programs and time management tools provided for adults by cooperative extension, vocational education centers, and community colleges.


    Performance targets from proposal:

    One hundred (100) livestock producers, averaging 30 animal units each, will schedule preventative veterinary services for brood stock. Twenty (20) pools consisting of 5 producers each will schedule 2 preventative veterinary care visits: 1) to administer vaccinations and 2) to pregnancy check brood cows.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.