The Anniversary of LSMU Veterinary Academy: Progress, Experience, Quality, Importance
This year is rich in anniversaries for the Veterinary Academy (VA) at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU). The Academy and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (VF) celebrate the 85th anniversary, the Faculty of Animal Science – the 75th anniversary, the Veterinary Museum, which preserves the history of Lithuanian veterinary medicine, celebrates its 40th anniversary, and Dr. Leonas Kriaučeliūnas Small Animal Clinic celebrates its 25th anniversary.
LSMU Rector, Prof. Rimantas Benetis, congratulated the Veterinary Academy on the occasion of these significant anniversaries during the festive celebration. The merger of two strong academies into the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences more than a decade ago has led to fundamental change and progress.
Experience and progress
“Modern VA is an integral part of the advanced and highly rated LSMU, which gives priority and consistently improves the quality of studies, develops research, seeks a breakthrough by strengthening internationality,” said LSMU VA Chancellor Prof. Mindaugas Malakauskas.
In the fall, in one of the most famous international university rankings, Times Higher Education (THE), LSMU was positioned among the 601–800 best higher education institutions in the world and gained the top position among all the Lithuanian universities.
“This fact further encourages the pursuit of quality and international recognition also in the veterinary and agricultural fields, with a particular emphasis on research progress and innovation,” the Professor added.
According to the Professor, the activities of the Academy are inseparable from current problems and challenges in the world: qualified animal health care, research, and control of zoonoses ensuring animal welfare not only by assessing the qualifications of trained specialists but also by educating the public.
“Of course, the challenges of climate change and the European Green Course are also increasingly reflected in curriculum subjects and research,” claimed Prof. M. Malakauskas.
Following the Professor, recent investments of the University in the study infrastructure – animal clinics and bases of veterinary and agricultural fields (Public Enterprise LSMU Practical Training and Testing Center and LSMU VA Institute of Animal Husbandry) reflect the uniqueness of the University’s Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural studies and research, which is even more prominent due to combining the progress achieved over the years with the accumulated work expertise.
Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at LSMU VA, Prof. Vita Riškevičienė, added that the achieved international EAEVE accreditation and the popularity of study programs both among Lithuanian and foreign students undoubtedly prove the quality of veterinary studies.
“Another criterion is a high (over 90%) percentage of graduates, counting from those who enrolled. This shows that our studies are chosen by highly motivated people,” argued Prof. V. Riškevičienė.
Dean of the Faculty of Animal Sciences at LSMU VA, Prof. Rolandas Stankevičius, also drew attention to the accumulated vast pedagogical, practical and scientific experience of teachers and researchers, an excellent base of practical training and testing, and close cooperation with alumni and social partners.
Where are they needed?
VA is of strategic importance to the state, as it is only here that veterinary and animal husbandry specialists are trained that are necessary for the performance of the functions of state institutions, such as the State Food and Veterinary Service, etc.
Veterinary food safety specialists are equally welcome in food processing and marketing companies, where they also work in important areas of safety and quality management or control. And for those who obtained the profession of a veterinary doctor, doors are open to private and state veterinary networks, veterinary pharmaceutical retail and wholesale companies, the State Border Service, etc.
Professional activities of Food Science graduates are closely related to the safety and quality of agricultural products, innovative product manufacture and assessment technologies, ensuring that the product is not only nutritious and attractive but also healthy.
The study program of Animal and Human Interaction covers the peculiarities of pet nutrition, breeding technologies, care, reproduction, training, and other animal-assisted activities. And these are just a few of the VA study programs.
Clinics of the VF employ 46 veterinarians of different specializations (cardiologists, dermatologists, cytologists, neurologists, osteopaths, etc.).
All University veterinarians also work as lecturers, so their practical knowledge is based on the latest scientific achievements and methodologies. If necessary, the specialists of these clinics consult other veterinarians when encountering specific cases. With the development of specialists, the quality of veterinary services is growing throughout Lithuania.
“We are also proud that the University provides opportunities to purchase state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, which does not only provide high-quality diagnostic veterinary services to patients but also enables future specialists to touch modern equipment with their own hands and learn how to manage and interpret research results,” said Head of LSMU VA VF Dr. L. Kriaučeliūnas Small Animal Clinic, Assoc. Prof. Birutė Karvelienė and Head of LSMU VA VF Large Animal Clinic, Assoc. Prof. Arūnas Rutkauskas.
During the internship in these clinics, students learn how to use magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, digital X-ray machine, endoscope, etc., without which a modern veterinarian would not be able to be a quality employee.
More than 27,000 four-legged patients were treated at the Large Animal Clinic in the past year, most of which were cattle, and small ruminants (sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas). They are brought from various parts of Lithuania, and in more severe cases at night.
The small animal clinic is visited by almost 10 thousand patients from all over Lithuania every year; the clinic performs more than 400 different procedures; the laboratory carries out various diagnostic tests (blood, urine morphological and biochemical tests, thyroid hormone, progesterone concentration tests, etc.), and necessary medications and rational advice can always be obtained by pet owners at VF Dr. L. Kriaučeliūnas Small Animal Pharmacy.
The best European veterinary professionals (neurologists, dermatologists, orthopedists, etc.) are conferred with and consulted when necessary so that patients have the best opportunities for treatment, students for training, and doctors for improvement.
Leadership on the international scale
VA Chancellor Prof. M. Malakauskas is convinced that the long-term priorities of the Academy allow to expect leadership not only in Lithuania but also in the region or on an international scale.
In the near future, membership in the European Veterinary College is envisioned, which will further expand the opportunities for the specialization of veterinarians.
“VF envisions to continue the development of the internationality of science: we hope to achieve this by developing bioinformatics specializations, microbiome and resistome research in animal populations and intensive farming environment, and by going deeper into other relevant areas of veterinary science. This will help to cooperate with the leading research centers in Europe and guarantee the continuous dissemination of science and science-based studies and practice,” claimed Prof. V. Riškevičienė.
Prof. R. Stankevičius summarized that the strength of the Academy is a modern base for practical training and research, as well as lecturers with extensive practical experience, who integrate the achieved scientific results into production and at the same time into the study process.
Photos: V. Kandrotas; LSMU Communications Department