Royal opening for equine facilities at Britain’s newest vet school

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Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, toured the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities after she officially opened it on Thursday.
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, toured the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities after she officially opened it on Thursday. © University of Surrey

The Large Animal Clinical Facilities of Britain’s latest veterinary school has been officially opened by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, at the University of Surrey.

The Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities at Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine comprise state of the art teaching aids and simulation models providing students with the opportunity to refine their practical skills. This invaluable experience enables students to reach a high level of confidence and proficiency prior to working with real animal patients.

As part of Thursday’s official opening, Princess Anne toured the School of Veterinary Medicine, where she met with staff and students and learned more about their work. She viewed a demonstration of an innovative new equine gut model developed by the Surrey team, that will help understand more about the gut microbiota of horses and how they are affected by diet, disease and medication. This new model is a convenient, cost-effective and welfare-friendly alternative to using live animals for such research.

In a showcase of the leading animal pathology work at the vet school, Princess Anne also observed a post-mortem examination of a horse. Such a service is vital in helping to quickly identify potential outbreaks of disease and illness in animals in the region.

Surrey had its first cohort of veterinary students graduating from the course in 2019, with 90 percent securing employment before graduation. Nearly 40 percent of these positions are with veterinary organisations partnered with the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, with a patient at the University of Surrey's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, with a patient at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine. © University of Surrey

The School of Veterinary Medicine at Surrey was officially opened by the Queen in 2015. Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Surrey, said in the five years since its doors opened, the school had exceeded all expectations. “I look forward to seeing what our current students go on to achieve in the next five years and beyond.”

More than 600 students are now training as veterinarians at the £45m facility, attracted to the unique teaching model on offer that enables final year students to undertake clinical training placements in veterinary workplaces around the UK. This innovative model, which in 2019 received official accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, has proven to be popular with students and veterinary employers alike.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, met  staff and students and learned more about their work at the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities at the University of Surrey's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, met staff and students and learned more about their work at the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine. © University of Surrey

“Preparing students for life as a vet is our number one priority; the hands-on experience they will get through the use of this facility is invaluable and enables them to give the best possible care to all animals,” said Professor Chris Proudman, Head of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

“We are also very grateful to the Longhurst family, without whom these teaching resources would not have been possible – their generosity is helping us to teach the vets of the future.”

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