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East Texas Veterinarians Hopeful For New School’s Impact On Large Animal Clinics

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Most vets take care of people’s cats and dogs. But here in East Texas, farmers need to make sure their livestock receives quality care as well.

“It’s very important for regulatory reasons that those herds, those feed lots, all that stuff – they have a veterinarian in a close proximity to their area,” Lufkin veterinarian Lindsay Syler said.

However, some believe more large animal vets are needed. Syler says it’s been tough to get veterinary school graduates to apply to large animal practices in the Lufkin area.

“Even places like Lufkin are considered semi-rural and we can’t even get veterinarians interested in some of the areas like this, too," Syler said. "It’s very difficult to get a veterinarian into this area.”

The Angelina Animal Hospital in Lufkin provides services to small and large animals, but the staff say it’s not unusual for recent vet school grads to go to small animal-only clinics that typically pay more.

“Those type of practices can be met with a six-figure salary and it’s a lot better livelihood for some of these veterinarians” Syler said.

This gap is something Texas Tech University is hoping to provide a solution for. Their plan to establish a veterinarian school in Amarillo aims to boost interest in would-be large vet positions. East Texas vets hope that interest will carry over into their area as well.

“It would really be nice to see some younger blood get out toward that way or even toward our direction," Syler said. "You see practices up for sale and nobody trying to buy out some of these really good practices that do need to be bought out by the younger generation.”

Currently, Texas A&M holds the only vet school in the state. Texas lawmakers are still in the process of approving a school of veterinary medicine for Texas Tech.

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