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Aquatic Internships Are Available At Vet College
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's world class catfish industry makes it possible for Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine to offer the nation's only internship in production medicine for fish.
Dr. S.W. "Skip" Jack, leader of aquatic medicine at MSU's veterinary college, said MSU created the post-doctoral program in response to an educational need in veterinary science. Aquatic opportunities in veterinary colleges are limited, and there is no board speciality in aquatic medicine.
"Veterinary medicine is constantly changing, and more veterinarians are developing experience and expertise with fish," Jack said. "In Mississippi, catfish is a huge business, and veterinarians can play a role in these animals' health through research as well as diagnostic medicine."
The aquatic medicine internship began in 1995 as a one-year, salaried position in what is now the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Research Center at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Two positions are available each year, and offer advanced training in fish health for veterinarians.
Interns primarily work in the fish diagnostic laboratory, which annually receives about 1,500 field diagnostic cases from fish farmers. Interns become familiar with water quality, postmortem exams and microbiologic techniques. They consult with clients, conduct pond visits and perform research.
Interns work alongside three faculty members and several staff members at the research center in Stoneville, and with aquatic medicine faculty members at CVM in Starkville.
Interns have come from across the country, but all have some background and interest in working with fish. After the internship is over, interns receive a certificate of completion, and typically go back into private practice, graduate school or government sector jobs.
Dr. Todd Cecil, associate veterinarian at the Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital in San Diego, completed the aquatic medicine internship in June, 1997.
"I think it helped me significantly in my practice," Cecil said. "I learned production from a farmer's point of view, and also from a veterinarian's point of view. It was heavy in diagnostics, and offered a wonderful opportunity to learn anatomy, physiology and medicine for fish."
Originally from Chicago, Cecil earned his DVM at the University of California, Davis. He learned about the internship when he met Jack while both where taking a college course.
"I would highly recommend the internship for anyone who wants to seriously work with fish," Cecil said.
Anyone interested in applying for an aquatic medicine internship for 1999 must apply by March 15. Applicants must provide a letter of intent and their veterinary college transcripts. Applicants are interviewed before being accepted into the program.