March Madness attracts real animals

Fourth-year veterinary students at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center are jumping through hoops this month for March Madness, a program at the Kennett Square facility.

Since the program debuted in 1989, March Madness puts students interested in pursuing a career involving agricultural animals into a major role in handling cases from admission to discharge. The students gain valuable experience and the owners of those animals receive great care at a discounted rate. No wonder school officials say business typically quadruples during March.

Owners of food and fiber animals, including cows, pigs, sheep and goats, have until March 23 to take advantage of this program. The first eight cases of LDA — left displaced abomasums — a common condition in dairy cattle requiring a surgical correction, will be treated at no charge. Generous discounts are also being offered on other types of medical and surgical cases.

 "The University of Pennsylvania is the only institution training veterinarians in Pennsylvania. March Madness is just one of the ways that we commit Penn's resources to training future food animal veterinarians and supporting agriculture in the state," said Ray Sweeney, VMD, chief of the Section of Medicine at New Bolton Center. "These students are a mere two months away from completing their veterinary training and being entitled to put that VMD behind their names … They are highly trained, very skilled young men and women, and consistently provide excellent care for the patients referred.”

Sweeney said he and Marie-Eve Fecteau, DVM, an assistant professor of food animal medicine, closely supervise the students. Veterinarians or producers interested in capitalizing on the program can contact Dr. Sweeney at 610-925-6132 or, or Dr. Fecteau at 610-925-6208 or Founded in 1884, Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine includes New Bolton Center, a large-animal facility with hospitals for the care of horses and food animals as well as diagnostic laboratories that serve the agriculture industry.