The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech will open its doors to the public during its Annual Open House on Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors will have opportunities to learn about veterinary medicine and the college through tours, demonstrations, and lectures.

During the Open House, veterinary students will offer guided tours of the college’s 270,000-square-foot complex, including the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition with state-of-the-art surgery suites and student laboratories. The hour-long tours will begin at 11 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., noon, 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The family-friendly event will also feature activities designed expressly for children including face painting, a wildlife exhibit with live animals, an anatomy lesson with a painted horse, a video on how to safely approach and interact with dogs, and a chance to meet the HokieBird, Virginia Tech’s mascot. Special tours for children in kindergarten through fifth grade will also take place throughout the day. Third-year veterinary students will help “surgically repair” stuffed animals during a Teddy Bear Repair Clinic, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Annual Open House will also feature demonstrations on horseshoe making, small animal ultrasound, police dogs, service dogs, and other topics. An animal autopsy demonstration will explain how veterinarians determine the cause of death, and an endoscopy demonstration will let participants see how tiny cameras take us inside cats and dogs.

Lectures and information sessions will address many topics, from food animal medicine, to radiography, to preparing a competitive application for veterinary school. At 12:30 p.m., a panel discussion for middle and high school students interested in becoming a veterinarian will feature the college’s class presidents.

The day will also include a session regarding when to take your pet to the vet. Participants will learn how to recognize emergency situations, what items should be brought to the vet, and what first aid items to have at home.

A silent auction with gift certificates and merchandise from local merchants, as well as merchandise provided by the college’s clubs and organizations, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with winners announced at 2:15 p.m. Auction items can be purchased by cash and check only.

For biosecurity and health safety reasons, no animals will be allowed in the building or hospital areas this year. In the event of rain, outside demonstrations and information sessions will be canceled.

The Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association hosts the Annual Open House each spring with assistance from several other student organizations at the college.

Student members of the college's service fraternity, Omega Tau Sigma, are also asking Open House attendees to help out the Friends of Montgomery County Animal Care and Control with donations of dry dog food or dog toys. 

"Either one will be a great way to give the sweet dogs some love and help out this community organization," said Lindsay Vega, service chair.

This article was written by Michael Sutphin.

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