A disturbing trend that could affect health care for farm animals in the state.

There's a shortage of veterinarians to care for cows and horses. Dr. Gary Oetzel with the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine says they're having a difficult time recruiting students for the field.

Dr. Oetzel says there could be a number of reasons. Not as many students are growing up on farms and understand the importance of a rural vet. There's also the expectation of working nights and weekends in the country that you don't have as a small animal doctor in a city. And for young people there's the lure of city life.

The shortage of farm vets isn't serious yet but Dr. Oetzel says it is being felt in some fringe rural areas of the state where producers are finding it difficult to get a doctor to attend to their animals as often as they're used to.

Dr. Oetzel says hopefully educating high school students about the need for big animal vets and actively recruiting them into the field will start a new trend of attracting more young people to the field. 

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:04 MP3 )

Share the News