More than a dozen live animal species were present at this year’s College of Veterinary Medicine Open House, including a horse painted to show the location and size of its internal organs.

Tick races, teddy bear surgery: Veterinary Open House returns

After a three-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, the College of Veterinary Medicine resumed a beloved tradition and welcomed the community to its 54th Open House.

“We want to open the doors to share what we are about and our love for what we do, so that people of all ages and walks of life can come in behind the scenes and learn something while having a fun and special experience,” said Kacie Vasicek, a licensed veterinary technician at Cornell’s Companion Animal Hospital and a member of the Open House planning committee. “This year, it’s a very special Open House for us, because – as the first large event at the Veterinary College post-COVID – it’s a celebration, not only of veterinary medicine but of resilience in the face of adversity. And our student chairs have done a fantastic job.”

An estimated 5,000 members of the community – many of them with young children – explored the facilities, equipment, and everyday work of veterinarians. “I think I speak for everyone when I say we are thrilled with this year’s turnout,” said Madeline Stolow, one of five veterinary students on the nine-person planning committee, which worked on the event for nearly six months. “It was a truly collaborative effort, and I think it showed.”

After a three-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine invited the community to its 54th annual Open House, where guests could say hello to animals like Blossom, the dairy cow.

More than 150 student volunteers, as well as many members of the CVM faculty and staff, hosted the activities. They included demonstrations of the Cornell University Police Department’s K9 unit, dogs in water treadmill therapy, and a farrier at work, as well as educational lectures in small animal CPR, games such as wildlife bingo, a chance to touch a giant elephant heart and tours of the Teaching Dairy Barn a short drive away.

More than a dozen different live animal species were present, including resident miniature horse Minnie, piglets, chicks, goat kids, a red-tailed hawk, a horse painted to show the location and size of its internal organs, lizards, ball pythons, guinea pigs, dogs and cats. In the large animal breezeway, guests could say hello to Blossom, a cow fitted with a permanent opening to her digestive system, and inspect its rumen fluid through a microscope. Visual magnification also made it possible to watch tick races twice an hour.

Ilana Brito, associate professor in Cornell’s Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, was attending her fourth open house and had brought her kids – two 4-year-olds and a 9-year-old – to join the fun. “Every year you find something new to learn,” she said while watching a veterinary student treat one of her children’s stuffed animals in the Teddy ER. “What I like about this event and others that Cornell puts on is that they’re very good at hitting different levels. There are activities that are great for little kids, like the petting zoo, but I could also come here alone and have a really good time with more science-y things that my kids might not understand as much but that I think are really interesting.”

For anyone considering a veterinary career, students, faculty members, staff, and exhibitors from community and educational organizations answered questions about different options in the rapidly growing field, including opportunities in the animal health industry, government and armed forces, and with more exotic species in zoos, wildlife refuges and developing countries. An admissions presentation and student panel gave details on CVM’s application process.

Olivia Hall is a freelance writer for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Media Contact

Abby Kozlowski