Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Assesses Visually Impaired Steer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, February 15, 2016 – The Texas A&M; University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) recently initiated evaluation and assessment of the eyesight of a visually impaired steer donated to Texas A&M; University by the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.  The steer, which had been recently exhibited in the Stock Show’s Junior Steer Show, was delivered to the CVM on February 13.

Junior exhibitors participating in 4-H and FFA livestock show programs at the Fort Worth Stock Show are engaged in a journey that provides them lessons on life and the importance of the livestock industry. Through immersive experiences they learn the responsibility and hard work required to take care of livestock, which includes gaining knowledge about nutrition, health, and animal behavior. They also learn how to compete, and how to win and lose gracefully in the show ring. The preparation is often an endeavor of the entire family, bringing family members closer as they work together towards a common goal. The monies gained from selling the animals during the show are often used to finance college educations.

“The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo provides exceptional opportunities for the young people of Texas,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine at the CVM. “The lessons learned follow them throughout their lives. We support the mission of the stock show and are proud of the students who come through their programs.”

Since the steer’s arrival at the CVM Large Animal Hospital, veterinarians, staff, and students have been working cooperatively to assess his status. A board certified ophthalmologist conducted extensive eye exams to determine the steer’s level of sight. It was established that the steer is not completely blind and does have partial vision, although cataracts are present in both eyes. He also has other congenital birth defects in his eyes which are untreatable, making it unrealistic to consider surgery for the cataracts.

Two individuals, Johnny and Jana Trotter from Hereford, Texas, have offered to pay for the steer’s housing at the CVM. They are prominent ranchers and feedlot owners in the industry. “We want to thank Johnny and Jana, owners of the Bar-G Feedyard, for offering financial assistance to care for this steer,” said Green. “This proves, once again, how our industry leaders reach out to help in many different ways.  We are grateful to them for their support.”

The circumstances surrounding this steer were unique. At Texas A&M; University he will prove beneficial to the education of our veterinary students.  He will not be used for research, but will be helpful in training students about a steer with a visual impairment or other disability-how to best care for them, and how to diagnose a problem. Because this steer was handled so well in preparation for the steer show, he is very easy to handle here at the CVM.

The CVM is committed to the care of animals, the livestock industry, and all of the Texas Livestock Shows & Rodeos.  Green concluded, “We are happy to be able to help our friends at the Fort Worth Livestock Show, which does much for the youth of Texas.”

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