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B.C. makes doubling of subsidized vet college seats permanent

Finding medical care for your pet or livestock should become easier in the coming years.

The provincial government says a recent doubling of subsidized seats for B.C. veterinary students will be permanent, as the province copes with a vet shortage.

The number of subsidized seats for B.C. students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine  increased last year from 20 to 40, but it wasn’t clear if that would be permanent.

Post-Secondary Education Minister Selina Robinson now says an initial investment of $21.8 million over three years will ensure the higher number is maintained.

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“Veterinarians play a critical role in supporting the agricultural sector, people, and the health and welfare of animals across B.C.,” Robinson said in a news release.

“Today we are committing to continue this funding so more people receive quality training, and our pets and farm animals can get the health care they need.”

Western College of Veterinary Medicine is part of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where up to 88 students begin a four-year program each year.

“It has been very challenging for ranchers to access vet care in the rural and northern communities of B.C.,” said Werner Stump, vice-president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.

“This announcement is welcomed as enhanced funding for B.C. veterinary students is a critical first step to providing animal care in these parts of the province.”

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