The University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine plans to open a cancer care facility in Wentzville, Mo., a western suburb of St. Louis.
The Mizzou Animal Cancer Care will offer advanced care for veterinary cancer patients beginning in spring 2011.
The center's services will include diagnostic and treatment options, such as computed tomography and radiation therapy, for patients referred to the center.
Dr. Neil C. Olson, dean of the Mizzou veterinary college, said in a university press release that the new center will make cancer treatment more convenient for pet owners in eastern Missouri, southeast Iowa, southern Illinois, and even Kentucky.
The 9,579-square-foot building purchased to house the new center is a former medical office where human radiation oncology services were provided.
The university will pay $1.3 million for the building and surrounding parcel, according to a Mizzou spokeswoman.
Veterinary schools and colleges across the U.S. have seen lower caseloads at their veterinary teaching hospitals and consistent reductions in state assistance for years now.
A recent survey by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges found that state funding for nearly all veterinary schools has declined by $50 million—equivalent to the total funding for two veterinary colleges. Nationwide, 415 staff positions and 146—out of a total of 3,595—veterinary faculty positions have been eliminated.
Aside from short-term cost-saving measures, such as layoffs, wage freezes, and program reorganizations, many schools have focused on forging partnerships with local shelters or clinics as well as creating new clinics of their own in more populous areas to generate greater revenue.