By the Numbers: Penn Vet’s agricultural impact

In addition to excellence in teaching and clinical care for companion animals, Penn Vet makes indispensable contributions to the state’s agriculture sector.

Child with animal at 2023 Farm Show.
The PA Farm Show provides the opportunity for hands-on interactions with animals, and Penn Vet faculty, students, and staff who volunteered at the 2023 show fielded many questions from young visitors and their families about pursuing a career working with animals.

The only veterinary school in Pennsylvania and one of the top 10 ranked in the world, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has been recognized for excellence in teaching, research, and clinical service for animals across its 139-year history.

The school also makes invaluable contributions to the state’s $132 billion agriculture sector through disease surveillance and diagnostic testing to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, and through visits to farms to provide care for large animals. Researchers ground their work in the One Health philosophy to improve outcomes for animals, people, and the environment. Penn Vet will be showcasing its work and career opportunities at the 2024 PA Farm Show Jan. 6-13 in Harrisburg.

“As Pennsylvania’s only veterinary school, Penn Vet does much more than produce future veterinarians for the state,” says Gary Althouse, associate dean of sustainable agriculture and veterinary practices. “We serve as a key partner in elevating the Commonwealth’s vibrant agriculture industry through our many clinical, diagnostic, and educational outreach services and with timely research that addresses critical challenges facing the industry.”

The school’s diagnostic capabilities back all major subsectors of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry: poultry and egg production; dairy production; pig, sheep, and goat production; and food manufacturing. Since 1991, Penn Vet has worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania State University to operate the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System, providing rapid and accurate diagnostic testing.

In October 2022, Penn Vet launched the Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security, which mobilizes Penn Vet faculty in nearly 20 agriculture-related specialties with faculty across Penn, addressing issues such as soil health and agriculture’s role in carbon capture.

Whether treating large animals at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square or small companion animals at Ryan Veterinary Hospital in Philadelphia, Penn Vet provides care in anesthesia, behavior, cardiology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology, surgery, and much more.

    • 22,168

      Large animals who received care last fiscal year through New Bolton Center’s Field Service ambulatory practice—including 10,227 horses, 9,928 dairy cows, 1,009 goats, and 854 sheep—which also provides extensive, hands-on training for students

    • 15 million

      Birds that benefitted from the work of Penn Vet’s Field Investigations poultry team

    • 767

      Swine farms, housing 2.2 million pigs, in Penn Vet’s disease control monitoring systems

    • 34

      Percent increase in Penn Vet’s research expenditures during the past five years

    • 136

      Number of students who began their studies in August 2023, a 27 percent increase since 2001