Ethan Simmons is a reporter at The News-Gazette covering the University of Illinois. His email is esimmons@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@ethancsimmons).

2021 Open House

UIUC College of Vet Med students walk a dog at the 2021 Vet Med Open House. The 2022 open house, free to the public, is set for Sunday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How does the College of Vet Med get permission to show animals in an open house? Are all the animals property of the university?

Most — not all — of the animals that’ll be on display at the Vet Med Open House next Sunday are university owned.

With prior permission, UI vet students may bring exotic creatures of their own.

“Some of the participants are pets of the vet students,” said Chris Beuoy, communications specialist for the college. “They’ll bring chinchillas and ferrets and all kinds of stuff.”

The Vet Med Open House is an all-hands-on-deck event for first- through third-year students of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. More than 300 of the UI’s prospective veterinarians will helm 50 animal-centered booths, exhibits and demos for the public on Oct. 2 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

All live animal demonstrations have to go through the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) on campus for approval.

Weeks prior to the open house, the College of Vet Med submitted a report to IACUC listing all animal attendees, whether they’re university or privately owned, what the animals will be there for, and how staff plans to observe and take care of each critter.

“We have to make sure they have access to food and water and get breaks,” Beuoy said. “If it turns out one of the animals isn’t enjoying being part of the open house, they’ll be taken off the exhibit.”

Scheduled to make appearances next Sunday: 10 dogs, 10 horses, four cows, an eagle, owl and kestrel, and a few snakes, lizards and ferrets, among others.

Attendees have the chance to see a service dog at work, milk a cow, or read a bird’s X-ray scan, while the younger crowd can visit the kid's tent for face painting and crafts. 

The annual event is free to attend — thousands of all ages show up each year.

“This open house couldn’t happen without our students being willing to share what they know,” Beuoy said.

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