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Monday, May 30, 2011

Stephen Laudermilch, DVM 2011 Joins a Rural Practice Steeped in History

Posted May 28, 2011
By Donald F. Smith, Cornell University

CAREERS FOR VETERINARIANS Series

Stephen Laudermilch entered veterinary college in 2007 with the singular goal of returning to his home town to join his father and brother in one of the oldest and most distinguished rural veterinary practices in Pennsylvania. Dating back to 1917, what is now called Rome Veterinary Center is located about 60 miles south of Ithaca, New York, just 15 miles over the Pennsylvania border.


Dr. Stephen Laudermilch (center), with Drs. Ben (L) and Donn Laudermilch (R)

Being from a closely-knit family, the proximity of Ithaca to Rome was one of the reasons why Stephen selected Cornell over the three other northeastern colleges that offered him a seat after only three years undergraduate study.

During his time at Cornell, Stephen would make over 300 trips between Ithaca and Rome to visit family and work in the practice where he will now be a full time associate. “Being able to go back home to practice is a huge asset for me, because the establishment is family-oriented and I know right from the beginning that the level of trust and involvement will be high”.

Stephen’s father, Donn Laudermilch (U Penn ’79) agrees. “Stephen has been doing veterinary calls with me since he was two-years-old. He would sometimes join me before school, and often ride with me on calls that extended way into the night, helping treat cows with calving problems or most metabolic conditions that occur just before or after parturition.”

Stephen was one of about twelve of the 87 students in his class with an interest in food animal programs. However, because he realized that there are no guarantees that the dairy industry in upstate Pennsylvania will remain stable in the future, he took full advantage of Cornell’s excellent small animal teaching program so that he could diversify his practice as appropriate to meet future needs in the community.

The practice is currently 85% dairy cattle, with the remainder being equine and small animal medicine. For the top-producing dairies in the practice area, Stephen his brother, Ben (Virginia-Maryland ’07) and their father, all agree that new techniques they are adopting, like in vitro fertilization, could add tremendous value to the dairy industry.

The veterinary profession faces shortages of well-educated food animal veterinarians seeking to work in rural areas. The Laudermilch family provides an excellent example of how committed veterinarians continue to advance animal health in farming communities and also support the public health needs of society by assuring a safe and abundant source of animal-based protein.

Stephen Laudermilch’s interest in serving people goes beyond rural veterinary practice.  He desires to use his veterinary skills to establish relationships in foreign countries with the human medical profession--two of Stephen's siblings are medical doctors and a third is in training--to help people with both their physical health and their productivity in agriculture. With veterinary medicine as a step-stool, Stephen's goals are to reach people for Christ through veterinary medical missions.

Dr. Smith invites comments at dfs6@cornell.edu

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