An Interview with... Dr. Charles E. Short - Veterinary Medicine
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An Interview with... Dr. Charles E. Short


Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Neither. My wife, Kathie, is a cat person, and we have had numerous pets as the children grew up. Personally, I love horses. They test your skills and intellect and are such beautiful animals in motion. I enjoy watching their athletic ability, and professionally, they were a real challenge.

What book are you reading now?

I read John Grisham's books for relaxation and am enrolled in a Bible study class.

What favorite musicians or songs would you include on your personal jukebox?

Easy-listening classics; anything that Andrew Lloyd Webber has produced; "September Song"; "Blessed be the Tie That Binds"; "America"; and a bit of Tennessee Ernie Ford and Dolly Parton.

What part of your work do you enjoy most?

Currently, sharing information and experiences with colleagues, including taking the information to other parts of the world.

During my academic career, treating complicated anesthesia and pain management cases and seeing the students' responses as they gained confidence in their abilities to do the same. And working in the research labs to help develop the medications we needed for these procedures was very exciting, especially when we used them later with success in clinical cases.

What do you consider the greatest threat to the profession?

The "graying syndrome" in our veterinary colleges. The development of the specialties and multidiscipline practices has brought tremendous improvements to private practice and is great for patient care. But as more and more of our promising new specialists join the private sector rather than stay in academia, we face a potential shortage of experts in academia as the old guard retires.

Which animal health needs are currently unmet?

In many countries, we don't have the needed crossover of medications and expertise to provide healthcare and prevent the spread of disease. Economics is a big factor, as are regulations. Even in a number of developed countries, veterinarians in both farm and pet practices cannot practice medicine at the level we enjoy.

We have made progress in aquatic medicine but not enough. And we still have a major challenge in controlling cancer. Finally, a number of equine orthopedic injuries are not treatable, and we don't have the pain medications we need for food animals.

What changes in veterinary medicine do you hope will occur in the next 100 years?

We will have to address the potential health problems as the edge of the rain forest moves inward and new diseases emerge.

Moreover, it would be beneficial if more of our foreign aid could be designated for food-animal healthcare in undeveloped countries.

Our record of cooperating with our sister medical professions has dramatically improved, but we will need to develop closer partnerships in the future.

And veterinary colleges worldwide will need to step up their cooperative efforts. This has improved greatly during the last few years, but in the next 100 years it will be key to international progress.

Advances I think we'll see in the next 100 years include the following:

  • Improved vaccines and medications with greater sharing of scientific data for approval and usage. More pharmacokinetics research will be done to better understand drug uptake and distribution.
  • Genetically improved animals with greater resistance to disease.
  • Improvements in tissue-healing technologies such as in nerve damage through cellular research.
  • Improvements in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
  • Databases and warning systems to reduce or prevent the spread of diseases internationally.


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