The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) in Blacksburg, Va.,earlier this month announced that farrier Travis Burns has been promoted to a faculty position. In addition to his role as farrier, Burns will also serve as a lecturer. As a member of the university’s general faculty, the university will expect him to further contribute to the educational mission.

Burns says he is honored by this promotion and believes this is recognition of the

Burns will become more involved in the hoof-care education of students, but will maintain a primary function as a working farrier for the VMRCVM

farrier industry’s impact.

“My hope is that this is something that all colleges of veterinary medicine will recognize and take actions to further develop, or create, their farrier/podiatry services,” he says. “The conversion of my position from a staff position to a faculty appointment was a reward for the effort and responsibilities that had previously been demonstrated."

As a lecturer, Burns will continue to develop clinical instruction in routine and specialty farriery for students, interns and residents at VMRCVM. He also will provide didactic instruction to both veterinary students at the college and undergraduate students in the department of animal and poultry sciences.

The school now offers an equine podiatry course for third year vet students, which provides advanced training for students who will work primarily with horses after graduation.

“Students learn anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and farriery as they relate to preventative foot health care and management of lameness in clinical practice,” he says. "In the near future, we plan to offer a clerkship opportunity for our fourth year students to spend one of their 3 week blocks focusing on clinical podiatry and lameness cases.

“My goals, the goals of Dr. Scott Pleasant, and the Podiatry Unit at the VMRCVM are to continue to be active in local, regional, educational efforts for farriers and veterinarians,” he says. “We are also trying to provide our veterinary students with as many opportunities to learn about podiatry as possible.”

Burns will also pursue outreach efforts to help educate farriers, vets and horse owners in Virginia, Maryland and elsewhere. 

Inspired by a similar program once run at the New Bolton Center in Kennett, Square, Pa., Burns wants to build an internship in which an already working farrier would spend a year at VMRCVM, assisting with clinical cases, attending classes and helping instruct veterinary students. The program would also generate an internship for a veterinary student to focus on equine podiatry we eventually plan to create an internship for a veterinarian that focuses on podiatry as well.

His time will be split with 70% dedicated to clinical work and instruction, 20% to didactic instruction and 10% to outreach.