VTH Open House: Find animals, tours, learning and fun

Listen to a kitty’s heartbeat. Learn to bandage a horse’s hurt leg. Feel a llama’s wooly fiber. Get an up-close look at pet reptiles. Watch demonstrations of dog agility and canine police work.

These attractions and more await people who attend the annual Open House at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The event will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the hospital, 300 W. Drake Road in Fort Collins. It is free and open to the public.

A full schedule of events is on the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences website.

devon contest winner
Devon Johnson, in red shirt, a 10-year-old student at Lopez Elementary School, won the 2015 Open House art contest. Shown with her teacher and classmates, she receives a poster featuring her drawing. (Click to enlarge.)

Among the highlights will be tours of the hospital that each year tallies about 40,000 patient visits, offering advanced medical care for dogs, cats, horses, livestock and exotic species. The hospital also is home base for clinical training within Colorado State’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program, which has about 550 enrolled students and is ranked the No. 3 veterinary school in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome our community to the hospital to provide a look at our specialty services, to offer information about veterinary medicine as a career, and to share a love for animals and their care,” Dr. Timothy Hackett, hospital director, said.

The Open House has grown into a more complete event, with live music, food trucks, and visits with CAM the Ram.

The event is organized and run by about 200 CSU veterinary students, most in their first and second years of the four-year program.

“Open House allows us to showcase for the public what it means to be a veterinarian,” said Austin Graham, event chairman. “It’s fun to see how much people enjoy what they see and learn.”

Those attending will park at the Diagnostic Medicine Center, the building just north of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and will enter the hospital and grounds through this building. Hospital tours will start every 15 minutes from the Diagnostic Medicine Center atrium. Find a map here.

Main attractions during the Open House are: hospital tours, a petting zoo, presentations by veterinary student clubs, lectures featuring Colorado State veterinary faculty members, and demonstrations that highlight animals and their care.


The lecture schedule is as follows, with two talks running concurrently through the day:

  • 9 a.m.  “So You Want to be a Veterinarian?” and “Veterinary Teaching Hospital ​Plans for the Future”
  • 10 a.m. “Raising Backyard Chickens” and “Critical Care for Pets”
  • 11 a.m. “Exotic Medicine” and “Common Pet Toxins and Preventions”
  • Noon “Equine First Aid” and “Zoonotic Disease”
  • 1 p.m. “Medical Acupuncture, Massage and Laser Therapy”
  • 2 p.m. “So You Want to be a Veterinarian?” and “Common Pet Toxins and Preventions”
  • 3 p.m. “Community Practice and Shelter Medicine” and “Critical Care for Pets”


Demonstrations will be in the arena adjacent to the hospital; the schedule is:

  • 10 a.m. Fort Collins Police Department K9 Unit
  • 11 a.m. Fort Collins Police Department K9 Unit
  • 12:45 p.m. First Aid for Your Horse
  • 1:30 p.m. Rescue Dog Demonstration
  • 2 p.m. Rescue Dog Demonstration

Other attractions will run throughout the day.

Media Assets

Colorado State University VTH Open House Four girls pose with CAM the Ram

VTH Open House at Colorado State University Girl views an exotic animal

Colorado State University VTH Open House Young girl pets an alpaca at the VTH Open House

Colorado State University VTH Open House An Open House attendee pets a horse

VTH Open House at Colorado State University A young boy performs imitation surgery on a stuffed dog at the VTH Open House