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Wenzel joins NMSU as state's first Extension veterinarian

hile Bo may be a big boy, as horses go, he's a little timid when it comes to needles and he shows his concern clearly when Dr. John C. Wenzel walks up with a container of cotton swabs and a syringe.



John Wenzel, veterinarian for New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, checks an identification microchip he implanted in a horse. (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

Wenzel, the new veterinarian for New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, speaks gently to the horse, who lays back his ears and watches Wenzel from the corner of his eye. As Wenzel steps closer, Bo rears up a few times, but a steady hand on the rope held by Bo's owner and Wenzel's reassuring voice begin to ease the horse's fears. A quick wipe of antiseptic and an expertly administered injection take no time, and Bo is free to go about his business.

Along with a quiet confidence necessary to successfully treat large, reluctant animals, Wenzel brings 20 years of experience to the position, which has statewide responsibilities. He still operates the mixed animal veterinary practice in Silver City that he purchased in 1991, and he has been a practicing veterinarian since receiving his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1986 from Kansas State University. Wenzel received his bachelor's degree in agriculture from NMSU in 1982.



Wenzel said the university can be a valuable resource for veterinarians and producers, and his role will be to facilitate that process.

"I was fortunate enough to know people at the university," he said. "I used them in my practice." Wenzel said university experts - from entomologists to toxic plant specialists - can make a big difference, as long as veterinarians know how to tap into the resource.

"There are so many things the university can do to help us do our jobs better," Wenzel said.

As a member of the New Mexico Veterinary Association, Wenzel lobbied in the mid 1990s for funding for an Extension veterinarian. At that time, New Mexico was one of only five states in the U.S. that didn't have an Extension veterinarian.

Wenzel also is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Society for Theriogenology and numerous community organizations in Grant County.

Wenzel plans to work closely with the livestock industry, the veterinary profession and the New Mexico Livestock Board in the areas of producer education, foreign animal disease prevention and biosecurity.

Wenzel has been married for 27 years. He has three sons and two grandchildren.