Dr. Peter Ostrum
Working in front of a camera is not new to Dr. Peter Ostrum of the Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Lowville, N.Y., although
it has been a few years since he appeared as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 musical film "Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."
Today Ostrum spends his days in the field, literally, as a large-animal veterinarian.
"I'd say 70 percent of my work is scheduled and then the other 30 percent is typical pregnant or sick cow calls or other emergencies,"
he says after visiting one of the large farms on his schedule. "Most of our work is scheduled herd health work."
With 14 veterinarians on staff and three locations for the mixed-animal practice, Ostrum focuses mainly on cows and horses.
"When I was 13 years old, my family purchased a horse. That was my first job, besides the film, taking care of the horse,
mucking out the stall. I liked that stuff. You could tell that the equine veterinarian there loved what he did."
Ostrum says being a veterinarian is the perfect job.
"You get to use your head for problem solving, but at the same time there is a lot of physical activity," he says. "I really
like traveling from farm to farm and establishing relationships. You really get to know the operation and the family. You're
pretty entrenched in the work of the farm," he adds.
"Most people are so far removed from agriculture. They don't know how the food gets from the farm to the consumer. This was
a way to get word out about what we do and shed some positive light on the dairy industry."
And, the second reason he wanted to do the series was to attract more students to veterinary work.
"I want them to see the videos and say 'that looks interesting.'"
The film crew, which spent about a week with Ostrum filming four webisodes, will return soon for a fifth.
"Veterinarians on Call" is gearing up for its second season, which will feature new veterinarians.
"We're doing some more about veterinarians in the food-animal industry and expanding to small animals and horses," Courtmanche
Pfizer plans to continue funding the project. "We're very much encouraged by the response and feedback from season one. It
has gone viral in the social media world," Lewis says. "We take seriously our responsibility to help support the great work
vets do each and every day. This is just a fun and innovative way to showcase that."