Federal veterinarians reflected on the government shutdown and how it impacted their careers in a recent JAVMA News report.
Approximately 1,300 federally employed veterinarians were affected by the government shutdown – the longest in U.S. history and a consequence of a disagreement between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Dr. Megan Sission a veterinary scientist with a master’s in genetics and genomics from Duke University, has worked as a veterinary medical officer in the diagnostic virology laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Veterinary Biologics in Ames, Iowa since 2017. During the 35-day government shutdown that ended on Jan. 25, Dr. Sission and various others were not in the laboratory assessing safety and efficacy of the vaccines that are used by veterinarians and the nation’s livestock producers.
Instead, she was one of nearly 800,000 “nonessential” federal employees furloughed for more than a month and not drawing a government salary. Dr. Sission made ends meet by dipping into her savings, making plasma donations, and working as a part-time cashier at Target. “I’m