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State veterinarian retires, assistant state vet takes interim reins

August 27, 2021

For the past five years, Dr. Brian Joseph has served as the Washington State Veterinarian, an office within the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Last Friday, he hung up his stethoscope and said hello to retirement, or rather his version of retirement.

The agency will not be immediately replacing Dr. Joseph. Assistant state veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle will serve as the interim state veterinarian while the agency works on determining the best path forward in filling the position permanently.

In retirement, Dr. Joseph plans to spend more time with family, friends, fishing, and in his consulting work both at home and abroad. He brought to the position decades of experience in veterinary medicine, as well as the experience of working at zoos and aquariums across North America and serving as a veterinarian in the U.S. Army.  Dr. Joseph chose veterinary medicine because he thought it would be the best way to better the lives of all animals. With the countless veterinarians he’s trained, humanitarian trips he’s taken, animals he’s treated, and the many times he’s loaned his expertise, we can definitively say he’s done just that.

The State Veterinarian’s Office exists to protect and enhance animal health and animal well-being. Our state vets also work to promote the economic vitality of the livestock industry by minimizing exposure to animal diseases and help safeguard the residents of Washington state by identifying and limiting the exposure to zoonotic diseases (those that transfer from animal to human). There are many ways our state vet’s office does this, including advocacy and education.

The office oversees the Animal Health Program, which includes regional veterinarians around the state. Together, our state veterinarians work hard to ensure our communities are up-to-date on biosecurity protocols, the recent virus spread news, and ensuring all animal owners and caregivers are educated on how to decrease exposure and transfer of diseases.

After serving as the northwest regional field veterinarian for over four years, Dr. Itle was appointed as the Assistant State Veterinarian in 2018 and tasked with leading the animal health and animal disease traceability programs. She grew up working on her family’s dairy farm in Pennsylvania and joined her sister and father in the veterinary profession, where she worked in large animal practice for nine years.  She earned her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003 and her Master’s in animal welfare from the University of British Columbia in 2014.

Check back for updates on a permanent decision regarding the state veterinarian and all WSDA news on our website at Dr. Itle can be reached by phone at (360) 961-4729 or by email at [email protected].

Source: WSDA Communications


Posted August 27, 2021