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Andersons make animal health a family tradition
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When Ryan Anderson came to Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine as a student in 1984, he both kept and broke family tradition.
Dr. Ryan Anderson, a 1987 MSU graduate, is the seventh man in his family to become a veterinarian. His father, Dr. Walter Anderson Sr., began the tradition in 1949, and Ryan's two brothers and three first cousins followed suit.
But unlike the other six veterinarians, Ryan earned his veterinary degree from MSU. The others went to Auburn University for their doctorates, after receiving undergraduate degrees from MSU.
"Our blood runs maroon and white," Ryan said of the family. "Everybody got his undergraduate degree at MSU, but Mississippi State did not have a vet school at the time the others went to school."
The Anderson family is from Macon, and Ryan is the youngest of three brothers and one sister. He grew up working in his father's practice and later spent high school summers working in the veterinary practices of his brothers, who are 9 and 11 years older than he.
"I didn't know anything but veterinary medicine," Ryan said. "I'd been around it all my life. I'm an animal lover, and veterinary medicine is the only thing I knew about growing up."
Ryan became a fan of Auburn while his older brothers attended veterinary college there, but when it came time for him to pick a university, he chose MSU.
"My father is a 100-percent disabled American vet, having earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge. He had to quit practicing in 1970 and worked for the state in meat inspections until 1980," Ryan said.
When Ryan was ready for college, he and his father maintained a small herd of cattle in Macon. Ryan considered applying to Auburn, but decided to earn his degree at Mississippi State so he would be close to home and could help his father manage their herd.
Today he is a mixed animal practitioner working with Dr. Stephen R. Green at the Central Mississippi Animal Clinic in Carthage. He does the majority of the cattle work for the practice but sees a lot of small animals as well.
"The practice has really done well," Ryan said. "This year has been as good as it's ever been."
Walter, a 1949 Auburn graduate, worked mostly with large animals for 20 years, then sold his practice in Macon &endash; the Anderson and Bradshaw Veterinary Clinic &endash; to his nephew, Barry Bounds. He spent the next nine years as a meat inspector with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
"I enjoyed the meat inspection," Walter said. "It was a different phase of veterinary work, but I also enjoyed the large animal practice I did before."
Walter said when he entered veterinary medicine he had no idea of the family trend he would start. While he didn't intentionally steer his sons or his nephews into the business, he often did take them with him while he worked.
"Veterinary medicine has been good to all of us," Walter said.
In addition to Ryan's practicing in Carthage, Walter's son Neal Anderson (Auburn 1977) works in Pontotoc and son Clayton Anderson (Auburn 1976) practices in Columbus. Clayton is in veterinary practice with Walter's nephew, Louis Bounds (Auburn 1965). Barry Bounds (Auburn 1963) bought Walter's practice in Macon, and Walter's other nephew, Louis T. Anderson (Auburn 1967), practices in Waverly, Tenn.
Contact: Dr. Wayne Groce, (662) 325-1103