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DSACS Faculty

Bess J. Pierce

Bess J. Pierce, DVM, MZS, Diplomate ABVP, Diplomate ACVIM, Diplomate ACVSMR

Associate Professor
Community Practice
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Director, Center for Animal Human Relationships (CENTAUR)
e-mail: bpierce@vt.edu
Capsule Biography (PDF)


2010 Animals and Human Health: A Certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy Activities and Learning
University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work
Denver, CO
2008 Canine Rehabilitation Therapy Certificate Program
Canine Rehabilitation Institute, FL
2005 Veterinary Basic Acupuncture Course
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society
1992 DVM
Auburn University
Auburn, AL
1990 M.Z.S., Wildlife Biology
Auburn University
Auburn, AL
1986 B.S., Biology
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA

Board Certification

American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Canine Specialty
American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Canine/Feline Specialty
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Small Animal Internal Medicine

Research Interests

  • Canine sports medicine and rehabilitation
  • Human-animal bond and interactions

Professional Experience

2007-present Associate Professor
Community Practice
VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Blacksburg, VA
2011-present Director
Center for Animal Human Relationships (CENTAUR)
VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Blacksburg, VA
2013-present Senior Veterinarian
Colonel, Veterinary Corps, US Army Reserve
Public Health Command Region – Europe
Landstuhl, Germany
2007-2013 DIMA Director
Colonel, Veterinary Corps, US Army Reserve
DoD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service
San Antonio, TX
1992-2007 Active Military Duty
US Army Veterinary Corps:
2006-2007 National Capital District Veterinary Command
Fort Belvoir, VA
2003-2006 Chief, Internal Medicine and Outpatient Clinics
DoD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service
San Antonio, TX
2000-2003 Chief Veterinarian
Japan District Veterinary Command
Okinawa Branch
1997-2000 Resident in Small Animal Internal Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine, UF
Gainesville, FL
1994-1997 Staff Veterinarian
Okinawa Branch Veterinary Services
Okinawa, Japan
1992-1994 Chief Veterinarian
Edwards Branch Veterinary Services
Edwards Air Force Base, CA

Professional Memberships

  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • International Association for Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • American Veterinary Dental Society
  • American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians

Selected Publications

  1. Jones J, Tucker T, Tan J, Pierce B, et al. Improving understanding of early behavioral indicators of lumbosacral disease in working dogs using 3d visualization of skeletal movements during working tasks: feasibility study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, (20 March 2013) 1-7.
  2. Jones J, Tan J, Tucker T, Foxworth J, Long B, Pierce B, Harper T. Whole body CT, motion capture, and 3D computer animation findings in three working dogs with early onset lower back pain. In: Abstracts of the 7th International Working Dog Conference. Journal of Veterinary Behavior Volume 2012, 7(1): 56.
  3. Kiss CM and Pierce BJ. The Rational Use of Screening Tests in Senior Wellness Programs. NAVC Clinician’s Brief, May, 2010.
  4. JC Jones, JC Tan, TJ Tucker, BJ Pierce, et.al. Feasibility for Using Multi-slice CT, Motion Capture, and 3D Computer Animation to Model Joint Movements in Working Dogs. Poster session, American College of Veterinary Radiology Annual Forum, October 2009.
  5. Pierce BJ. Physical Rehabilitation and Acupuncture As Tools Of Multimodal Pain Management In Working Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. Nov/Dec 2009 Volume 4(6): 243-244.
  6. Pierce BJ. Physical Conditioning and Injury Prevention for the Working Dog. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. Nov/Dec 2009 Volume 4(6):250-251.
  7. Thomas T, Lascelles D, Roe S, Marcellin D, Brosey B. Comparison of measurements obtained by use of an electrogoniometer and a universal plastic goniometer for the assessment of joint motion in dogs. Am J Vet Research, 2006; 67(12):1974-1979.