Dr. Chris Bell, CVMA president
WCVM graduate and adjunct professor Dr. Chris Bell is the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's new president. Photo: CVMA.

WCVM graduate and adjunct professor becomes CVMA president

Dr. Chris Bell, a Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) graduate and adjunct professor at the veterinary college, is the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) 74th president.   

Bell was appointed to the CVMA’s top role on July 25 during the national organization’s annual conference in Halifax, N.S.

Bell grew up on his family’s horse farm in Airdrie, Alta. He attended the University of Saskatchewan (USask) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree (high honours) in microbiology and immunology as well as his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at the WCVM in 2006.

After graduating, Bell completed a one-year clinical internship at the Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Gilbert, Ariz. He then returned to the WCVM to complete a three-year surgical residency program along with a Master of Veterinary Science degree. He’s also a board-certified equine surgeon (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons). Since 2012, Bell has owned and primarily practised from Elders Equine Veterinary Service near Winnipeg, Man.

Bell has presented at provincial, national and international levels in the areas of equine lameness, ethanol fusion of the hocks, MRI diagnosis and treatment of navicular disease, orthopedic diseases, and development of balloon sinuplasty techniques in horses.

In a 2018 interview with WCVM Today, Bell said he decided to specialize in surgery because he liked the immediacy of the process: “I always liked the way you could see results to procedures right away, and that you were able to return sore horses back to health — just the expression on people’s faces when they saw their horse walk out of surgery and know that they were going to be able to get their friend back and get their horse back.”

Bell has maintained his connection with his alma mater and is an adjunct professor of equine surgery and sports medicine in the WCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Elders Equine is a host hospital and participates in senior veterinary student rotations, veterinary internships and surgical residency training through a distributed learning program. A number of WCVM-based students have trained with Bell at his practice. Bell is also a member of the college’s educational advisory committee and represents Manitoba’s horse community on the Townsend Equine Health Research Fund’s Advisory Board.

Bell serves his veterinary colleagues through multiple commitments to the CVMA and the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA). He was recognized in 2019 with the MVMA Award of Merit for contributions to his colleagues, the profession and the MVMA. Bell is a member of the CVMA Canadian Veterinary Reserve as well as chair of both the CVMA Emerging Leaders Program and the MVMA’s Student and Early Career Engagement Committee.

He is active in Manitoba’s equine community and is a member of several committees and boards such as the Manitoba Horse Council (MHC) Breeds and Industry Committee. He also serves as an MHC consultant.

At the national and international levels, Bell is the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ liaison with the MVMA, and he is a board member of the Canadian Equine Veterinary Advocacy Alliance.

In 2020, Bell joined two of his WCVM classmates to establish Grant Park Animal Hospital, a small animal-focused practice in Winnipeg. He operates the hospital’s canine sports medicine service. When he isn’t working, Bell enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters at their cabin or fishing at the lake.

Click here to read CVMA news release.