There is currently a global shortage of veterinary pathologists in all sectors of the discipline, and recruitment of toxicological pathologists is a particular problem for the pharmaceutical industry. Efforts to encourage veterinarians to consider alternative career paths to general practice must start at the undergraduate level, with provision of structured career guidance and strong role models from pathology and research disciplines. It is also imperative that both the importance of biomedical research and the role of animal models be clearly understood by both university staff and undergraduates.
Traditionally, much post-graduate training in toxicological pathology is done "on the job" in the United Kingdom, but completion of a residency and/or PhD program is recognized as a good foundation for a career in industry and for successful completion of professional pathology examinations. New models of residency training in veterinary pathology must be considered in the United Kingdom to enable a more tailored approach to training toward specific career goals. A modular approach to residency training would allow core skills to be maintained, while additional training would target specific training requirements in toxicological pathology. Exposure to laboratory-animal pathology, toxicology, research methodology, and management skills would all be of benefit as an introduction to a career in toxicological pathology.
However, long-term funding for UK residencies remains a problem that must be resolved if future recruitment needs in veterinary pathology are to be met.