Small animal professorship allows Dr. Bryan Torres to introduce vet students to gait and motion analysis and encourage further research in the field

By Amy H. Carter

As far back as he can remember, Dr. Bryan Torres (DVM, 2003) wanted to be a veterinarian. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be,” he said. In June of 2023, Torres joined the faculty at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where he holds the Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Professorship. He is an associate professor of orthopedics and sports medicine and is board-certified in small animal surgery as well as veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation.

“We end up seeing a wide variety of companion animals, including a lot of agility dogs, a lot of working dogs, like police dogs, military dogs. They have all the types of injuries that you would think of as a professional athlete. They get stress fractures, they get muscle and ligament injuries, things like that.

Although he’s a native of Clemson, S.C., the University of Georgia has played a big role in Torres’s success in the field. Since the age of 14, it’s been his only job.

He got his start in the field working for UGA alumnus Dr. James A. Eidson (DVM, 1960) in his Clemson veterinary clinic. In 2003, Torres earned his DVM from UGA and stayed for an internship. He later entered general practice in Duluth, GA. “I loved it, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something else. I wanted to specialize.”

So he returned to UGA, where he found a mentor in Dr. Steve Budsberg, professor of orthopedic surgery at the CVM. Torres served as a research fellow under Budsberg, then stayed at UGA for his residency in small animal surgery followed by a Ph.D. in physiology.

In 2015 Torres joined the faculty at the University of Missouri. Using the knowledge he gleaned from Budsberg’s own motion lab at UGA, Torres set about building a gait analysis lab for Missouri’s vet school.

The gait lab features a system of cameras that utilize infrared light and reflective markers to record subject movement and create video models that allow for further analysis.

“We built it from the ground floor up and developed it into one of the most advanced labs in the United States as far as a veterinary gait analysis lab,” Torres said. Some of the notable projects in the lab involved prosthetics and orthotics for dogs, as well as screening for hip disease in puppies and dogs training as service animals.

But UGA called again when Budsberg retired. By then Torres and his wife had two growing sons and aging parents back in Georgia, so the opportunity to return and continue the work in the motion analysis lab at UGA came at a good time.

Torres said the funds that come with the endowed professorship he holds will be used to continue the work that Budsberg started. He will be introducing students, interns and residents to gait and motion analysis and encouraging research to expand the field.

“They’re starting their careers. I’m in the middle of mine, but it’s fun to see them start and get some projects underway that they can get excited about, you know, to get them excited about research. Those are all things that, if they want to go on to an internship and a residency, which many of them do, they’ve got to start somewhere. I was lucky enough to have mentors like Steve Budsberg help guide me and so my goal has always been to give back and try to follow the example he gave me, which was to support the younger generation.”

The focus of the lab is to improve mobility and quality of life for companion and working animals.

“Animals have been involved in work and sport as our companions for millennia. They’re critically important and valued members of our families and it’s tough to see them suffering,” Torres said. “If we can help with that and help improve their comfort, that’s phenomenal.”


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