Amber Itle, a veterinarian with the Washington State Department of Agriculture since 2013, has been named the new state veterinarian. She succeeds Brian Joseph, who retired last summer.
Itle first joined the department in 2013 as a field veterinarian and was named assistant state veterinarian in 2017, according to a WSDA press release. After Joseph retired last summer, Itle was appointed as the acting state veterinarian.
During her time at the State Department, Itle responded to animal disease outbreaks, including avian influenza in 2014-2015 and rabbit hemorrhagic disease in 2019. In recent years, she has worked to increase awareness of the office of the state veterinarian, expanded the use of identification tags in the state’s livestock industry, built infrastructure to support animal disease traceability statewide, developed documentation of guidance in responding to animal welfare cases and provided subject matter expertise on animal care issues during natural disasters.
In the statement, Derek Sandison expressed confidence in Itle’s ability to lead the state veterinarian’s office and said she “is well regarded by our state’s livestock industry and cares deeply animal health and welfare”.
In his new role, Itle will manage the department’s animal health, avian health and animal disease traceability programs, which aim to protect animal health and welfare, contain and eradicate animal diseases and protect public health by limiting exposure to zoonotic diseases. She is the current president of the US Animal Health Association and the Western States Livestock Health Association. She also chairs several animal health and welfare committees with the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, according to the statement.
Itle grew up on her family’s fourth-generation dairy farm. She learned to do everything from milking cows and bottling milk at the processing plant, to running a milk route for door-to-door delivery service. Her father and sister are also veterinarians. She spent 10 years as a veterinarian for cattle, horses, and sales yards in the private sector before joining the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Itle holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters degree in Animal Welfare from Columbia University. British. Her hobbies include hiking, skiing and mountain biking, and she is married with three children.
She can be reached online at agri.wa.gov or by phone at (360) 902-1800.