Contact Information

Phone: 517-353-9710

Fax: 517-432-1042


Veterinary Medical Center - North Building (Wings A - E)
736 Wilson RD, Room A203
East Lansing, MI 48824


  • DVM
  • MS

Dr. Frank Nickels earned his DVM and MS degrees from Washington State University in 1969 and 1974, respectively. While working on his master’s degree, he became one of the first people in the country to do arthroscopy on horses. There were only a handful of people doing work on arthroscopy at that time, and most of them were in human medicine. He had an internship at WSU and then stayed on as an instructor and worked his way up to associate professor with tenure. He was certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1980 and came to MSU in 1981, where he has been ever since. He is now a full professor.

He has wide clinical interests, including orthopedic, upper airway, and urogenital surgery, and is especially interested in equine podiatry. He runs a laminitis rehabilitation program at the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Fridays and will probably open a podiatry clinic there soon. In 2007, Dr. Nickels was inducted into the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame at the International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Personal Information

Dr. Nickels was raised on a farm in the state of Washington. His family had cattle, sheep, horses, and some cash crops. He’s had an interest in horses since he was a kid and always wanted to be a veterinarian. He also wanted to be a rodeo roper. Instead, he wound up riding bulls, and he remained active in rodeo through college.

He and his wife Roxy started racing horses in Washington in 1974 and have been active in breeding and racing thoroughbreds here in Michigan. They currently have eight thoroughbreds, of which three are in training. Their household also includes a blue tick hound named Abigail and a number of barn cats.

When he’s not at work at MSU, he’s always busy doing something on the farm or remodeling the house. He is also an avid reader.