I was accepted on a first application attempt with a 3.21 cumulative, but that was several years ago and my science and last 45 hours GPAs were both quite strong (3.7ish).
You can certainly make up for and get into vet school with a cumulative GPA that low, but a lot will depend on how the rest of your application looks—particularly your other GPAs—as well as which school(s) you’re aiming to apply to, as some care more about that cumulative GPA than others. A few, like Iowa State and Kansas State, don’t consider the cumulative GPA at all beyond ensuring that you meet the minimum to be eligible to apply.
Basically, we’d need much more information to really tell you where your chances lie.
It’s much easier to get in with a lower cumulative GPA if your science grades are generally good and/or you have a strong upward trend than if your GPAs are all lower across the board.
Your goal shouldn’t be to apply as many times as it takes to get in. Your goal should be to beef up your application and apply smartly in a way that maximizes your chances of getting in.
Having a good science GPA and good last 45 GPA is very important in a case like this. You want to prove to schools that your low grades are behind you. You also want to make sure that your experience and extracurriculars are good. Do you show that you’re a well-rounded individual? Do you show that you have a good understanding of the field? This can be demonstrated in multiple ways, from having a lot of experience or varied experience. There’s no one way to get into vet school, but a sure way to get rejected is to be deficient in multiple areas.
My GPA wasn’t great. It was around a 3.32. However, my last 45 GPA was around a 3.75 I believe. I also had a lot of experience in veterinary medicine as well as other animal fields. As Elkhart said, it’s difficult to say how you’ll fare without more information. But this is our experience.