Skip to main content

Veterinarian-Client Relations - Jun 18th, 02

For most of us, our formal education might have ended upon graduation from high school or college. With our trusty sheepskin, we entered bravely into the world of the gainfully employed, with only the occasional nightmare of imagining having enrolled in a class we never attended or showing up clad only in books and boxers reminding us of classroom days. For your equine veterinarian, however, school is never out.

Case in point is the annual convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Should you attempt to ring your veterinarian during December, it is very likely that your veterinarian, or one of his or her associates, is attending this convention. Nearly half of all veterinarians whose practices focus on the horse attend this continuing education meeting. This is just one of several opportunities veterinarians have to receive required "continuing education" credits.

In most states, your veterinarian is required to document these continuing education credits--much like the hours per semester you earned--to the state licensing agency in order to retain his or her license and continue performing as a veterinarian in that state. In some cases, veterinarians carry licenses in multiple states and are therefore required to fulfill each state's licensing requirements.

While the benefit to the veterinarian might be obvious, the benefit to you as a horse owner is even greater. For example, while attending the AAEP convention, your veterinarian will be able to learn more about what makes a test for equine protozoal myelitis (EPM) a "false positive" or "false negative;" how new treatments for EPM can be effective; whether or not riding a horse while it has the flu is a good idea; whether or not foal vaccinations are effective and what kind of vaccinations work best; how to work with problem pregnancies; and ways to better handle injuries, like fractures or joint problems, as well as approximately 90 other choices.

Your veterinarian also uses the time to mingle with other practitioners, sharing difficult cases, new treatment ideas, and other information that further stimulates a greater wealth of knowledge in your veterinarian.

"So," you might say, "shouldn't they have learned all this stuff when they were in school?"

Well, the fact is, either this "stuff" wasn't even around when your veterinarian was in school, or the information has become much more sophisticated and effective. Either way, you're still the winner. With your veterinarian taking a few days away from his or her practice to attend one of these meetings, you can be sure that your horse is going to receive better treatment in the long run.