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Dr. Jean-Yin Tan Recognized as AAEP’s Good Works Recipient for June

Jul 12, 2019

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) applauds Dr. Jean-Yin Tan, the June honoree of the Good Works for Horses Campaign, whose commitment to Indigenous communities near Calgary is not only improving the health of horses in underserved areas, but also preparing students to enter practice and planting in them the seeds of community service.

Good Works for Horses honors AAEP-member practitioners who perform volunteer service to benefit horses and the equine community. Horse owners and veterinary professionals are encouraged to nominate AAEP members for this monthly recognition.

Identifying an opportunity to bridge both the clinical needs of students and the need for preventive veterinary care in nearby Indigenous communities, Dr. Tan, an instructor of equine clinical sciences at the University of Calgary, implemented annual clinical skills labs at the Tsuut’ina Nation in early 2018. During these labs, second-year veterinary students perform physical examinations, deworming and vaccination of horses at no cost and with vaccines donated by Boehringer Ingelheim and Zoetis.

The labs revealed a broader need for primary care services. Over 17 months, Dr. Tan worked with university officials and members of the Tsuut’ina and Siksika Nations’ equestrian communities to resolve funding, logistical and off-site communication challenges before receiving approval for a two-week rotation for fourth-year veterinary students at both Indigenous communities.

The rotation launched in June with four students administering veterinary care to 65 horses under the supervision of Dr. Tan and another faculty member. Students performed physical exams, deworming, dentistry, castrations and lameness workups as well as higher-level services such as a full respiratory workup with bronchoalveolar lavage. Students also received plenty of practice in the important art of owner communication and relationship building. Between the labs and rotation, students have provided nearly $50,000 worth of veterinary services to 113 horses.

Dr. Tan, who joined the University of Calgary from private practice in 2015 for the responsibility and reward of shaping future equine veterinarians, hopes to expand the program to more than one rotation and to more students and other Indigenous communities.

“It would be one thing for me to go out there and do this myself but being able to involve the next generation of veterinarians is more fulfilling,” said Dr. Tan. “They not only learn the skills, but they also learn about the opportunities out there to do some good in our communities. That’s a lot more powerful.”

Throughout 2019, the AAEP’s Good Works for Horses Campaign will spotlight AAEP-member practitioners whose volunteer efforts are improving the health and welfare of horses. To discover the Good Works of AAEP veterinarians or nominate a Good Works candidate, visit the AAEP website. For more information on nominating a veterinarian for this program, contact Giulia Garcia at ggarcia@aaep.org.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

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