AVMA, AAEP Release New Communication-Focused Guide for Equine Practices

Veterinarians and their teams can use the free Effective Equine Care Guide to develop healthy communication and positive partnerships between staff and horse owners.

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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) have teamed up to release the Effective Equine Care Guide, a free resource veterinary teams in equine practice can use to develop healthy lines of communication and positive partnerships between staff and horse owners.

The release of this resource comes on the heels of recent data from the AVMA that found nine out of 10 veterinarians in companion animal practice indicated they’ve experienced negative or escalated client interactions in the past year. When asked if a resource outlining shared expectations and responsibilities could help strengthen their relationship with clients, seven out of 10 said yes, and a new survey of 1,000 pet owners conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital found nearly eight out of 10 clients agree. Additional survey findings from Banfield and the AVMA can be found here.

“The release of the Effective Equine Care Guide marks a significant step forward in the care of horses in the United States,” said Rena Carlson, DVM, president of the AVMA. “This collaborative effort, at its core, is about nurturing the relationships between veterinarians, their teams, and horse owners to ensure the best possible care for these magnificent animals. Through open communication and mutual respect, this guide will empower both veterinary professionals and horse owners, leading not just to healthier horses, but also stronger, more positive relationships in our professional lives. This is essential in our mission to advance the health and wellbeing of animals, and reflects our ongoing commitment to support the veterinary profession in all aspects of their invaluable work.”

The Effective Equine Care Guide is modeled after last year’s Positive Pet Care Guide, a resource developed by the AVMA and an industry-wide working group that outlines shared expectations of both veterinary professionals and pet owners to help foster healthy and effective communication and encourage an environment where each veterinary interaction is rooted in a supportive, safe, and inclusive environment for all.

The Effective Equine Care Guide, which can be printed and displayed in the clinic or provided to clients as a helpful tip sheet, outlines descriptions of the complementary behaviors and treatment veterinary teams and clients can expect from one another to drive mutual trust and respect. For example, clients should expect to “e seen on time, or be notified of any delay, knowing that life-threatening illnesses or injuries will be prioritized over routine appointments.” Veterinary teams ask, in return, that clients “e ready on time with your horse appropriately restrained for your appointment, or call ahead if you’re going to be late or need to reschedule or cancel.”

“When the relationship between an equine veterinarian and an owner is rooted in mutual trust and respect, it is the health and welfare of the horse that benefits the most,” said Katie Garrett, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, 2024 AAEP president. “The AAEP is tremendously appreciative of this opportunity to partner with the AVMA on behalf of every horse doctor and client.”

This resource will be housed on the AAEP’s website and made available to veterinary professionals industry-wide.


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