AAEP Convention 2005: More Veterinary Students Going Into Equine Medicine

A few years ago the American Association of Equine Parishioners identified a disturbing trend: The number of veterinary graduates pursuing careers in equine medicine was dwindling. Long hours, low pay, and lack of expertise were seen as common

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A few years ago the American Association of Equine Parishioners identified a disturbing trend: The number of veterinary graduates pursuing careers in equine medicine was dwindling. Long hours, low pay, and lack of expertise were seen as common causes of the trend. In an effort to counter this negative perception, the AAEP–with the help of several large equine hospitals and private practices–established the Avenues internship and externship program for veterinary students and graduates. The program offered students an additional year to work and learn in a practice setting.


In 2001, 69 internship positions were available. Four years later there are 180 positions available, with 140 positions filled in 2005.


Rick Lesser, DVM, of the Equine Clinic at Oakencroft in New York, told the members of the Practice Management Forum that he was encouraged by those numbers. “This is the type of trend we are hoping to see. Young students are coming out of vet school and working as an intern at an equine practice for a year.


“The perception of why not to become a veterinarian–poor hours, equipment and practice expenses, and low pay–was frankly deserved by the profession.” He explained that equine practices had to correct their management problems and encourage graduates to consider a career in large animal medicine, which is the reason for the AAEP internship program

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Written by:

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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