Melbourne B. Teigland, DVM, past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and patriarch of South Florida-based racetrack veterinary practice Teigland, Franklin & Brokken DVM’s (now TFB Equine), died April 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was 95.
An Iowa native who attended Iowa State University (ISU) as a ROTC student during World War II and graduated with his veterinary degree in 1945, Teigland embarked on his equine veterinary career in Miami, Florida. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics and most technology and equipped with little more than sulfa drugs and medical folklore, he built a successful predominately pleasure horse solo practice by using his medical curiosity to figure things out.
Following a military commitment from 1950-1953 (during which he oversaw the health of the first American primates to be launched successfully into space), Teigland returned to practice where he contributed to improvements in equine orthopedic surgery and educated others in recognizing, treating and prognosing many equine infectious diseases that emerged in South Florida. Teigland’s openness and willingness to impart his knowledge was unusual among the veterinary community at the time.
He eventually hired associates, two of whom—Benjamin Franklin, Jr., DVM, and Tom Brokken, DVM—became partners in the 1970s when the practice evolved into a mix of pleasure horse and Thoroughbred racehorse care. The practice transitioned exclusively to Thoroughbred care in the 1990s.
Although highly accomplished and respected on his own, Teigland thrived on group practice. He relished conversations with his fellow veterinarians and his partners and associates became better horse doctors because of Teigland’s case analysis, insights and mentorship. Beloved as a natural communicator, he put colleagues and owners at ease with his knack for storytelling and weaving a joke into a tense situation to lighten the atmosphere.
Teigland was among the earliest members of the AAEP and served as the association’s seventh president in 1961. Sixty years later, the practice will be represented by its fourth AAEP president when TFB Equine President and Managing Shareholder Scott Hay, DVM, serves in the position, joining Franklin in 2000 and Brokken in 2008.
In recognition of his contributions to the association, profession and welfare of the horse, the AAEP bestowed on Teigland Distinguished Life Member status in 1984 and the Distinguished Educator Award in 2001. He also received the 1985 Stange Award for meritorious service in veterinary medicine from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine.