Although this article from Equus magazine is almost exactly a decade old, I found it extremely interesting and informative. In a “True or False?” format, it addresses pressing issues in the equine industry ten years ago…. and many are still hot topics today. It discusses veterinary medicine and the shortage of equine practitioners. Equine slaughter issues, liability issues for barn owners, teeth floating, and microchipping were other topics.
Veterinary school demographics
I found the discussion of the percentage of women vs. men veterinarians to be quite enlightening! Years ago when I graduated from veterinary school, there were 72 in my class, and 24 were female.
Four students were accepted into the veterinary school after 2 years of undergrad, and 23 after three years. The balance had completed four or more years undergrad. Twelve of us were married when we started, and only one was a woman…. me.
The good ‘ole boys
I didn’t feel discriminated against as a woman, at least not until I reached my senior year. Senior year was clinic rotations. I vividly remember the old cattlemen coming to the vet school with a bull who “wasn’t performing”. They hated having to tell their tale of woe to the lady receptionist. Next, they dealt with a lady senior vet student and probably a lady vet tech student. Finally, they’d get to talk to the male clinic veterinarian. Their discomfort was palpable! I’m guessing no one takes an animal to a veterinary school these days and expects to be surrounded by more men than women.
The issue of a shortage of equine and large animal veterinarians is a very real one. It is a hard way to make a living, and much less lucrative than small animal medicine. Even going into small animal practice, considering the cost of the education, the pay can be as little as one third of what an MD can make starting out. According to this article, exclusively equine veterinarians have the lowest income levels. So…. the next time you see your horse vet, let her (or maybe him) know how much you appreciate them!
True or False? Are you prepared in the event of an emergency evacuation of your horse, or an emergency on the trail? If you needed medical attention, do you have insurance and emergency contact information readily available to those who come to your aid? If you answered FALSE, consider protecting yourself with an ID MyHorse Emergency Identification tag. Place one on your saddle and one on the horse. Be proactive and TRULY ride safely.