Your vet is not thoroughly trained in equine dentistry.
Your vet is not trained to be a farrier.
Your vet is not thoroughly trained to assess your horse’s spinal alignment.
“To become an equine veterinarian, you must obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from a college or university accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). A DVM program takes four years to complete. Generally, the first three years of the program involve coursework useful for all types of veterinary practice, such as anatomy, histology, veterinary neurobiology and reproductive physiology. The fourth year is dedicated to clinical rotations through several areas of veterinary care like large animal medicine, surgery, critical care and ambulatory care.”
A simple google search tells us that equine vets are not trained only about horses- in fact, their first 3 years of school include learning about a wide range of animals and all the different aspects of animal care.
Much like my accounting degree- the first degree (four years) exposes you to the broadest aspects of the field you intend to go into and it's foundational principals.
It's the study AFTER those first 4 years that helps to determine what a person’s specialty will be. Some vets choose not to get into a specialty- and that’s great! Because we need vets that can mend wounds, diagnosis illnesses, and attend to the general well-being of our horses.
However, specialists are important!
And it’s important that we assemble a team of specialists to work with and assist our vets.
As most horse owners are aware, our veterinarians are in short supply and many are overworked and burned out.
The best way we can help our vets is to enlist the help of other equine professionals- saddle fitters, massage therapists, equine dentists, etc.
Just because these professionals are certified and don’t have a DVM degree, doesn’t mean they aren’t educated or able to help your horse feel their best and reach their highest potential.
In fact, I have found that the most passionate, effective, and dedicated horse care professionals are those certified in specific aspects of horse care. Much like a DVM, they continue to learn about their craft- they invest in continued education and they want to do the best they can for every horse they meet.
I have also found that while it sounds expensive to have so many different professionals involved with your horse, it is actually more cost effective- because it is more efficient. Problems are solved faster- or even prevented.
And really- doesn’t that just make sense? That is what we do for ourselves- we have a team of professionals from varying backgrounds to attend to our own health because they have done in depth study on one particular facet of human health and function.
We don’t ask our primary doctor if our teeth look okay before we bother scheduling an appointment with the dentist or if they think we would benefit from a massage leading up to or after strenuous activity.
So- do yourself and your horse a favor- assemble a care team for your horse!
Preferably, a team of professionals that are open to input from one other. A team of people just as dedicated to seeing your horse happy, healthy, and functional as you are. A team of people that are always willing to learn and grow- because that team of professionals will always be better than one thinly stretched veterinarian.
*If you happen to be in Michigan March 10-12, 2023- come see me at the Michigan Horse Expo!