WASHINGTON, March 23, 2012 / At the recent 2012 Annual Conference of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), veterinary medical colleges teamed up with the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare (PPPH) — including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and pet product companies — to develop plans to address the economic issues facing companion animal practices.
At the conference, experts conveyed that visits to veterinarians are in decline, despite higher pet ownership, with implications for veterinary businesses, veterinary medical education, and pet health.
Consequently, they are promoting more of an emphasis on preventive medicine as an important part of curricular changes for veterinary medical students who are interested in companion animal practice. The conference workshop involved discussion of the concept, suggested models for this type of program, and the economic importance of this approach for career-ready graduates from veterinary colleges.
The proposed curricular changes included many recommendations from the North American Veterinary Medical Educational Consortium (NAVMEC), which released a report in 2011 calling for the inclusion of broader competencies in veterinary medical education that encompass economic and business management practices, and "One Health" — the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working together to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. "The incorporation of these principles, along with the experience gained from clinical experience, is an important part of the curricular and clinical offerings for integrating preventive practices into general practice," said veterinarian Bennie Osburn, the AAVMC's interim executive director. "The profession is calling for these practices as a way of preventing costly, catastrophic diseases by increasing preventive pet visits."
Veterinary medical colleges are interested in coordinating efforts with PPPH in order to assist the profession by having new graduates ready and prepared for this new approach to companion animal practice. The AAVMC plans to assist veterinary colleges in developing these programs for their respective colleges.