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Rural Equine Vet Shortage

Rural Canada has suffered from an equine vet shortage for decades. What can be done to provide services to the far-flung horse owners in this country?

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By: Nicole Kitchener |

At the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association’s 1945 annual general meeting, the province’s agriculture minister announced government subsidies for veterinarians who would extend their services to more pastoral locations. Getting vets to practice in rural vicinities was a problem that had already existed in Canada for at least 100 years – and it still does today. “History’s never changed. You can’t get enough veterinarians into rural areas,” said Dr. Paul Schneider, a Manitoba veterinary industry consultant. He asks, “How do we encourage veterinarians to come into rural areas? But probably more importantly, how do we get them to stay?” Money, of course, is a major factor. Founding member of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and now professor emerita, Bonnie Buntain, was one of 18 experts commissioned to contribute to the National Research Council 2013 report, “Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine.” Buntain said salaries don’t equate to the…

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