The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation recently announced its funded programs for 2012-2013, among
which are the AAEP student chapter short courses on equine veterinary dentistry and equine podiatry and farrier work.
The AAEP Foundation provides $30,000 to support the short courses, which take place annually at selected AAEP student chapters
at various veterinary school venues. Both courses are conducted 12 times a year. Each school has the opportunity to host a
dental or farrier program on an equal rotation that occurs over a three-year period. A total of six courses each are conducted
during the spring and six each during the fall. Since the inception of these short courses, more than 250 courses have been
conducted, educating more than 4,000 veterinary students.
Hands-on care: At recent AAEP student chapter short courses, Robert Menzies, BVSc
Dentistry short course presenters are volunteer AAEP practitioner members. Stipends are not paid to these presenters. However,
funds are used to support speaker travel expenses and other needs and equipment for the courses. Pfizer Animal Health helps
support the dentistry short courses as a sponsor. The farrier and podiatry short courses also involve volunteer AAEP practitioners
as well as local invited farriers.
Randall Verink, DVM, demonstrate the details of dental care for horses.
Equine dentistry short course
The purpose of the dentistry short course is to ensure that veterinary students are introduced to the recommended dentistry
core competencies for entry-level and first-year veterinarians. Core competencies for entry-level veterinarians include:
1. An understanding of the anatomy and physiology associated with equine dentistry
2. Knowledge of the dental formula and eruption schedules of equids
3. Recognition of oral pathology
4. Performance and documentation of an oral examination
5. An understanding of the dentistry treatment principles and performance of primary dental care procedures.
Recommended dentistry core competencies for first-year veterinarians include:
1. Understanding deciduous tooth management
2. Performing regional nerve blocks of the head
3. Performing dental radiography.
Bruce Whittle, DVM, of Honey Creek Veterinary Hospital in Trenton, Mo., is an instructor and has participated in the AAEP
student chapter dentistry short course program for a number of years. He usually conducts about two courses a year. Student
participation varies greatly from school to school, depending on examination schedules. The dentistry course on average accommodates
up to 30 students.
"When we have high participation at a given short course," Whittle says, "we have to be creative to make sure as many students
as possible get as much hands-on experience as possible in the limited time we have available.
"Since it's voluntary for the students, those who do participate are extremely interested," continues Whittle. "I love doing
the short courses—interacting with the students—as I often learn things from them, too. It's a very neat experience."
Whittle says that sometimes he has to tailor the course to the students, depending on their experience. "The lecture remains
pretty much the same, but what we're able to do in the lab varies a lot," he says. "Sometimes we get more first- and second-year
students and sometimes more third- and fourth-year students. There's a lot of difference between the first- and fourth-year
students as far as confidence, experience, etc., since those in their later years are more advanced and already involved in