Obviously many things, but the quote I am thinking of is: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” That is now the theme of my life thanks to veterinary school. Most recently, I felt very naive while sitting at the AVMA Public Policy Symposium in September. For those of you who have not heard of or been to this meeting, here are the basics. It occurs every two years and brings the AVMA (both from headquarters and the Governmental Relations Division), state policymakers, state veterinary medical associations, veterinarians, and students together for a day and a half.
One of the main themes this year brought me to the Einstein quote. This topic was the relationship between veterinarians and shelters or humane societies. Most of my experience in this realm has been either in Oregon or here at veterinary school, which I learned is not the case in most places. I think I was most perplexed because veterinarians and shelters/humane societies have similar goals, but two different avenues of reaching them. What I learned, however, is that some places do struggle with this relationship. There is more of a competitive spirit between the two than I realized. Another dimension of this conversation are mobile clinics. Some states have reported that these clinics will set-up in a parking lot across the street from a veterinary clinic.
I am still new to the discussion, but my understanding of the situation is that there is a large portion of pets that go without proper veterinary care. Shelters offering “reduced-cost” spays, neuters, dentals, vaccines, and other preventive care can be perceived as competing for potential business for veterinarians.
Regardless of individual opinions, different areas of the country are exploring legislative measures to control the situation. I am definitely motivated to remain engaged in the issues and keep an eye on potential legislation. My hope is that those affected by the legislation participate as well.