Rural Veterinary Experience, Teaching and Service (RVETS) is a 501C-3 non profit organization. We operate entirely on donations from people who believe in us and what we do and who like us think that what we do is important.
The RVETS mission is to promote quality and affordable veterinary care in under served rural areas in the USA and abroad, by providing veterinary students with practical experience and training in the medicine and surgery of horses and other animals. Further, in exposing students to the needs of these communities we encourage future veterinarians to choose rural service as a career.
WHO WE ARE
The founders of the program have over 45 years of veterinary experience, and 70 years of equine experience between them. They have been proving care to animals in underserved areas for more than 15 years.Our founding veterinarian is a former farrier, practice owner, and veterinary school faculty member, as well as a diplomate of both the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Our equine technician has more than 12 years of experience as a surgical assistant, veterinary nurse, and field anesthetist, over 8 of them at the University of California’s veterinary teaching hospital.
The goals of the RVETS Staff are simple: provide each patient with the absolute best care possible, and provide each student with the absolute best learning experience and training possible. There are no frills. This is not vacation. We sleep in the bus or camp out. The community members feed us. The investment is in the supplies, equipment, and teaching materials that we need to do a good job.
The program has lasting effects on the students, clients, patients, and communities that we serve. The students will be more highly skilled and more confident veterinarians regardless of where they choose to practice. This unique program is only made possible through the dedication and hard work of RVETS staff and volunteers, and the contributions of our generous donors.
What's in a name? Well, its all about what we do.
The experience that students gain working with RVETS shapes them on many levels. Students who work with this program learn a variety of techniques, procedures and treatments and improve their skills including horse handling, physical exam, disease and parasite prevention, castration technique, anesthesia, dentistry, lameness diagnosis, wound care, and hoof trimming. Our caseload enables us to provide each volunteer with a greater volume of experience than they would receive in school. In addition, the horses that we see are frequently completely unhandled. Working with these patients, the students are exposed to valuable lessons in equine behavior and handling. The RVETS experience provides the repetition essential to developing skill in medicine and surgery.
The ratio of skilled instructors to students is much higher than in traditional veterinary school laboratories or teaching hospitals. Veterinarians, technicians, and students work and live together 24/7 with no distractions from providing quality veterinary care and learning. In 2010 the veterinary professionals of RVETS provided training to 8 veterinarians and over 50 veterinary students and technicians, while serving almost 1400 patients.
Many of the communities that we serve have no access to veterinary services. This impacts the welfare of both the animals and the people who live there. It leaves clients with no option other than to castrate their own horses without anesthesia, tetanus prevention, or surgical instruments. The stallions suffer seriously and mortality rates are high. Improperly gelded horses suffer from infections, behavioral problems, and pose serious dangers to the community’s residents, particularly women and children.
Without dental care, older horses that have to subsist on coarse forage, work long hours, or deal with severe winters, lose body condition, are unable to work, and can die.
RVETS provides relief from saddle sores, parasites, lameness, dental disease, and a host of other conditions for horses, donkeys, and mules with no other option but to suffer in silence. Providing even the most basic services such as parasite control, vaccinations, and medical advice to our clients, whether they are Mexican villagers or sanctuary operators in the USA, is just one aspect of our program, but has a tremendous impact on the welfare of the animals that we treat.