A Crisis is Coming: How is Kentucky Preparing for the Large Animal Vet Shortage?

KENA Dinner and Discussion Hosted by the Kentucky Horse Council

The looming crisis in large-animal veterinary care has been recognized for years, but it wasn’t until recently that the ramifications of this deficit have made themselves known. While horse owners in Central Kentucky might feel insulated from the effects of a veterinarian shortfall, most of the Commonwealth – and the United States — is not immune to the situation.

Though there are many facets compounding the rapid decline of practicing large-animal vets, efforts are being made to try to entice vets to enter or stay in large-animal medicine. To learn what some of these initiatives are, the Kentucky Horse Council’s (KHC) next Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) dinner will host a panel of experts on Tuesday, November 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park Visitor Center in Lexington.

Though most horse owners are aware of what they can personally do to alleviate some of these pressures vets feel, including lack of a work-life balance, increasing debt loads and lack of adequate pay, stress and escalating on-call requirements, what is being done to address this issue on a larger scale? Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture and the state’s veterinary community have proposed multiple ways to encourage those in vet med to stay with a large-animal focus.

KENA attendees will learn about some of these ideas as well as have the chance to ask questions of those leading the charge. Presenters include Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Katie Flynn and Debra Hamelback, executive director of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA). Questions from the audience are welcomed.

During the dinner, Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director Lee Carter will apprise attendees of the updates slated for the Park in 2023 and beyond. A brief annual meeting for Kentucky Horse Council members will be held before panelists speak in the Ovation Theater in the Visitors Center. The Kentucky Horse Park gift shop will remain open for attendees to get a head start on holiday shopping before the meal is served. Kentucky Horse Council members get 20 percent off all purchases in the KHP gift shop. Become a member here.

KENA is part of the Kentucky Horse Council’s mission to use education and leadership to protect Kentucky horses and support Kentucky horsemen and women. KENA meetings are held quarterly and bring together equine professionals and horse enthusiasts from all breeds and disciplines. Attendees share ideas, business strategies, and obtain up-to-date information on horse and farm management, as well as on issues affecting the equine industry.

KENA is made possible by the generous support of the Equine Land Conservation Resource, Excel Equine, Lexington Equine Medical Group, Mend.Horse, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, the University of Louisville Equine Industry Program and USA Equestrian Trust.

For details and reservations for the November 15 event, click here. Tickets are $30. Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here.

ABOUT THE KENTUCKY HORSE COUNCIL: The Kentucky Horse Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community through education and leadership. The Kentucky Horse Council provides educational programming; health and welfare programs; outreach and communication to equine enthusiasts; equine professional networking opportunities through the Kentucky Equine Networking Association; and trail riding advocacy. Learn more at kentuckyhorse.org

Kentucky Horse Council
Sarah Coleman, Executive Director
330 518 9001 / sarah@kentuckyhorse.org