Vet Outreach: Building Bridges
By Debra Bonnefond
Did you know AKC Veterinary Outreach …
- Serves as the bridge between the AKC and the veterinary community
- Administers over $170,000 annually in scholarships to veterinary students and veterinary technician students
- Distributes The Complete Dog Book to graduating vet students at each of the 28 U.S. vet schools
- Provides through its sponsorship a co-branded breed poster to the veterinary community free of charge
- Oversees the AKC Veterinary Network
These are just a few highlights of AKC Veterinary Outreach, the bridge between the veterinary community and the AKC. We are here to meet the needs of practicing and future veterinarians, as we tailor products and resources to better serve these valuable ambassadors. In the past year, the program was able to expand with the signing of the sponsorships agreements with Bayer K-9 Advantix and Royal Canin USA, Inc.
During the year, the AKC is represented by the Vet Outreach booth at six major veterinary conferences. At these conferences, we talk with and establish relationships with different members of the veterinary staff—vets, vet techs, and office managers and the key members of the associations that are hosting these conferences. AKC literature and a co-branded breed poster are distributed. This literature is also available to the veterinary community once they return to their practices.
In addition to the literature, we also try to educate the vets on the value of working with breeders and make them aware of new AKC initiatives. At several of the veterinary conferences the Vet Outreach booth is joined by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and AKC Companion Animal Recovery booths, thus forming an AKC mall. Veterinarians are commonly surprised to see the breadth of areas the AKC is involved in.
Just as members of the fancy believe juniors are the key to the future of our sport, we believe that of vet students. Vet Outreach is putting together a comprehensive plan through our sponsors to provide vet students the necessary materials to help understand the purebred dog. For the last three years the gift of The Complete Dog Book has been distributed to graduating vet students in each of the 28 U.S. vet schools. To date, over 7,000 books have been distributed.
The AKC offers scholarships to both vet students and to vet-tech students. Recipients of both of these scholarships have been a member of the fancy or have an interest in purebred dogs. The vet-student scholarships have been offered annually for the last 16 years. This scholarship fund has increased from $50,000 in 1991 to $145,000 today thanks to AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) sponsorship. Each of the last three years, 23 recipients were chosen and received awards between $5,000 and $15,000.
The vet-tech scholarships, recently established with the help of our sponsors and the National Association of Veterinary Technician in America, have been awarded over the past three years.
In addition, Vet Outreach conducts detailed presentations about the AKC to students and faculty vet schools, and more of these programs are being planned.
The most recent addition to the Vet Outreach Program has been the development of the AKC Veterinary Network. The AKC launched the AKC Veterinary Network Certificate Program in August 2006 to help start puppies on a lifelong health-care plan. All newly registered puppies now receive a certificate for a complimentary veterinary office visit. These certificates may be redeemed at one of the practices participating in the AKC Veterinary Network. These veterinarians receive the latest information on purebred dogs and canine health research from the AKC. Currently, 3,288 practices have opted into the network. (More information here.)
As we move forward, the Vet Outreach program looks to build on the current attributes of the program and bring forward new initiatives, which you will be hearing about soon.
Debra Bonnefond, AKC director of Veterinary Outreach, has been an active member of the fancy for over 30 years.