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  1. #1
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    Sep. 14, 2013
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    Default The Need for Good Repro Vets? Thoughts?

    So I've been toying with this idea for a while now and it doesn't want to get out of my head. What is the demand for a good repro vet? I mean someone interested in everything from your standard man-in-a-can handling and breeding to doing more complex procedures including flushing and embryo transfer? And would it be preferred if said vet that did ET had recipient mares on property or not a must (as I would prefer not to have to maintain a large recipient mare herd)? I know usually colleges have ET services and recipient mare herds.

    I'm thinking long-term goals but if certain things aren't super important it'd be nice to know ahead of time.

    Is the demand more in a vet that can come out at all hours to check for ovulation and breed? To maintain frozen semen w/out misplacing, using, or damaging it? To properly manage difficult to breed mares?

    Let me know a little bit about what YOU like in a repro vet. Or if you think it's not worth it (I would have to go back to school at this point for 5ish years).



  2. #2
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    Jan. 28, 2002
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    Default

    Just to throw another alternative out there...we don't have any good repro vets in our area at all, so I took the time to attend courses and one-on-one training with Kathy St. Martin & Jos Mottershead from www.equine-reproduction.com I know do our own palpating, ultrasounding, flushing, breeding (fresh & frozen), collecting and freezing semen. I realize not everyone can afford it or has the time to do everything themselves...but it has saved us a ton of money in the end and at least I know it's been done correctly. So, in my case, a repro vet is not needed. To be honest, more and more Stallion and Mare Owners are starting to learn to do their own repro work so that they don't always have to rely on a vet.
    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
    Home of Oldenburg & RPSI approved pony stallions Daventry's Power Play & Goldhills Brandysnap
    Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals www.EquineAppraisers.com


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Ooh I like that alternative! Cheaper than some undergrad and vet school!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Keep in mind that most repro work is covered under each state's veterinary practice act. Ultrasounding and palpating mares that you don't own is usually practicing veterinary medicine without a license, but each state is different.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Dec. 15, 2005
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    Default

    As long as the economy is good, I think there is plenty of demand for good repro vets. Lots of vets do some repro work, but if you are doing ET, it is much easier to be good if most of your practice is repro.

    Taking the repro course sounds like a great idea if you do a huge amount of repro on your own farm. However, my understanding is that you would not be licensed to charge and do repro work for others. That would be practicing veterinary medicine without a license.



  6. #6
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    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    Default

    Having one here has been a game changer for local breeders. http://bandaleroranch.com/services

    With package deals for breeding services, I know of one mare in foal to a stallion with very challenging frozen (only one US foal I know of) because the breeders were able to take advantage of the services there. It wouldn't have been financially viable for them to make the gamble on that stallion otherwise.

    For my mare I may want to breed in the future but right now just want to find the right answer for her comfort in her heat cycle, the option of having a repro specialist to work with is hugely helpful. If I do breed I'll want to do embryo transfer (for myself, not to sell) and having a local vet to do it is hugely helpful.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yourcolorfuladdiction View Post
    Ooh I like that alternative! Cheaper than some undergrad and vet school!
    No, I just meant that, for me personally for example, I have no use for a repro vet...as I do my own work.

    Please note that in Canada and the United States, you can perform palpations and ultrasounding on your own mares, but you cannot perform them on client mares without a veterinary license. In Canada, for example, I cannot perform embryo transfers on mares not owned by myself, as it is considered an invasive veterinary procedure, but I can perform embryo transfers on my own mares. Every State/Province may have different rules and regulations. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that you can just go and open up shop and hang out a sign.

    While there are some repro specialists working without a veterinary license, they work closely with a veterinarian so that everything is overseen, monitored and properly follows the veterinary guidelines and State/Provincial Laws.
    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
    Home of Oldenburg & RPSI approved pony stallions Daventry's Power Play & Goldhills Brandysnap
    Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals www.EquineAppraisers.com



  8. #8
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    Mar. 11, 1999
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    Default

    I don't know how lucrative it is be a theriogenologist, but to me, it is too expensive to breed to not use one. I have a repro. vet I use for all my frozen semen breedings, as well as any mares who give a whisper of being a problem. She also maintains my small collection of frozen semen. In the end, it saves me money. I'm aware that there is the option of doing it myself, but for a variety of reasons I choose not to do that.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses
    www.mysticowlsporthorses.com



  9. #9
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    Default

    I am answering this question as a veterinarian that originally wanted to do just that. In order to make a living solely as an equine repro vet requires you to offer all facets of stallion management, mare management and advanced techniques such as ET, embryo freezing, etc. If you just wanted to do the "mare side" of things you would essentially not make a living from June-Feb. You would have to supplement your time doing generalized equine medicine. If you are managing stallions you get some work in the "lean months" of semen evaluation and freezing. Even then it would be tough. The guys that are truly just repro specialists (think Select Breeders and such) have large businesses offering all aspects of repro work.

    You also have to live in an area with a high population of breeding horses (all breeds...QHs, Tbs, WBs, etc.) to stay busy.

    Also, you will have no life and little sleep during the spring between semen collection, mare management and foaling out. For me that meant no show season which I was unwilling to give up. I also chose not to be a slave to all night and all weekend work during breeding season.
    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2011.html
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2012.html


    3 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Mar. 11, 1999
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    Clayton, CA USA
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    Default

    We live in an area where there is some breeding, but what there is seems to have really declined. It is my understanding that equine vets in general barely make ends meet, so I honestly can't imagine how a repro. specialist would make a living, at least here. The vet I use does have a big practice and does all aspects of reproduction, and I hope that it works for her; I would hate to see her leave.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses
    www.mysticowlsporthorses.com



  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blume Farm View Post
    I am answering this question as a veterinarian that originally wanted to do just that. In order to make a living solely as an equine repro vet requires you to offer all facets of stallion management, mare management and advanced techniques such as ET, embryo freezing, etc. If you just wanted to do the "mare side" of things you would essentially not make a living from June-Feb. You would have to supplement your time doing generalized equine medicine. If you are managing stallions you get some work in the "lean months" of semen evaluation and freezing. Even then it would be tough. The guys that are truly just repro specialists (think Select Breeders and such) have large businesses offering all aspects of repro work.

    You also have to live in an area with a high population of breeding horses (all breeds...QHs, Tbs, WBs, etc.) to stay busy.

    Also, you will have no life and little sleep during the spring between semen collection, mare management and foaling out. For me that meant no show season which I was unwilling to give up. I also chose not to be a slave to all night and all weekend work during breeding season.
    Excellent summary Blue Farm! I think it's easy to forgot that there really isn't any money to be made during the fall and winter.
    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
    Home of Oldenburg & RPSI approved pony stallions Daventry's Power Play & Goldhills Brandysnap
    Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals www.EquineAppraisers.com



  12. #12
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    Default

    Well said Blume farm. Most of us went into vet medicine because we love it, the money part is NOT why we do this. I am a therio, but I am in a mixed practice that does general equine work as well as small animal work. Since 2008, there has been a drop in the equine population by 20%, and it is not coming back ever to that level. I love reproduction, but it by no means would support my practice in itself. To the OP - do it because you love it, not because there is or will be a huge demand for those sevices, because I am sure that there is not going to be increasing demand . After 30 years, I still love seeing that first black dot, or getting that difficult mare in foal. That's what it is all about.. And yes, it means no time off and sleepless nights from Jan to July, .


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Feb. 27, 1999
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    Default

    OP, you haven't really mentioned this, but going to vet school is a MAJOR commitment. Unless you're independently wealthy, if you go to NC State, you will leave with about $100k in student loan debt, maybe more. MUCH more if you go to Tufts or another private school. (I don't know where you legally reside.) There is a lot of current work looking at our debt load versus our salaries and the dropping number of available jobs, and the numbers are frightening.

    Being a veterinarian can be an incredible rewarding career, but there is SO MUCH more that you would have to learn and do than just equine repro, that I can see how for someone who has such a focused interest, it would be very difficult to get through the four years.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    Keep in mind that most repro work is covered under each state's veterinary practice act. Ultrasounding and palpating mares that you don't own is usually practicing veterinary medicine without a license, but each state is different.
    I missed the part where I saw VetTech CE on there and forgot to say that out loud Means I can work for someone with no life and possibly try and have a life a few weekends a year tehehe

    ETA:

    Blume you pretty much answered my question right there. I'm totally okay with managing stallions (I'm actually a lot more okay with that than an ET recipient herd) but even then it sounds like slim pickings at the top.

    I'm legally located in NC, so it would be State, but I've also got a fantastic school for getting a vet tech degree and that seems like a lot less of my life and a lot less school debt (as I already have some from the first go 'round). Pretty sure I can't afford to go take a tour of Tufts let alone attend lol.

    So big question... as a Vet Tech... what would I be able to do? Because right now it just sounds like I'd be a glorified horse holder/poop collector. >.<
    Last edited by yourcolorfuladdiction; Aug. 21, 2014 at 10:13 PM.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourcolorfuladdiction View Post
    I missed the part where I saw VetTech CE on there and forgot to say that out loud Means I can work for someone with no life and possibly try and have a life a few weekends a year tehehe

    ETA:


    So big question... as a Vet Tech... what would I be able to do? Because right now it just sounds like I'd be a glorified horse holder/poop collector. >.<
    That is about accurate. Also, I can't imagine there are too many jobs open for techs to specialize in equine repro just because there are not too many equine repro specialists. Since you are in NC you may want to speak to the tech that manages the repro department at the vet school. She is super nice and would most likely be able to give you the realities. I am not sure going through RVT school and then trying to specialize as an equine repro tech has any merit.

    Why don't you see if there are any job openings at any of the large repro facilities? Then you can see first hand if this is something you want to do and what real opportunities are out there. I would think that are more options in the VA/Md area. You also might be able to find an opportunity working as a breeding manager at a farm that stands stallions (i.e.; a place like Hilltop, Hassler's etc.).

    Or better yet...look for an opportunity working overseas in Europe on a breeding farm
    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2011.html
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2012.html



  16. #16
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    Sep. 24, 2007
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    Default

    I was an equine tech at a breeding facility, not a great way to make a living wage, though I loved the job. We did ET flushes (I was at the back holding the container for the flushed embryo), stood stallions (6 or 7 at the height of breeding) foaled out mares, had mare herd for breeding on farm (one stallion there did not ship so mares came to him) but no recipe mare herd, embryos were sent to Colorado. I handled the stallions, handled mares and foals and handled mares coming in for breeding whether to stallions stood there or to outside stallions. We also collected outside stallions. I worked 10 hour days during breeding season, we had over 200 horses on the farm. Now that same clinic has no stallions, foals out a several mares a year and the big field that held all the open mares there for breeding now is being cut for hay. Business in breeding tanked.

    There are a few big WB breeding facilities and of course the TB industry in KY, FL TB has drastically dropped. You would pretty much have to go to the area where the breeding is big business still. BTW I did not have a tech degree, I do have a BS in Biology and years of experience of handling stallions, mares, foals etc. I left for several reasons, vet was hard to work for, one stallion was extremely dangerous and tried to take my face off (was not being paid enough to take that risk) and my DH and I were trying to get pregnant, kind of hard to do working 10 hour days and then having my own horses to deal with at home.

    Tech positions really do not pay well for long term wage earnings. Maybe if you were at a vet school, but not at private facility usually.



  17. #17
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    Default

    Merph, thanks for the response Blume. That was kind of what I was thinking. I'm affiliated with a small breeding operation here (1 mare atm) that might be getting a little bigger. Our youngster looks like we might be aiming towards stallion testing him depending upon his scores at the AHS inspection. We will be doing ET next year with the mare while she begins her competition.

    I'm currently in the 'trainer' position but with such a small operation I need to be capable of doing more. I'm not sure if I feel a bit insufficient as the owner of the business is a VMD and has a PhD in Pathology and DH of other trainer is on his way to his DVM. So maybe it's time to sit down with them and ask what would help in the long term with the business as maybe I'm just feeling insufficient with no enough letters at the beginning and end of my name. >.<



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