Advancements in training and technology have elevated the quality of equine veterinary medicine practiced in many industrialized countries. But that high quality of care is not available in many areas of the world.
The World Equine Veterinary Association is working hard to correct that problem, according to Dr. David Hodgson of Blacksburg, Va., head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.
As a member of the association’s board of directors and scientific program chair, Hodgson is playing an important role in their efforts to extend the reach of modern veterinary medicine to horses around the world.
The World Equine Veterinary Association was founded in 1985 as a branch of the World Veterinary Organization. Their mission is to promote equine welfare by providing information and training related to modern equine veterinary medicine in emerging and less-developed areas of the world.
“The vast majority of horses in the world are in countries without the resources that places like America and other knowledge and economic-rich countries enjoy,” explains Hodgson. “Without organizations such as [the World Equine Veterinary Association], many of the veterinarians in these countries would not have access to the benefits of modern equine veterinary medicine.”
Every two years, the association, partnering with local veterinary associations, hosts week-long conventions that feature equine professionals from around the world speaking on the latest treatments and research in the industry, as well as on topics specific to the region. Localities submit proposals to the board, which then selects the host country.
Hodgson participated in their recent convention in Moscow, Russia, where in addition to his duties as a board member, he also presented several research papers. The association also provides smaller, intermediate meetings that are held by local associations throughout the year. To date, these have been held in India and Chile with plans to visit many other countries in the next few years.
While being a part of this organization involves hard work and dedication on the part of Hodgson and his fellow board members, it also comes with great benefits. “To travel to these countries and see the people and animals and the impact we are having on their quality of life is hugely rewarding,” said Hodgson.
As scientific program chair, Hodgson is responsible for organizing the next conference which will be held in Brazil in 2009.
The association is led by a board of fourteen members -- twelve representatives from around the world as well as the two immediate past presidents. Hodgson was elected to the board two years ago as the Australasia representative while he was on faculty at the University of Sydney. He became a North American representative after his move to the United States in July.
Hodgson earned a bachelor’s of veterinary science and a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney. He is a diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and a fellow in both the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists and in the American College of Sports Medicine.
In addition to his immediate past position as a professor and director of clinical teaching at the University of Sydney, Hodgson also served as head of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and veterinary hospital director at that organization. He has also held positions at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Washington State University.
Hodgson has published numerous academic papers and has received many awards for his work, including the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation's Equine Researcher of the Year, which is awarded by the Australian government to the country's leading contributor to equine research.
The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The college annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.