Monday, March 16, 2009

AVMA Considers Specialty in Sports Medicine for Veterinarians

by Fran Jurga | 16 March 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

The American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is the authority charged with recognizing the sub-categories of veterinary medicine which a practitioner can pursue. Often recognized by the term "diplomate" or "board-certified", veterinarians can and do pursue advanced credentials in surgery, internal medicine, and reproduction, for example; there are currently 20 specialties within veterinary medicine.

For years, many in the hoofcare camp have grumbled that there was no specialty in podiatry, or even lameness, for that matter.

Recognizing the void in specialities for equine practitioners and those interested in lameness--and sensing the dedication of those who are hard at work in this field--French professor Jean-Marie Denoix has been offering a specialized and quite advanced course in imaging and diagnosis of lameness under his ISELP--International Society for Equine Equine Locomotor Pathology--which offers eight modules of advanced education in lameness problems; completion of all eight conferences then qualifies candidates to undergo a competency examination for Society certification.

While Denoix's program carries with it the tremendous respect attached to anything bearing his name and the top American veterinarians who are working with him in the program, ISELP is not part of the larger AVMA system of "colleges" or specialties in veterinary medicine. It is however, very specific to equine medicine and biomechanics.

This week the AVMA announced that it is considering a recognition of sports medicine and rehabilitation as a new "recognized veterinary specialty organization." This speciality would not be specific to horses, and would cover other species. Things don't happen overnight in the AVMA; the organizing committee of the proposed American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation submitted a letter of intent to the ABVS in 2003 and a formal petition for recognition of the specialty organization to the ABVS Committee on the Development of New Specialties in November 2008.

The ABVS will be collecting comments from the veterinary community and the public regarding the proposed new specialty organization. The comment period closes on November 1, 2009.

Photo/radiograph by Tim Flach, from the book Equus, available from Hoofcare and Lameness.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to