Have you ever wished for newer and better treatment for a sick horse? The AAEP Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), is working to meet this need. Created in 1994, the AAEP Foundation's mission is to improve the health and welfare of the horse through research, education, benevolence, and equine industry support.

One of the AAEP Foundation's primary goals is to give veterinarians and horse owners a voice in determining the type of research most needed in equine health. To help determine the most pressing health issues, the AAEP Foundation draws on the expertise of its member veterinarians, who are unequaled in their ability to identify critical health concerns. The AAEP Foundation annually hosts a symposium on a specific health issue, inviting researchers and practitioners from around the world to examine what we know now and identify the work that needs to be done in the future. In 2004, the AAEP Foundation tackled laminitis, and this year the focus will be colic; both are health conditions that affect thousands of horses each year.

Horse owners also play an important role in the pursuit of equine research. The Aringo Immune Disease Research Fund was established by a horse owner through the AAEP Foundation to study equine autoimmune deficiency. When the devastating disease claimed her horse's life, his owner wanted to help others by uncovering increased treatment options. Veterinarians and owners alike can find out about current research projects funded by the AAEP Foundation, the American Quarter Horse Association, the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation, and the Morris Animal Foundation at www.equineresearch.net.

Horses can only continue to get state-of-the-art care if talented young veterinarians pursue equine medicine. Educating the future practitioner is another important aspect of the AAEP Foundation's work. Scholarships are awarded annually to help fourth-year veterinary students pursue their dream of practicing equine medicine. In addition, the AAEP Foundation will soon begin sponsoring short courses at colleges of veterinary medicine on the topics of emergency preparedness and dentistry. Through financial support and educational opportunities, the AAEP Foundation is reaching more future equine veterinarians than ever before.

The Foundation's impact also extends to immediate needs within the equine community. When Florida veterinarians and horse owners faced four catastrophic storms in just six weeks last fall, the AAEP Foundation joined with others to help. The AAEP Foundation donated funds to help supply area veterinarians with satellite telephones that were deployed just before Hurricane Jeanne hit. The telephones ensured the quick response of the veterinary community to equine emergencies. The AAEP Foundation also supports groups such as the FFA, 4-H, and North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.

Since the AAEP supports the administrative expenses of the AAEP Foundation, donations received can be used totally for programs. Donations are received from both AAEP members and horse owners; there are many ways to include the AAEP Foundation in your philanthropic endeavors. The Equine Memorial Program allows you to make a donation in honor of a beloved equine companion or a friend who has experienced the loss of a horse. The "What Do I Owe You Doc?" program encourages horse owners to donate to the Foundation when they receive complimentary services from a veterinarian. General donations are always welcome, and planned giving provides another way to preserve your legacy of dedication to your horse. Many people, when planning their estates, include the AAEP Foundation in their wills, or donate a life insurance policy, stocks, or a 401K fund to the Foundation.

As horse lovers, we all understand the need to care for our animals in the best way possible. Dedicated to improving horse health and welfare, the AAEP Foundation is in a unique position to be a global leader in achieving a better future for equine health.

The AAEP Foundation is deeply appreciative of the generosity of its supporters. Your contribution directly benefits our work in ensuring a healthier future for the horse. Please remember to consult a professional financial advisor to assist you with all planned giving options. For more information about the AAEP Foundation, see www.aaep.org/f_mission.php, contact Amelia Geran at ageran@aaep.org, or call her at 859/233-0147.

About the Author

Nat White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS

Nat White, DVM, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, is the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director at Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. After receiving a doctor of veterinary medicine at Cornell University in 1971, he completed an internship and residency in surgery at the University of California-Davis from 1971 to 1973, and earned a master of science in pathology at Kansas State University in 1976. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Dr. White, who has served on the faculties of both Kansas State University and the University of Georgia, joined the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in 1985, and held the position of Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Surgery at Virginia Tech from 1987 to 2003. A world-renowned expert in colic, Dr. White has authored several books on the topic including Equine Acute Abdomen and Handbook of Equine Colic as well as the surgical texts Current Techniques in Equine Surgery and Lameness and Current Practice of Equine Surgery. He has been a director for the ACVS Veterinary Symposium since 1997, and is a past president of the ACVS and of the ACVS Research and Education Foundation. Dr. White is a former director-at-large for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and is currently AAEP President. Dr. White's research interests include pathophysiology of ischemia-reperfusion, epidemiology of colic, abdominal and orthopedic surgery, and treatment of orthopedic diseases. He is a member of the AAEP, the ACVS and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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