Governance changes brought about a new procedure at the 1999 American Association of Equine Practitioner's Convention held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A forum replaced the committee format from previous years. The forum exists to provide everyone who attends a chance for dialogue and expression of opinion, rather than a committee chairman conducting the business among the committee members with the attending audience acting as spectators. Under the old regime the committee would discuss and the visitors would listen. The forum is designed to bring all into the discussion so that the concerns of the membership in the various areas could be aired.

Harry Werner, the liaison to the Forum, opened the Purchase Examination forum and turned the proceedings over to Jerry Black, DVM, who acted as facilitator. If something comes from the discussion that needs to be done, Warner will present that to the AAEP Board.

Old business from last year's Purchase Committee concerned the guidelines for purchase exam. Rick Mitchell, DVM, the chairman of last yearís committee, was charged to look at the wording and see if the guidelines needed to be changed. Mitchell stated that the guidelines have stood the test of time fairly well. However, some legal issues had arisen concerning the reading of results and it was felt that the guidelines needed additional wording for partial examinations. For example, if blindness were not discovered during a lameness exam, should the veterinarian be held responsible. Additional wording might help the practitioner to avoid being held responsible in partial purchase exams vis a vis a full scope purchase exam.

Following this portion of the meeting, Black opened the forum to discussion of immediate concerns that arise in veterinary practice concerning purchase exams. Foremost in the minds of those assembled concerned the horses sold at public auction because of the type of exams that are conducted there, the partial exam.

This concern led to the discussion of the repository set up to house radiographs and other pertinent medical information on horses entered for public auction at the Thoroughbred yearling sales. The repositories had been set up by the sales companies, with some input from veterinarians. Consignors were tired of horses in their consignments being radiographed and scoped many times. Thus, with the repository there would be 32 films plus letters, certificates, etc. With all of this information in a central location, the data would be available to all veterinarians for review.

This discussion brought up the question of radiograph ownership. From the legal standpoint who owns the radiograph. The forum felt that this was a matter that had to be resolved. The forum consensus was that the radiograph should be owned by the veterinarian who generated the film. Some felt that perhaps two copies of each radiographic view should be shot. That way there would be one copy of the film to go with the horse and the other one kept as a record. In answer to whether there would be a diminished quality in one of the copies, it was felt that there is a trivial amount of difference between the two pieces of film in a double-loaded cassette.

Another question of concern was the situation in which a veterinarian is put in the position of changing a purchase exam to a lameness exam on the spot. The general consensus was that if the owner of the horse was not present, that the veterinarian must get the permission of the owner before proceeding. Having the owner's permission is the key in such a situation. If the owner can't be found at the time or if there is no agent for the owner present, then the veterinarian might suggest a revisit for the lameness exam.

Standardization of purchase exams was another area of discussion. Is it possible to do? Is it desirable to do? Certainly many of the aspects of a purchase exam are subjective. Differences among people would lead to looking for different things in different ways. It was brought out that in other countries there is standardization of reporting. It was thought that if there were a standardized reporting/recording form that a certain liability might attach if all aspects of the form were not completed. A recording list is important, whether the client sees it or not, because is acts as documentation for what the veterinarian has done. It is generally standard in the industry that there's some type of report generated. In fact, the person who has ordered the exam will get some kind of report of the findings.

After the discussion, the forum concluded that nothing should go to the Board for consideration.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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