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An Investigation into Equine Nutrition Knowledge and Educational Needs of Equine Veterinarians.

  • Nichols, Jyme L1
  • Robinson, J Shane2
  • Hiney, Kris M3
  • Terry, Robert Jr4
  • Ramsey, Jon W4
  • 1 Bluebonnet Feeds, 100 Mill St. SE, Ardmore, OK 73401 USA.
  • 2 Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, and Associate Director, Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Oklahoma State University, 304B PIO Building, Stillwater, OK 74078 USA.
  • 3 Animal and Food Sciences and Extension Specialist for Horses, Oklahoma State University, 201J Animal Sciences, Stillwater, OK 74074 USA.
  • 4 Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, Oklahoma State University, 449 Agricultural Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078 USA.
Published Article
Journal of veterinary medical education
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2023
DOI: 10.3138/jvme-2021-0121
PMID: 35143362


This study investigated equine nutrition knowledge and educational needs of licensed veterinarians in the United States who were exclusively or predominately equine practitioners. It found veterinarians regard their peers as an important resource of nutritional knowledge, ranking ahead of all other sources except a PhD equine nutritionist. Interestingly, only 21% of veterinarians felt good about their knowledge level in equine nutrition after graduating from veterinary school. Although veterinarians in this study reported equine nutrition to be an area of weakness, 75% had not pursued continuing education in the field of nutrition within the last year. Additionally, they devoted only 65 minutes per year on average to improving their knowledge of equine nutrition, yet the majority (82.2%) had been providing nutritional advice to clients. This study revealed that time spent practicing veterinary medicine increases (p < .001) a veterinarian's self-perceived knowledge level of equine nutrition, shifting from just below average after graduation from veterinary school to just above average at the time of this study. The majority (70%) of veterinarians in this study believe nutrition is very important in their practice philosophy, and 71% showed interest in taking online continuing education courses; thus, curriculum should be developed and offered in areas of need as identified by this study. These areas include insulin resistance, equine gastric ulcer syndrome, equine metabolic syndrome, performance horses, equine pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, equine polysaccharide storage myopathy, and arthritis/joint pain, along with how to assess nutritional status during general wellness examinations.

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