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Survey of colleges and schools of veterinary medicine regarding education in complementary and alternative veterinary medicine

Mushtaq A. Memon BVSc, PhD, DACT1 and Leslie K. Sprunger DVM, PhD2
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

Abstract

Objective—To obtain information on educational programs offered in complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) among AVMA Council on Education (COE)-accredited colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Design—Survey.

Sample—41 COE-accredited colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Procedure—A questionnaire was e-mailed to academic deans at all COE-accredited colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Results—Responses were received from 34 of 41 schools: 26 in the United States, 2 in Canada, 3 in Australia and New Zealand, and 3 in Europe. Sixteen schools indicated that they offered a CAVM course. Nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and rehabilitation or physical therapy were topics most commonly included in the curriculum. One school required a course in CAVM; all other courses were elective, most of which were 1 to 2 credit hours. Courses were usually a combination of lecture and laboratory; 2 were lecture only, and 1 was laboratory only. Of the 18 schools that reported no courses in CAVM, many addressed some CAVM topics in other courses and 4 indicated plans to offer some type of CAVM course within the next 5 years.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The consensus among survey respondents was that CAVM is an important topic that should be addressed in veterinary medical education, but opinions varied as to the appropriate framework. The most common comment reflected strong opinions that inclusion of CAVM in veterinary medical curricula must be evidence-based. Respondents indicated that students should be aware of CAVM modalities because of strong public interest in CAVM and because practitioners should be able to address client questions from a position of knowledge.

Abstract

Objective—To obtain information on educational programs offered in complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) among AVMA Council on Education (COE)-accredited colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Design—Survey.

Sample—41 COE-accredited colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Procedure—A questionnaire was e-mailed to academic deans at all COE-accredited colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Results—Responses were received from 34 of 41 schools: 26 in the United States, 2 in Canada, 3 in Australia and New Zealand, and 3 in Europe. Sixteen schools indicated that they offered a CAVM course. Nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and rehabilitation or physical therapy were topics most commonly included in the curriculum. One school required a course in CAVM; all other courses were elective, most of which were 1 to 2 credit hours. Courses were usually a combination of lecture and laboratory; 2 were lecture only, and 1 was laboratory only. Of the 18 schools that reported no courses in CAVM, many addressed some CAVM topics in other courses and 4 indicated plans to offer some type of CAVM course within the next 5 years.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The consensus among survey respondents was that CAVM is an important topic that should be addressed in veterinary medical education, but opinions varied as to the appropriate framework. The most common comment reflected strong opinions that inclusion of CAVM in veterinary medical curricula must be evidence-based. Respondents indicated that students should be aware of CAVM modalities because of strong public interest in CAVM and because practitioners should be able to address client questions from a position of knowledge.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Memon (memon@vetmed.wsu.edu).