Rural veterinary care

 

In this article:
  • Learn about the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and other strategies to increase veterinary care in rural areas.
  • Take action on legislation to protect and expand these programs.
  • Find out how to apply for the VMLRP and the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP).

Timely veterinary care is key to detecting and preventing highly contagious animal diseases, like foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza—as well as maintaining a healthy, safe food supply. But regional shortages of livestock and public health veterinarians leave farm animals at risk.

For many years, some rural communities have suffered from inadequate access to livestock and public health veterinarians. AVMA is a leading supporter of federal legislation and policies that address these access gaps by providing student loan support, federal grants and other assistance to help veterinarians serve rural communities.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) helps place food animal and public health veterinarians in high-need rural areas by providing strategic loan repayment help in exchange for service. The AVMA was instrumental in implementing this program, which has been tremendously successful in placing veterinarians into federally designated veterinary shortage areas. But applications for the program routinely exceed available funding, leaving many veterinary shortage areas unfilled.

Learn more about the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program and how Congress can increase its effectiveness.

Take action

Take action


Legislation in Congress—the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act—would end a tax on program awards in order to maximize the program’s reach without expanding its budget footprint. Ask Congress to pass this legislation and close veterinary access gaps in rural communities.

Contact your lawmakers

Regional shortages of livestock and public health veterinarians are leaving farm animals at risk.

Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP)

Like the VMLRP, the Veterinary Services Grant Program targets specific rural areas that lack adequate veterinary services for food animal care and public health. Through grants to private practices, nonprofits, and veterinary schools, the VSGP proactively addresses veterinary workforce gaps. For instance, the program has provided grants for a private food animal practice to buy mobile equipment to reach a broader geographic area, funded training programs that help recruit food animal veterinarians to rural areas, and supported critical food animal residencies. The AVMA is working with Congress to support generous funding to this program.

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Visit AVMA CAN to learn about opportunities to contact Congress.