DES MOINES, IA – Citing the growing shortage of pediatricians and family medicine doctors in rural areas, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is set to recommend that veterinarians be allowed to care for infants and children under the age of 4.
“This change will allow for all children to have access to effective medical care,” said Dr. Doug Wilson, chair of the AAP’s committee on Allied Health Fields. “Besides let’s be honest,” he continued, “we’ve been calling pediatrics veterinary medicine for a long time anyways. It’s not like toddlers can tell you anything.”
Dr. Ken Anderson, a veterinarian specializing in porcine and canine health, concurred, “As veterinarians we’re trained to interpret the various cries and non-specific movements that baby animals make and humans are no different. If anything, your average 2 year old dog is a lot better at following directions.”
There is a long history of veterinarians caring for children in rural America. Local Iowan vet, Jim McCauley said, “Whenever we go to a farm for the annual horse check up, parents have been asking us if we can just give a small dose of horse tranquilizer to their children too. A lot of us used to slip them some on the side, but now we’ll be able to do so in full compliance with regulations!”
The AAP report cites the formulaic nature of well child checks admitting that the only thing children really need are their vaccinations and pointing to the fact that animals already have a much better vaccination rate than children. Topics for next year’s meeting will include whether vets can handle deliveries. The report gave some indication of where the committee is heading stating, “If you can deliver a 100 pound infant horse without a dystocia, a diabetes baby is really just a warm up.”
Pediatricians seemed resigned to the changes. Local pediatrician, Anita Shah said, “If family medicine docs are allowed to take care of children after just a few months of training, a vet can’t be any worse.”