Survey sheds light on parenthood and equine work

Half received at least two months of maternity leave, but not all the news was good.

Survey sheds light on parenthood and equine work
7 percent of equine veterinarians did not return to work after giving birth.

An overwhelming majority of equine veterinarians were generally satisfied with how their practices treated them during their pregnancy, according to a survey.

The results, reported Dec. 1 in the magazine EquiManagement, also found that 1-in-3 respondents took maternity leave of four weeks or less and that 18 percent cut back to part-time work or quit their job.

The article, written by Amy Grice, VMD, MBA, concluded that there is room for improvement and that as more women than men become veterinarians, “Accepting the new demographic reality of the profession requires embracing change.”

“Male practice owners need to look through the lens of the young women they employ and become familiar with their different perspective,” Dr. Grice wrote.

The 135 survey respondents — 96 mothers and 39 fathers — were drawn from two listserv groups managed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Among the findings:

  • 51 percent of women took at least two months of maternity leave after the birth of their first child. Nine percent took a week or less.
  • Two-thirds of female veterinarians returned to full-time employment after their leave. Eleven percent switched to part-time work permanently, and 7 percent did not go back.
  • 1-in-4 female veterinarians used a nanny for child care when they were back on the job, 1 in 5 paid for day care, and 1 in 10 relied on their spouse. Fifty-four percent of male veterinarians said their spouse provided the child care.
  • 43 percent of female veterinarians reported being “very satisfied” with how they were treated by their practice from the time of the pregnancy announcement to the birth. Twenty percent were “satisfied” and 21 percent were “fairly satisfied.”
  • Sixteen percent of female veterinarians were “not at all satisfied” with the treatment. One commented: “I was told to hide my pregnancy, and then I was told, two weeks after a C-section, on the day my daughter was discharged from NICU, that I would be fired if I was not back to work in one week. We had previously agreed on six weeks’ leave. I had gone into acute kidney failure and delivered via emergency C-section. When I called to say I was being admitted to the hospital, I was screamed at and berated.”