‘Are UK Vets Ready for EU Exit?’: Your Weekly Veterinary News Crunch 20 August 2020
The weekly rundown of veterinary news for the time-poor vet, presented by VetX International
Are UK Vets Ready for EU Exit?
As the UK and EU enter the seventh round of negotiations, UK vets are calling for clarity. New, more vigilant guidelines for veterinary checks on exports and imports, as well as new rules for pet travel movements, are coming into place. However, many vets are worried they are unprepared.
The BVA (British Veterinary Association) has called for clarity and is warning that preparations cannot start until the UK and EU have reached an agreement.
BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said: “We remain concerned that if the UK cannot reach agreement with the EU, we won’t have the capacity to meet the increased demand for veterinary certification. A huge amount is at stake and we need urgent clarity to give our sector time to prepare.”
“Veterinary certification is an essential part of trade. It ensures consumer confidence in products by protecting animal health and welfare and public health. If we don’t have enough vets with the right qualifications in the right places, it could have a significant impact on UK industry.”
The government guidelines can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit
UK Vet Nurses Could Take on an Expanded Role
Possible updates to Britain’s Veterinary Surgeons Act mean that veterinary nurses could be performing cat castrations, play a greater role in anesthesia and prescribe some routine medications (exact details are yet to be confirmed).
“The legislation working party believes that veterinary nurses are more than capable of expanding their roles and that the RCVS should have flexible powers to allow delegation to veterinary nurses where the evidence shows no significant risk to animal health and welfare” said RCVS Director of Communications, Ian Holloway.
An expanded role would ‘open doors’ for veterinary nurses, provide statutory protection to prevent unqualified individuals from adopting the term ‘veterinary nurse’, and potentially provide a more efficient service.
“They’re good changes, and I think they’ve been a long time coming, to be honest, especially in the role of anesthesia,” said Chloe Fay, a 29-year-old veterinary nurse who works at New Priory Vets in Brighton, England.
US Vet Students and Grads From Underrepresented Backgrounds Create Spaces of Their Own
Young veterinarians and vet students are leading the way when it comes to promoting diversity in the profession.
Groups such as BlackDVM Network, Latinx VMA and the Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals are committed to sharing stories, having a voice and growth.
Dr. Tierra Price started the BlackDVM Network in 2018, sharing stories of Black veterinary professionals on Instagram. She said, “If I had this in my undergraduate years, I would have felt more comfortable and confident in the profession,” noting that 2% of veterinarians are Black, according to 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “What are the odds of people organically meeting a Black veterinarian? I saw value in sharing their stories.”
“It’s a platform for us to come together and have a community, pool our resources, and address the issues we see,” said Dr Price. “It is hard to face discrimination on top of everything else in veterinary school.”
New UK Vet Grads Feel ‘Woefully Under-Prepared’
The pandemic, which has pushed UK veterinary students’ learning online, has left new graduates feeling underprepared and questioning the structure of the veterinary degree.
Current final-year student at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, Bryanna Andrews commented: “I should have started my hospital rotations on the 1 June, but these have been pushed back until the 24 August, meaning my cohort will have lost three months of in-person, hands-on training compared to a normal graduating class, training that is vital to mould us into competent vets by graduation.”
“This has highlighted the drawbacks of leaving so much of our practical teaching to the last year of training. Too much reliance is placed on final-year rotations and externships, and because much of our final year has been disrupted by the pandemic, we now feel woefully underprepared for entering the profession. We need to adapt the vet degree for when events like Covid-19 strike again in the future.”
The full story can be accessed here: https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/187/3/122.full
Covid-19 Grants for US Veterinarians
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has partnered with VCA Animal Hospitals to begin providing COVID-19 grants for veterinarians. VCA Animal Hospitals and the AVMF, AVMA’s charitable arm, are each donating $50,000 to create the new COVID-19 disaster relief grants.
“Veterinarians have often been able to remain in business during the COVID-19 outbreak, but they and their teams have not been immune to the fallout and hardships associated with the virus,” said Dr. John Howe, chair of the AVMF Board of Directors.
“We truly appreciate the generous support of VCA Animal Hospitals, as well as previous disaster relief grant partners Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis and NAVTA, in stepping up to help our colleagues in need with some much-needed financial support during these unprecedented times.”
AVMA members can apply for the new grant program at avmf.org/CovidVetGrants.
More information can be found here: https://www.avma.org/blog/avmf-provide-covid-19-grants-veterinarians
Australian Border Restrictions Will Impact Vet Practices
From Friday 21st August, anyone crossing the South Australian-Victorian state border must be pre-approved for essential work. This could cause issues for veterinary clinics near the border, such as the loss of clients and the suffering of animals who cannot access a clinic.
Bordertown Veterinary Clinic owner Rebekah Densley said she risks losing 40% of her clients, all from western Victoria, due to the new restrictions. The next closest veterinary clinic for her Victorian clients is about 160 kilometres away in Horsham.
“The other thing is that the Horsham clinic doesn’t do large animals, so our large animal clients are really hamstrung in that sense”, said Dr Densley.
“[It] essentially does mean animals will suffer and die.”
She added, “I think we had a workable system before, where our cross-border community members were fronting up once a week for a COVID test to be able to come into South Australia.”
Free Veterinary Camp in India’s Bangus Valley, Kupwara
A free veterinary camp has been set up for villagers living in the remote area of Bangus Valley, Kupwara. Organised by the Indian Army, with assistance from local veterinarians, hundreds of animals have been treated, who otherwise would not have been able to access such healthcare.
An army officer at the site commented: “On the occasion of the Bangus Valley festival, this free camp has been set up to treat domestic animals in the remotest of areas. In farther areas where there are many horses, sheep and other forms of livestock, veterinary services are not being able to reach them.”
The camp was set up on 3 August and has already helped hundreds of animals living in a remote area with limited access to veterinary care. As well as treating animals in need, the camp aims to provide education to local villagers as to the best way to look after their animals.
The Power of Reading
Taking just 10-15 minutes to read can greatly improve your resilience and decrease stress levels. Reading can help you to escape and place into perspective the stressors you encounter in everyday life.
Reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea. This is because your mind is invited into a literary world that is free from the stressors that plague your daily life.
The reading material you choose doesn’t have to be on a bestseller list, but you must find it interesting. It can be anything: fiction, non-fiction, a gardening magazine or a cookbook!
Here’s what’s on my reading list at the moment:
Bluets by Maggie Nelson: A winding, emotional and lucid novel encountering famous ‘blue’ figures such as Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol.
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell: In a series of essays that are part memoir and part sharp and humorous take on the world, he tackles everything from race relations to comedians and superheroes.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang: This is by no means a light read! However, it is beautiful and utterly absorbing. Part realism, part abstraction, this novel had me hooked – and shocked.