‘Changes to Test and Trace Advice for Vets’: Your Weekly Veterinary News Crunch 6 August 2020
The weekly rundown of veterinary news for the time-poor vet, presented by VetX International.
Test and Trace ‘Breakthrough’ for Vet Practices in the UK
Previous test and trace regulations in the UK meant that veterinarians were considered ‘contacts’ and could have been required to self isolate. After concerns over the disproportionate effects this may have on practices, with the chance of many having to be shut down, Public Health England has issued new advice.
The nature of veterinary work means it is hard to physically distance. Tracing systems will now assess veterinarians in a similar way to those working in human healthcare settings.
BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said: “The advice to veterinary professionals in England is that as long as you are taking all precautions – such as practising social and physical distancing, practising good hand hygiene and wearing appropriate PPE – you will not be considered as contacts and will not have to self-isolate.”
LA Based Animal Charity Leader, Marc Ching, did more Harm than Good
Veterinarians claim that Marc Ching, leader of the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation, persuaded clients to abandon prescribed treatments and give their pets products he sells at his for-profit pet food store in Sherman Oaks, California.
Although Ching claims to provide alternative therapies to animals, veterinarians claim his therapies often did more harm than good, especially for animals suffering with kidney disease, heart failure and cancer. Emilie Chaplow, a Studio City veterinarian, said she complained to the board after a client told her that Ching recommended giving a diabetic dog a steroid medication that could have killed the animal.
“It was 100% wrong,” Chaplow said. “I tell people if they use him, I will not see them as clients because he is so dangerous.”
Natalia Soto, a veterinary surgeon who works with Chaplow, said two years ago she was treating a dog that needed surgery to remove bladder stones. She said the dog’s owner told her Ching had advised that the stones would dissolve if she gave the pet his supplements.
Several complaints have been made to the California Veterinary Medical Board.
Drs Grace Bransford and Lori Teller to Run for AVMA Presidency
In the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 160-year history, there have only been three female presidents. Drs Grace Bransford and Lori Teller hope to change this by running for presidency in 2022.
Dr. Bransford, who spent a decade in advertising and marketing before embarking on a veterinary career, reflected on her years of volunteer service with the AVMA: “We have achieved a great deal in providing the benefits and services our members have asked for, especially in the areas of government advocacy, economic research and analysis, wellness support, and partnering with other leadership groups in our profession.”
Dr. Teller, a telehealth professor and part-time Houston practitioner, continued, “As president-elect of the AVMA, I can continue to help guide the association to meet the needs of the profession and help us become more proactive in addressing current issues and those just over the horizon.”
MSD Doubles Bursaries for Vet Surgeons in UK
MSD Animal Health has launched three new bursaries, encouraging veterinary surgeons to gain new knowledge and continue developing their research skills. They are being introduced in the areas of swine, poultry and aquaculture, to add to its existing two bursaries in ruminant and one in companion animal research.
Vets are now being invited to apply, the deadline being 30 November 2020. Each bursary is worth up to £4,000. Michelle Townley, veterinary advisor at MSD Animal Health, said: “Good research forms the foundation of the industry and being awarded a bursary has proved to be a career-changing experience for some participants.”
Each project should be completed within one to two years and the vet proposals will be judged by university academics to ensure independent assessment.
The full details can be found here: https://www.msd-animal-health.co.uk/company-overview/research-bursary/
Veterinarians are Stressed, Short-Staffed and Burning Out in the US
The pandemic has exacerbated concerns over short-staffed animal emergency hospitals in America. As of today, there are 542 openings for emergency veterinarians and criticalists, many of which will go unfilled for months.
Stacy Pursell, president of The Vet Recruiter, said there’s been a shortage of ER veterinarians for four to five years, and that about half of all emergency veterinary job openings go unfilled. “In recent years, hospitals have had to cut back their hours due to personnel shortages, posting notices of their reduced hours on social media channels like Facebook,” Pursell said. “I’ve heard of pet owners having to drive two hours to get emergency care.”
The pandemic has put pet owners under economic strain, and they often cannot afford primary care vet bills. This means their animals often end up in emergency care with ailments that have been left too long.
Practice owners also point to the generational shift. Younger vets value work-life balance and are put off by the demanding, variable and unsociable hours emergency care work requires.
Concerns over the Corporatisation of Australia’s Vet Industry
Corporate networks are rapidly expanding in the Australian veterinary industry, leaving practice owners anxious. This comes after the US-owned VetPartners recently acquired National Veterinary Care. The deal, worth close to $250 million, brings more than 100 vet clinics across Australia and New Zealand into the VetPartners network.
Mark Ethell, chairman of Independent Vets of Australia (IVA), believes Independent practices shouldn’t fear, and should play to their strengths: “Successful independent practices are embedded in their communities,” he says. “They have the opportunity to build strong personal relationships, and have the flexibility to offer customised treatments and solutions on a more individualised basis. Corporate-owned practices may not have the same agility to deliver that level of personalisation.”
“Corporate-owned practices will tend to have good business processes in place and operate very efficiently—that’s their bread and butter,” explains Jane Bindloss, Director of SANE Management Solutions. “Independents need to take a similar approach to business management.”
“Corporate networks also invest in good marketing practices,” adds Ethell. “Independents may need to up their game in that department.”
Easy Lunch Recipes that AREN’T a Sandwich
Taking a packed lunch to work is not only a great way of saving money, but means you can prepare something healthy rather than buying junk from the corner shop or being lured to the pizza place with your colleagues. Bringing lunch with you also means you’ll be more likely to set aside time for a proper lunch break. Some of you will be guilty of skipping lunch altogether on busy days, but this creates sugar lows and cravings for the unhealthy stuff.
Here are some of my go-to healthy lunch recipes (you can prepare them the night before, or make extra to stock up your reserves):
Lentil salad with tahini dressing. Lentils are a source of slow-releasing energy, and will provide you the sustenance to get through the afternoon. This recipe contains four of your five-a-day, and is rich in fibre and iron.
Sweet potato buddha bowl. These are all the rage at the moment! This is a good one to prepare in advance, or leave leftovers at dinner time for lunch the next day.
Veggie fritters. These are my favourite things to cook when I’m in a rush, and they can be eaten hot or cold (I personally think they are better the next day). They are so versatile – just chuck in any springtime veg you have to hand – and filling.
Pesto pasta. Pesto takes any dish from boring to delicious.
Asparagus tofu stir fry. The ginger in this really packs a punch, whilst leaving room for the delicate asparagus to come through. Stir frys are so easy, and are perfect for filling those tupperwares with the next day!