Weekly Veterinary News Roundup: ‘A Year of Covid-19: How the Veterinary Profession Has Adapted’

weekly veterinary news

Catch up on this week’s top headlines with the weekly veterinary news roundup, presented by VetX International.

A Year of Covid-19: How the Veterinary Profession Has Adapted

It has been a trying year for the veterinary profession – to say the least. 

However, Veterinarians across the US (and the world) have risen to the occasion, adapting and innovating in the face of adversity. 

Indeed, veterinarians have been at the frontline of this pandemic, assisting in SARS-CoV-2 response and treating animals amidst stressful circumstances. 

The rise in pet ownership has made practices busier than ever (read the story here), and this demand has seen the rise in telemedicine and other technological advances. 

Amidst the advances in veterinary medicine, the pandemic has equally exacerbated existing problems such as burnout, compassion fatigue and suicidal ideation. 

Melissa Mace, executive director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Examiners Board, stated that:

‘(Veterinarians) are a unique group of people who have a unique group of stressors, which can be more exacerbated in some areas.’

Dr Melissa says that she has also seen a rise in complaints from veterinary professionals regarding client communication. 

‘If a client is stressed and doesn’t understand what they’re being told, clinic staff can’t see them to read the body language that may help them figure out their message is not being received, and if there’s a bad outcome, that leads to a complaint and hard feelings.’

Despite these issues, the veterinary profession will continue to adapt during this trying time, and hopefully become more resilient as a consequence. 

Read more at: 

https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2021-03-15/covid-19-year-later-how-veterinary-profession-adapted

Veterinarians Struggle with their Mental Health Amid Pandemic 

As a profession already struggling with a mental health crisis, it is no surprise that the pandemic has worsened an existing problem.

Veterinarians in Canada have been speaking out about this issue, sparking the hashtag, ‘not one more vet’. 

The hashtag was inspired by a viral Facebook post from a veterinarian expressing their grief after losing friends to suicide. 

17% of Canadian veterinarians (taken from a 1,403 sample) have seriously contemplated suicide since starting medical school according to a study by the University of Guelph. 

The rise in demand for veterinary services and lack of work/life balance are two of the issues that are primarily worsening mental health in veterinary care. 

If you are struggling with mental health or experiencing suicidal thoughts, know that you’re not alone. 

If you need support, check out this website if you are in the UK, this site if you are in the US, and this page if you are in Australia. 

Read more here:

https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2021/03/09/b-c-veterinarians-struggling-with-mental-health/

Scots See a Huge Rise in Sick Pets Amid Puppy Buying Boom

A vet from Vets Now veterinary hospital in Glasgow has spoken up about the huge surge in animal illness amid the pandemic puppy buying boom. 

The hospital has been inundated with puppies experiencing sickness and diarrhoea. Vets suspect this is due to owners not getting their puppies vaccinated before taking them out for the first time. 

This has resulted in a surge in canine parvovirus – an infectious disease that can be fatal to dogs. 

Dodgy dog breeders are also partly to blame for this issue, as many are not taking the appropriate precautions needed before selling off their puppies to clients. 

Lara Wilson, an emergency veterinary surgeon at Vets Now in Glasgow, said: 

‘Unfortunately we are seeing dogs presenting with sickness and diarrhoea symptoms on a daily basis at the moment, which is not the normal pattern.’

‘We’re seeing a combination of factors contributing to this continual stream, of cases, mainly down to the effects of the global pandemic.’

Click here to read more:

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scots-vet-sees-huge-increase-23629981

Virtual Work Experience Being Offered for Prospective Veterinary Students

Due to covid, many veterinary students have missed out on practical learning (a key part of veterinary education). 

Many have lost their EMS placements, and are at risk of falling behind. 

To counter this, Vet Mentor, a non-profit social enterprise, has been set up to help students looking for practical experience. 

Virtual sessions, curated by veterinarians across the UK are being offered to secondary school students looking to go into veterinary care. 

They will be able to watch vets deal with clients live in a practice, and then afterwards be able to interact with mentors. 

Alex Davies, chief mentor for veterinary with Vet Mentor, said: 

‘Our network of applying students shared with myself and the chief mentors that veterinary work experience opportunities had been limited to none.’

‘So, we launched a virtual widening access alternative to ensure students have a chance to benefit from all of the essential learning opportunities that work experience has to offer to applying students.’

‘Gaining work experience has always been notoriously difficult – especially accessibility to the agricultural sector. COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem of accessibility to most of the profession.’

Read more here: 

https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/virtual-work-experience-to-showcase-vet-work-to-pupils/

Australian Veterinarian Expresses the Challenges that She (And Many Other Veterinarians) are Facing in the profession on International Women’s Day

Jasmin Klocker, BVSc, a veterinarian from Australia, wrote a moving letter to the University of Sydney Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE) this week, highlighting veterinarian issues on International Women’s Day. 

Klocker owns a busy mixed-animal practice in rural New South Wales. Only three years ago, she lost her husband (who was also a veterinarian) to suicide. 

In the letter, Klocker highlights key issues she and her veterinary colleagues have been facing (particularly highlighting the veterinary shortage in Australia) over the last few years. She hopes to begin a discussion within veterinary care.  

‘I wrote this letter as I fear for the future of the profession’ Klocker told dvm360.

‘I feel that the decline in vet numbers in practice needs to be addressed immediately or it might be too late. I fear that Australians with a sick animal after 5 pm will find it hard to find a vet to treat them, and the farmers who feed us will struggle to find someone to help them with their animals.’

‘I am hoping that we [herself and the CVE] can brainstorm together, and I am hoping to gather suggestions from veterinarians to help solve some of these issues’.

‘I would like some Band-aid solutions to help immediately and some long-term solutions to ensure that the profession remains sustainable in the years to come.’

To Read more, click here:

https://www.dvm360.com/view/a-veterinarian-s-plea-for-help

How to Encourage Employees to Focus on Self-Care

Self-care is not just a luxury for the few, but a key component of a happy and productive workforce. 

In a study by BMC Public Health, researchers found that employees working in high-stress environments visit GPs 26% more than those in comparatively low-stress work environments. 

It is therefore clear that self-care is an important factor when considering employee wellbeing and care.

So how can employers promote self-care within the workplace?

Read on to learn how. 

Set a Good Example 

By prioritising your own self-care at work, you will not only demonstrate self-care strategies for your employees but encourage them to practice them. 

As an employer, you set the standard. If you’re not laying down boundaries and looking after yourself, your employees will follow suit. Therefore, it is imperative to teach by example. 

Emphasis Positive Social Connections

Cultivating a workplace that promotes humility and empathy is key to creating a thriving work environment. 

Especially as veterinary professionals, is it important for staff to feel comfortable enough to be able to vent or express concerns to you as the employer. 

Promote Healthy Behaviour 

Ensuring your staff have a healthy work/life balance is key. Providing access to healthy foods and beverages at work are all strategies that you can use to boost overall well-being. 

Encourage Employees to use Health Benefits 

If your workplace has health benefits – get your staff to use them!

If you have schemes to promote well-being, invest the time to implement and promote them, so everyone reaps the benefits. 

Want to find out what other strategies you can use? Click here: 

https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/features/how-encourage-employees-focus-self-care

Want to check out more news? Click here.

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