‘Women in Veterinary Medicine’: Your Weekly Veterinary News Crunch 24 July 2020

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The weekly rundown of veterinary news for the time-poor vet, presented by VetX International

Women in Veterinary Medicine: Providing ‘True Role Models’ in the US

Dr Dori Borjesson has become the first ever female Dean of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in the institution’s 120-year history. This will provide a vital role model for women in veterinary medicine, especially those in leadership.

“I didn’t anticipate it, but this means a lot to a lot of people,” Borjesson said. “It speaks to the fact that if you don’t see anyone like you or see anyone that has traveled paths similar to yours in leadership positions, it’s hard to believe you can accomplish those goals.”

Although females make up 70% of veterinary students in the US, only 11 out of 32 veterinary colleges have female Deans. “Women in veterinary medicine are now starting to have true role models whom they can relate to and watch build programs,” Borjesson said.

Diversity is one of the key areas Dr Borjesson will be working on immediately. Watch this space!

Impact of Pandemic on US Veterinary Professionals

A recent US survey of 500 veterinary professionals reveals concerns surrounding the impact of Covid-19. This includes 72% believing that clients do not value remote consultations, 36% not feeling safe in the workplace amid infection concerns, and 62% worried about increased mental strains caused by working during the pandemic.

Richard Casey, President of The Veterinary Marketing Group (VMG) said: “It is very worrying that so many of our colleagues do not feel safe from COVID19 exposure in the workplace…I encourage all our colleagues, regardless of whether they are management or not, to reach out to workplace colleagues. Ask them how they’re feeling, what are their concerns and what is working well?”

The survey also revealed some more positive implications of the pandemic that could change the way veterinary professionals work. For example, 66% say they would like more focus on achieving a work/life balance and 51% want to see more flexible working patterns and job sharing.

A full breakdown of survey results can be viewed here: https://www.vetsurgeon.org/news/b/veterinary-news/posts/survey-reveals-impact-of-the-pandemic-on-veterinary-surgeons

Richard Irvine Recruited as UK’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer

After a large international recruitment campaign led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Government has named Richard Irvine as the new Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer. 

Richard started his veterinary career in mixed and farm animal clinical practice in 1997. He first started working for the civil service in 2001 as a Veterinary Investigation Officer and since then has worked in several different veterinary and science leadership roles in the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and APHA.

Richard said: “I am very much looking forward to working with the team at Defra, its agencies, the devolved administrations, and all the individuals and groups who contribute together to not only cement the UK’s place as a world leader on animal welfare at these unique times, but also meet future challenges head-on across the animal health and welfare spectrum. I am delighted to have an opportunity to play a part in that.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/richard-irvine-appointed-as-uks-deputy-chief-veterinary-officer

Maintaining the Pipeline of UK Young Vets

Covid-19 has hit UK universities hard, with a major reduction in the amount of international students enrolling and a drop in income received from campus accommodation, facilities and catering.

Despite this, vet schools seem to have suffered no such drop in enrollment rates, and some courses are due to start imminently, with on-site teaching. 

The University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science has a dual intake system, with one cohort beginning their course in April and another this September. Both intakes are full, with 150 students in each.

Dean of the school Gary England said: “We have seen no negative impact on our student intake as a result of coronavirus and I am confident that UK vet schools will be able to maintain the supply chain of top-quality home-grown vets.”

Resource in America and Canada to Keep Covid-19 out of Veterinary Practices

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has created a new resource in an attempt to ensure the health and welfare of veterinary teams amidst the pandemic.

A free template aids employers in screening individual team members by asking a series of questions about symptoms, testing history and social contact.

According to AVMA, screening should be in addition to, not in place of, other measures to provide a safe work environment, such as providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectant supplies, physical barriers, enforced social distancing, and frequent cleaning of common areas.

https://www.veterinarypracticenews.ca/new-resource-keeps-covid-out-of-the-workplace-2/

Dentistry Training may be made Compulsory in US Veterinary Schools

The COE Academic Affairs Committee has recently proposed an addition to the standard curriculum in US veterinary schools, meaning students could receive more hands on experience in tooth extraction and periodontal disease, if the proposal is approved.

Rationale for the proposed change reads: “The council believes that dentistry is an integral part of veterinary medical practice and is a crucial component for the health and welfare of multiple animal species. It is essential that students are trained in dentistry.”

According to experts, the addition of dental training has been needed for years. Veterinarians are often expected to provide dental care whether they’ve been taught it in school or not, which is both a concern for animal welfare and the amount of pressure the vet experiences.

https://news.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=210&catId=614&Id=9729066

Australian Bushfire Donations to Support Koala Research

Following the recent bushfires and droughts in South Australia, the koala population has suffered. In response, WIRES has announced a three-year grant to the Koala Health Hub (KHH), a University of Sydney initiative to support koala care, management and research.

“The plight of Australian native animals and in particular the koala is in the spotlight and we need to take action now and do whatever it takes to halt the decline of their numbers in the wild” said WIRES CEO, Leanne Taylor.

The donation of $1,012,399 is the largest one-off gift made to the University’s School of Veterinary Science, within which the Koala Health Hub sits. Donations to WIRES were made by both local and international donors including from the US, UK, Asia and Europe. 

68,000 Veterinarians to Vote Online in India’s Veterinary Council Elections

Polls are to be held next month for elected members of the Veterinary Council of India (VCI), after nominations were made on 13 July. It is the first time that online voting will be held, and according to President of the Council, Dr Chirantan Kadian, over 68, 000 registered vet practitioners are set to vote.

The election comes after a Public Interest Litigation, which directed the Union of India to conduct elections within eight weeks. It comes at a time of incumbent and crucial implementations, including the creation of more posts for veterinary graduates and the filling up of vacant positions for veterinary officers in all states across the country.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/veterinary-council-of-india-elections-over-68000-veterinarians-to-vote-online/articleshow/77088067.cms

A Playlist to Calm Agitated Animals…and Humans

The Low Beat Music Company has recently found that dogs, cats and horses respond to soft, low tempo music. Defined as ‘brain entrainment’, it is believed that the heartbeat and breathing rate of mammals adapt to the beat of the music as part of an evolutionary prompt to nurture their young. An adult’s heartbeat is naturally lower than the young’s, and by being in close proximity to the adult, the young, in feeling the heartbeat, can be calmed. 

The Company has now developed a playlist, and has found it to be effective for calming dogs, cats and horses who are experiencing stress. They claim the optimum calming effect can be seen where there is a difference of 15 beats between the animal’s heartbeat and the music.

https://veterinary-practice.com/news/2020/the-low-beat-music-company-ltd-has-released-its-first-cd-specifically-designed-to-calm-agitated-animals

You may not think music has as significant an effect on humans, however, researchers at Stanford University have discovered that listening to music can alter brian functioning as much as medication can.

Current findings indicate that music of around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize, with the beat causing alpha brainwaves (frequencies from 8 – 14 hertz or cycles per second). This alpha brainwave is what is present when we are relaxed and conscious. To induce sleep (a delta brainwave of 5 hertz), a person may need to devote at least 45 minutes, in a relaxed position, to listening to calming music.

How can you find the most relaxing music for you? Well, research also suggests that this comes down to a bit of experimentation. Although Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind, it is important to explore a range to see what induces the calming effect in you.

https://www.unr.edu/counseling/virtual-relaxation-room/releasing-stress-through-the-power-of-music

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