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

First Female Vet Elected as WSAVA President

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has elected Thai veterinarian Dr Siraya Chunekamrai as its new president. She is the first female President of the Association and has a strong interest in self- and professional development and in helping WSAVA member associations in countries where companion animal practice is still emerging to raise standards of care. 

“I am humbled and grateful to have been elected as the WSAVA’s first female president, a move that reflects the steps our community has taken to become much more representative of our profession globally,” Dr Chunekamrai said.

“During my presidency, I will be leading efforts to increase our inclusivity and attract more volunteers to support our committees and other activities. I’m really looking forward to my presidency and to supporting the rapid growth and development of our amazing global veterinary community.”

Four US Colleges Win Award for Diversity

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine (PUCVM), Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS), and The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine are among 46 total recipients of the 2020 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

The accolades are presented annually by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, a diversity-focused publication in higher education.

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees, continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” says the magazine’s publisher, Lenore Pearlstein. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

Texas A&M CVMBS, which is marking its fourth consecutive HEED Award win, received praise for its integrated, inclusive curriculum.

“CVMBS operates like a jigsaw puzzle, with every member of our community serving as an important piece that, when we come all together, creates a beautiful picture,” says the college’s dean, John August, BVetMed, MS, MRCVS, DACVIM (SAIM). “We take very seriously the responsibility of fostering an environment that supports everybody’s success and continuing to look for new areas in which we can improve.”

Veterinarians Flock to the Pantanal, South America, in Wake of Devastating Fires

Described as the world’s ‘largest tropical wetland’, the Pantanal has been ravaged by large scale fires, which is having a devastating impact on the wildlife. 

Scientists are scrambling to determine an estimate of animals killed in the fires. While large mammals and birds have suffered casualties, many were able to run or fly away. It appears that reptiles, amphibians and small mammals have fared the worst.

Animal rescue volunteers and veterinarians have flocked to the Pantanal, delivering injured animals to pop-up veterinary triage stations and leaving food and water for other animals to find. Larissa Pratta Campos, a veterinary student, has helped treat wild boar, marsh deer, birds, primates and a raccoon-like creature called a coati.

“We are working in the middle of a crisis,” Ms. Pratta Campos said. “I have woken up many times in the middle of the night to tend to animals here.”

UK Veterinarian Removed from Register After Dishonest Conduct Charge

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has accepted an undertaking from Stephen Cargill Wilson, a retired County Down-based vet, to remove himself from the Register after facing two charges. The first charge was for providing inaccurate information to an insurer in October 2017, and the second for failing to have any arrangements in place for Professional Indemnity Insurance and failing to respond to requests from the RCVS.

Taking into account the submissions from Mr Wilson’s representatives and from the RCVS, as well as precedent cases for such applications, the Committee decided that Mr Wilson’s voluntary undertakings went well beyond any sanction that could be imposed by the Committee and considered that the application would protect the public interest, confidence in the profession, and the welfare of animals.

Professor Alistair Barr FRCVS, chairing the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee decided that this is not a case in which the public interest or the welfare of animals demands that there be a full hearing, with determinations made by the Disciplinary Committee. Taking into account proportionality, and weighing in the balance the public interest, the interests of justice, the need to protect the welfare of animals, as well as the interests of both parties, the Committee decided to accede to the respondent’s application.”

Strides Made Towards ‘Vet Month of Movement’ in UK

The ‘Vet Month of Movement’ was established by the charity Vetlife and is currently in full swing. 12 fundraisers from Vetlife and the BVA (British Veterinary Association) will be running, walking, swimming and horse riding their way to 1,200km with the aim of raising £700 for the charity.

Vetlife supports the veterinary community through its Helpline, Health Support, and Financial Support services, and anyone in the veterinary community can get in touch via its 24/7 helpline.

Vetlife operations manager Joanne Driver said: “We are extremely grateful for donations as we rely heavily on fund-raising, which has been impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This, coupled with an increase in demand for our services, has been challenging, but we remain committed to continuing to provide support for all in the veterinary community.”

The BVA and Vetlife JustGiving page can be accessed here:

DVM 360 Celebrates National Veterinary Technician Week

This week is National Veterinary Technician Week in the US, and many members of the profession are saying their thanks for the amazing work vet techs do. 

“Veterinary technicians are the lifeline of our clinic. They balance so much on a daily basis, and there is no way we could function without them. Also, veterinary technicians make my job more fun and keep me on my toes,” says Ashley Bourgeois, DVM, DACVD.

Fear Free founder Marty Becker, DVM, echoes these sentiments. “I believe veterinary technicians (nurses) are the single most important team members in a veterinary practice,” he says. “They have the most face time with pets and pet parents, they develop strong relationships with the family, work as partners with veterinarians in healthcare, and are often the heart that fuels the practice, and the glue that holds it together.”

New Zealand’s Pandemic Controls Strain Veterinary Workforce

With the nation’s borders closed to most nonresidents since 20 March 2020, a vital source of talent has now been disrupted for more than six months and counting, exacerbating long-standing worries about a labor shortage in the veterinary profession.

Overseas graduates account for nearly one-third of New Zealand’s veterinary workforce. The potentially negative implications of New Zealand’s pandemic strategy for the veterinary community has prompted its chief lobbying group, the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), to call on lawmakers to let more foreign-trained practitioners in.

“New Zealand relies on an influx of overseas vets to fill gaps in the workforce so it’s easy to see why we are getting a crunch in vacancies with the current border restrictions,” said Dr. Mark Hosking, chief executive of Franklin Vets.

Dr. Jason Lowe, a practitioner with 20 years of experience, anticipated even before the pandemic that the New Zealand market could reach a crisis point by the end of the decade if veterinarians keep leaving the profession. By “crisis point,” Lowe says he means a situation where there wouldn’t be enough veterinarians to treat every animal in need. Currently, he said, veterinarians are handling the workload, but often at a cost to their well-being. “People are being stretched,” he said. “I’ve got colleagues that are still in clinical practice. They do an ‘eight-hour day’ in a 14-hour day and just get the work done.”

Vet Clinic in Scotland Runs Local Hero Awards to Bring Community Together

Westport Veterinary Clinic created the Local Hero Awards to celebrate acts of kindness in the local community during lockdown. They have announced photographer Rebecca Holmes as the winner for her photography project that captures the community pulling together.

Ms Holmes’s ‘Photography Linlithgow Front Steps Project’ photographed over 270 households and businesses in Linlithgow to capture families, couples, and people on their own during lockdown – all from their front steps.

Rebecca is a professional photographer but instead of keeping the earnings from her front steps project photography work, she decided to donate all takings to a local charity, choosing the Linlithgow Young People’s Project.

The grand total raised for Linlithgow Young People’s Project was £4052, which when Gift Aid was added, well over £5000 went to the charity.

Linlithgow Young People’s Project said: “We are blown away by Rebecca’s creativity and innovation at this time as well as all the generous donations from the residents of Linlithgow who have donated to us via the crowdfunder.”

Westport Vets aim is to recognise and celebrate acts of kindness in the local community and also help to support local businesses in it.

How does your veterinary practice engage with the local community?

What is the value, for the community and as an individual, of exploring your artistic side as a veterinarian? If you haven’t seen our guest blog by Dr Samyra Stuart-Altman, check it out by clicking below!

Zen and the Art of Veterinary Mental Health Maintenance

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