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

US Vet School Applications Skyrocket

Applications for veterinary medical colleges have been on the rise in recent years, averaging about 6% to 7% annual growth, but during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle the number of applicants rose by a whopping 19% compared with the previous year.

Although there is no clear explanation for this surge in applications, AAVMC says several factors may be at play. First, the application cycle was longer, opening in January this year rather than the typical May, and the AAVMC has offered more informational webinars and increased communication with applicants.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased public awareness about the vital role of the veterinary profession in zoonotic disease research and treatment, including vaccine development. Additionally, more people spending more time at home during the pandemic has led to a greater appreciation for the human-animal bond and a consequent increase in pet adoption rates and veterinary clinic visits.

IVC Evidensia Offers Care Fund to Support Wellbeing

IVC Evidensia is opening a care fund to support the wellbeing of staff, pet owners and patients. The fund is being launched initially in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Finland, with a view to it being expanded in the near future.

IVC Evidensia believes the fund will help enhance the wellbeing of staff, by providing support and treatment options in an often challenging and immensely stressful decision-making process.

Group CEO Steve Clarke said: “I am very proud to establish a fund to assist clients and pets during times of crisis. I am particularly impressed following all of the challenges we have faced regarding the covid-19 pandemic that we are in a strong position to be able to offer this fund. The recent difficulties have shown how we have all come together and found new ways of working during these unprecedented times.”

RCVS President to Feature in Black History Month Documentary in UK

RCVS president Mandisa Greene is set to appear in a special edition of ITV’s current affairs series Tonight celebrating Black History Month, and the achievements and contributions of people of African and Afro-Caribbean descent in the UK.

Dr Greene said: “I am immensely honoured to be the first black president of the RCVS and to use this opportunity to speak to the black community, and indeed all communities, about my love of veterinary science, and the importance of the work we do in safeguarding animal health and welfare, and wider public health.

“I am a great believer in the phrase ‘if you see it, you can be it’ and I hope that my various talks this month – and particularly the upcoming ITV documentary – will help people recognise that veterinary professionals can come from a diverse range of backgrounds and that, provided they have the drive and the ambition, there should be no barriers to them meeting their dreams.”

CVMA Draws Attention to Mental Health in the Profession

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is raising concerns about high levels of stress and burnout in the veterinary profession. 

“There’s no other career where you look at seeing the patient as a baby and then also seeing it in its last minutes of its life,” said Dr. Enid Stiles, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. “This takes a major emotional toll on us.”

Stiles said it may not immediately be apparent why being a vet would be so challenging, but she hopes people will consider the impact on people in the profession. 

Stiles said part of the misunderstanding about the stress vets are under may stem from the way the career is idealized, with people picturing veterinarians as doctors who enjoy their days in the company of cute animals.

“They think about how wonderful this profession might be, and playing with kittens and puppies and all the good stuff that comes with it,” said Stiles. “But what I think people don’t realize is that we really do have a high level of stress in our profession.”

Australian Charities Keep Rescue Dogs Warm and Cosy

PETstock Assist, has partnered with Doggone Gorgeous, Ruff N Rugged and PetRescue to help facilitate the delivery of more than 3000 dog coats to 50 charity organisations across Australia. 

The donation was made in conjunction with #nonudepets campaign, a national initiative that ensures animals currently in foster care waiting for their ‘new home’ are warm, dry and cosy.

“High demand items such as apparel, food, bedding, treats and toys help free up cash for other vital areas of the shelter’s operation,” PETstock Assist’s charity and events coordinator Jessica Curtis said.

“Thanks to PETstock Assist and its partners, donations like these not only provide rescue animals with much needed comfort, warmth and, of course style, but also supports organisations and their network of volunteers and foster carers who are helping to care for and create better futures for rescue animals in need.” 

The Five Character Traits that Could Make You ‘Highly Mindful’

We are constantly told the benefits of being ‘mindful’: living in the present moment in a non-judgemental and sustained way. Mindful individuals tend to have reduced stress levels, they are less emotionally reactive, and they have better focus. However, recent research has shown that some people find it easier than others by possessing certain character traits:

Caution: researchers found that cautious personalities exhibit lower levels of mindfulness.

Why? They believe it has to do with fear. They write, “Having and holding onto fear may be why higher [cautiousness] is most negatively associated with mindfulness.” Navigating the world with a heightened sense of fear makes it difficult to roll with the punches, adapt one’s mindset, and be psychologically flexible, all of which are hallmarks of highly mindful people.

Adjustment: “People with higher adjustment scores appear to be either less affected by or better able to engage stressful perceptions through acting with awareness, suspending emotional judgment internally, and responding with less reactivity externally.”

Leisure: “Mindfulness focuses on the self and others and reducing the tendencies toward and impact of emotional, negative judgment. This is inconsistent with privately holding and nurturing negative beliefs about others. Put differently, mindfulness is at odds with higher leisurely [personalities] for its tendency to develop and hold negative assumptions about individuals.”

Excitability: excitable types were found to be less mindful than non-excitable types as they lack emotional steadiness and presence of mind.

Ambition: ambitious personalities—that is, people who are socially self-confident, competitive, energetic, and leader-like—to be more mindful. While this may seem counterintuitive, the researchers offer a good reason for it. They suggest that ambitious individuals are skilled at balancing their attention and awareness to achieve their goals. In other words, the mental focus necessary to be an ambitious person translates into many of the same qualities associated with mindfulness.

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