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Veterinary Clinic Receives Backlash and Death Threats After Story Goes Viral 

Employees of Maine Veterinary Medical Center are asking for support after coming under attack on social media. Staff at the emergency veterinary clinic are thought to be receiving death threats after a story (which first aired on WGME-TV) went viral. In the story, the practice reportedly asked an owner to surrender her dog, Jaxx, over a $10,000 surgery bill. When the woman later tried to reclaim ‘Jaxx’, he had already been adopted. 

However, the clinic is claiming the facts of the case have been distorted through the media. 

In a statement, Janelle Tirrell, an equine veterinarian and the former president of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, said: “People who are not involved in the case, people from out of state, people from around the world will spend their time running down a veterinarian based on a little tidbit of a story… People have had to move. Their families have to leave town because they practice in a small town and people are threatening to burn their house down or threatening to do things to their children at schools,”

To read the full story, click here


Father of Vet Raises Money and Awareness For Suicide Prevention

The father of a farm vet who sadly took his own life at the age of 24 in October 2019, is set to embark on a 1,200-mile walk to raise money and awareness of suicide in the profession. 

Professor John Gibson is aiming to raise £250,000 for a charity that he, his wife Isobel, son Malcolm and daughter Eilidh set up in his son Cameron’s memory. The charity ‘The Canmore Trust’, aims to prevent more suicides and support those affected by suicide.

The walk, named #onemanwalkingamilliontalking, will take John around two-and-a-half months to complete, with his wife, Isobel, set to join him for most stages of the journey. 

“I’m excited about the challenge, but I wasn’t prepared for how emotional it would feel because the one person who would have loved to accompany me on this adventure is Cameron, who loved walking and the great outdoors.

“We are doing this for ‘Cammy’. We miss him dreadfully and don’t want any other family to go through this. When Cameron died, I had to walk to cope with my grief. I would walk for many hours because I struggled to stay indoors, and I also met mothers and fathers affected by suicide.” John Gibson said. 

To read the full story, click here.


Pride in the Veterinary Profession

With June marking Pride month across the world, dvm360® interviewed PrideVMC President Dane Whitaker, DVM, MPVM to discuss the work PrideVMC is doing and how the veterinary profession can help. 

“There are two important things that anyone can do right now to support the veterinary LGBTQ+ community, and they go hand in hand. Put simply, they are education and action. First is to educate yourself about our community, and second is to put that knowledge to use. Learn what struggles we’re facing and what it’s like to walk in our shoes, and then apply that knowledge. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Learn about the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that is being proposed in your area and how you can get involved to support LGBTQ+ folks in your community.

Helping to push back against these laws and standing with your veterinary LGBTQ+ community is a good way to be an ally. Sign the GIBOR, become a PrideVMC member, and help us continue the work we do to create a better world for the LGBTQ+ veterinary community. Even something as simple as introducing yourself with your pronouns in your practice or school is an important step.” said Dane Whitaker. 

To read the full interview, click here


Greencross and VetPartners Leaders Predict Prices of Practices to Fall as Interest Rates Rise

According to Dr. Michelle Kellaway, the chief operating officer of Greencross, the sums paid to acquire practices have plateaued (in Australia), and could even begin to fall as borrowing costs and interest rates continue to rise.

Whilst the demand for pet care is still holding up, due to the pandemic pet boom, analysts expect the rising cost of living to slow economic growth in Australia, and the U.S., prompting pet owners to tighten their belts.

To find out more, click here


Meet ‘Sophie’ Your New Virtual Vet Nurse

Meet Sophie, your new virtual vet nurse launched in March after two years of development in New Zealand. 

The ‘digital colleague’ was made to work alongside the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, Virtual Vet Nurse. The avatar can communicate with non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, as well as provide emotional and informative responses to clients. 

Steve Merchant, CEO of Virtual Vet Nurse and a veterinarian with 30 years of experience, said the chatbot was created to act as a client’s first port of call. For more in-depth questions about pet care, clients will be directed to speak with Sophie. 

“For clients who have questions about puppy training or whether their cat has arthritis or skin problems, research shows that a more engaging and empathetic experience can be delivered by digital humans. You can speak to Sophie, and she can speak back. You can see her moving around and laughing and smiling.” he said. 

Find out more here


How to Celebrate Pride at Work?

Last week, as part of pride month, we shared how to be inclusive at work. This week we are sharing our top five tips on how to celebrate Pride, respectfully, at work. 

Celebrating Pride in the workplace is hugely important in order to make the whole team feel welcome regardless of their personal preferences. So how can you celebrate pride?

  • Provide education and training: Whilst inclusivity training and opportunities are important all year round, Pride Month offers a great time to deliver educational sessions surrounding LGBTQIA+ matters. 
  • Host a Q&A with an LGBTQIA+ speaker: if possible, host an event with an LGBTQIA+ speaker. This can be done as part of training either virtually or in person. Partnering with an external professional can be helpful in answering questions about queer issues, gender identity, etc., and takes the pressure off managers relaying incorrect information.
  • Raise money for a nonprofit LGBTQIA+ organization: throw a party, a bake sale, or a fundraiser to raise money for a nonprofit LGTBTQIA+ organization.
  • Evaluate your company’s policies and standards: Of course, these should be constantly evaluated throughout the year, however, you can use pride month to take a deep dive into the policies and standards, surrounding inclusivity. Check if there’s anything that needs changing or if there’s anything more you could do. 
  • Decorate the practice or staff room: the simplest way to celebrate pride is of course decorating the practice with the rainbow flag (the rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer pride, and LGBT social movements) and helps demonstrate allyship.

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