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First Black President of RCVS –  Mandisa Greene – to Champion Diversity

Mandisa Greene will become the RCVS’ first black president on 10 July and part of her agenda is to become someone “to see and to be” for young people of all racial backgrounds.

The veterinary profession is one of the least ethnically diverse of all and Dr Greene is happy to be seen as a highly visible role model in the push for increased diversity.

Greene said: ”First of all, I would like to say I am absolutely honoured and delighted to have been elected and selected by my peers for this job.”

She added: “We want to encourage new graduates out of vet school to consider a career as a GP, as opposed to it being a means to something else. We also want to highlight the range of careers you can have with a veterinary degree.”

1,000 Pets in Need of Free Care

Animals have been affected by the pandemic as much as us! ElleVet Sciences is working with veterinarians in California to treat local animals affected by the pandemic.

Sponsored by ElleVet Sciences, the Pets in Need Project is a mobile effort with the goal of treating more than 1,000 animals in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Stockton, Modesto, and other areas of the Golden State.

Cofounder, Christian Kjaer says: “Understanding the devastating effect of COVID-19, we decided now is the time to launch the Pets in Need Project and make an immediate impact within the homeless pet population.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of our efforts here in California,” cofounder Amanda Howland adds. “We have reached more than 700 pets already and feel connected to the communities we have visited.”

PPP Application Extended to 8 August 2020 (US)

Congress has unanimously approved legislation to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline to 8 August 2020.

This will provide more time for veterinary practices and other prospective borrowers to apply for the roughly $132 billion still available in the forgivable loan program. The deadline previously had been 30 June.

According to the AVMA, due to the ongoing discussions and constantly changing rules, “Veterinarians may want to consider deferring repayment and applying for forgiveness at a later date. We encourage you to review the forgiveness application and consult with your tax or business advisor to decide your best course of action.”

Recovery Signs For Vet Business 

The RCVS has completed their set of surveys which have been ongoing throughout the current covid-19 crisis. Results are promising, as they offer an ‘improving picture’ in various areas of veterinary practice.

“The majority of participants in June – 58% – were still seeing a reduction in their caseload to pre-COVID-19, but this had improved from the 69% reported in May’s survey.”

“But the percentage of practices reporting a “near normal” caseload has risen 29 percentage points to 32%, with 6% reporting they were back to “business as usual”.”

While most are still reporting turnover is down on pre-COVID-19 conditions, the percentage reporting they have lost more than half of their turnover has reduced considerably on earlier surveys.

As a result of improving conditions, fewer practices have staff on furlough: “the most frequent response for the percentage of the vet and VN workforce furloughed was reported as between 11% and 25%, compared to 26% to 50% in the previous surveys.”

Veterinarian Access to Euthanasia Drug Scrutinised

Only in last week’s news, we reported a new survey in Australia which set to investigate the relationship between the experience of euthanasia and veterinary wellbeing. 

Now, the increasing amount of suicides amongst veterinary professionals has come under further scrutiny in an Australian law review.

“An important test case on pentobarbital, the primary ingredient in euthanasia solutions, is underway in Australia. Federal authorities there are reviewing whether to upgrade the drug to so-called Schedule 8 (S8) status, putting it on par with cocaine, opium and methamphetamine.”

“The review was triggered by a state-based coronial inquest that investigated the recent deaths of a veterinarian, aged 30, and a veterinary student, aged 25, both via pentobarbital injection. In its findings last October, the coroner’s court recommended that pentobarbital be classified to an S8 drug, upgraded from its current S4 status.”

Saudi Arabia Opens Largest Camel Hospital in the World

The $26.7 million facility spans 70,000 square meters and is now ready to welcome its first patient!

Salam Veterinary Group’s camel hospital is one of only a few in the world dedicated to camel care, treatment and research. No wonder, in 2011 there were an estimated 1.6 million camels in the Arabian Peninsula, with 53 percent found in Saudi Arabia, according to figures from the Food and Agricultural Organization. In the UAE, there are an estimated 300,000 camels.

Revealing Study into the Fearfulness of Dogs

A team at the University of Helsinki have recently published a study into the predisposing factors of fearfulness in dogs. 

Fearfulness is one of the most common problems in dogs, and when excessive can be termed a behavioural disorder. A fearful dog can also cause superfluous trauma for veterinarians when it comes to their checkup or providing specific treatment.

Based on the survey, inadequate socialisation of puppies to various situations and stimuli had the strongest link with social fearfulness. The living environment also appears to make a difference, as dogs that live in urban environments were observed to be more fearful than dogs living in rural environments.

Advice for Pets – and Humans – as we Emerge from Lockdown

The British Veterinary Behaviour Association (BVBA) have published a Q&A for veterinary surgeons to give pet owners to help them prepare their pets for return to normal life as lockdown eases.

This comes amid concerns that behavioural issues in pets may develop because they have become so accustomed to human company, as their owners have worked from home. This could result in separation issues, anxiety, and unregulated behaviour when greeting other dogs and/or puppies.

However, it is not just our animals that we need to think about when transitioning out of lockdown, but how we ourselves are going to re-adapt.

The charity Mind has provided a clear breakdown of feelings you may experience when easing out of lockdown, and strategies for managing them. 

As we begin to return to our demanding and busy schedules, we may feel anxious, stressed, underprepared and conflicted. Mind reassures us that there is “no normal response to lockdown” and encourages seeking online peer support and talking to someone you trust. 

At VetX, we hope to provide a sense of community and free-flowing discussion. If you would like to see a particular issue discussed on our platform or would like to share an experience of your own to share with the veterinary community, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Similarly, if you would be interested in an online forum discussing the topic of post-lockdown anxieties, please let us know here or add a comment to this post.

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