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Catch up on this week’s top headlines in the veterinary sphere, presented by VetX International

Building a More Diverse Profession: ‘Still a Long Way to Go’

‘Although strides have been made to promote equity, inclusivity, and diversity in veterinary medicine, there’s still a long way to go before we see long-lasting change’ says Dr Pam Hale DVM MBA.

Tuskegee University remains the only historically black college and university (HBCU) with an acclaimed full pre-veterinary and veterinary curriculum. Additionally, Black people are still disproportionately represented in the profession, making up between 1% to 2% of the population, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and AVMA data.

‘There are ongoing preconceived biases in our profession, ranging from clients to prospective employers and supervisors. Take a look at our society as a whole, then narrow the focus to veterinary medicine. Black veterinarians are already the invisible people from sheer statistical numbers. When the same leaders appear over and over again, the old guard never changes. The day is fast approaching when minority veterinarians will be in positions of power within the profession, with little or no fanfare. It is just not happening fast enough.’

Read Dr Hale’s full experience here: 

AVMA Releases Telehealth Guidelines

The American Veterinary Medical Association has released a practical set of guidelines, exploring the use of telehealth within the veterinary profession. The guide, AVMA says, addresses telehealth within the concept of “connected care,” which aims to integrate digital technologies to enhance the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) and facilitate proactive ongoing care through improved communication, diagnosis, and monitoring.

“These guidelines are an extremely helpful resource for veterinary practices at a critical time,” says AVMA president, Douglas Kratt, DVM. “Many services veterinary practices provide on a daily basis lend themselves well to the use of telehealth, such as postsurgical care, hospice care, general wellness advice, education, and after-hours care. And, by comprehensively embracing connected care, practices can further enhance care for their patients by tapping into opportunities for remote monitoring and by integrating AI into patient diagnostics.”

To access “AVMA Guidelines for the Use of Telehealth in Veterinary Practice,” click here.

World’s Tallest Dog Passes Away

The animal community is mourning a massive loss with the passing of Freddy, the world’s tallest male dog, at the age of eight.

The Great Dane measured 3 feet, 4 inches (103.5 cm) from foot to withers. When standing on his hind legs, he was 7 feet, 5.5 inches (226 cm)—nearly five inches taller than basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Freddy, who first achieved the Guinness World Record in 2016, is mourned by his owner, Claire Stoneman, of Essex, England.

“He was not just the tallest dog but the dog with the most love and the biggest heart,” Stoneman says. “He was my life—my reason, my joy, my annoyance, my happiness, and my ultimate sadness. He was my heart Dane. My one in a million and loved by the entire world.”

RSPCA Calls on Vets: Help Us Reduce Cruelty and Neglect by 50% in 10 Years

The RSPCA has published Together for Animal Welfare, its strategy for the next ten years, during which it aims to achieve eight ambitions in partnership with the veterinary profession. Among the aims is to reduce neglect,‌ ‌abuse‌ ‌and‌ ‌cruelty‌ ‌to‌ ‌companion‌ ‌animals‌, ‌including‌ ‌exotic‌ ‌pets‌, ‌in‌ ‌England‌ ‌and‌ ‌Wales‌ ‌by‌ ‌50‌%.

The RSPCA has emphasised the key role veterinarians and vet nurses play in helping them achieve the target. RSPCA Chief Vet Caroline Allen said: “The RSPCA recognises that we simply cannot perform our vital frontline work without the support and expertise of vets and vet nurses across the country. As part of this strategy we are aiming to strengthen these relationships and improve understanding and communication between the RSPCA and the veterinary professions.

“Vets and RVNs – both in private practice and within the RSPCA – play many critical roles; including providing veterinary care to abused animals rescued by the RSPCA, supporting our animal centres and our prosecution work, as well as reporting abused and neglected animals to us.”

“We know that the veterinary sector has had a tough year and we are very grateful for your continuing support of our work during the many challenges of the pandemic.”

Veterinary Nurse in Penrith, England, is Recognised for Exceptional Work

A talented veterinary nurse at a Penrith practice is officially top of the class after being recognised for her “exceptional” work combining a degree with a full-time job.

Lottie Helm joined Veterinary Vision in June 2019 and has been working towards a part-time veterinary nursing top-up degree at Myerscough College, in Preston, alongside her day job.

Thanks to her hard work and dedication, Lottie graduated with first class honours and has been additionally recognised for her commitment with the Lorraine Allan Memorial Award, the college’s ‘student of the year’ prize.

The 23-year-old, who lives in Penrith, said: “I wasn’t expecting the award at all. When it arrived in the post, I didn’t realise what it was – my mum had to tell me!…Veterinary nursing was always something I wanted to do. What we do at Veterinary Vision is very specialised, so I have had a lot to learn. You are using a lot of the skills you have learned every day.

“You never get the same day twice, there is always something different.”

Vancouver Island Veterinarian Shortage Leads to Long Wait Times, Frustration and Stress

For many people on Vancouver Island, making the decision to adopt a pet during the pandemic has been easy. For veterinarians on the island, the influx in new pets is stressing an already strained system. For some owners, this means a two and a half month waiting list for a spay.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says the problem is a provincial one. After completing a labor review study in 2019, the association predicts by 2023, B.C will be short 500 veterinarians.

Already, many vets are working hard because of the shortage. Now, the pandemic is making the crisis worse.

“I’m working ridiculously long hours and not really getting much time for myself,” said Dr. Joanna Piercy, a vet and co-owner of Oaklands Veterinary Hospital. The Victoria clinic started a waitlist for new patients after it became booked three weeks in advance. It is trying to accommodate new patients, while many clinics are turning people away.

New Stem Cell Therapy in Dogs Hailed a Breakthrough

Scientists have developed a novel method to induce stem cell generation from the blood samples of dogs. Through this technique, the scientists hope to advance regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine. This would mean that, in the near future, veterinarians might be able to reverse conditions in dogs that were previously thought incurable.

A research team from Japan, led by Associate Professor Shingo Hatoya from Osaka Prefecture University, has been working on isolating “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPSCs) from canine blood samples. Hatoya highlights the significance of these findings for veterinary science, stating he hopes that in the near future, “it may be possible to perform regenerative medicinal treatments in dogs.” These findings were published in the journal Stem Cells and Development.

Fascinatingly, these findings have paved the way for an easy stem cell therapy technique for man’s best friends. “We believe that our method can facilitate the research involving disease modeling and regenerative therapies in the veterinary field,” says Dr. Hatoya. Furthermore, the authors also believe that additional research into regenerative therapies for canines might have some ripple effects for human medicine. “Dogs share the same environment as humans and spontaneously develop the same diseases, particularly genetic diseases.”

Ferret Survives 100 minutes in Washing Machine

A pet ferret has made a “miraculous” recovery after accidentally spending a full cycle in a washing machine.

Bandit was given a 1% chance of survival by vets after going through a 100-minute wash when he sneaked into his owners’ machine in Leeds, UK.

The two-year-old ferret suffered a collapsed lung and bruising in the incident. Veterinary surgeon David Massey said Bandit was in a “pretty bad way when he came in”.

“The team here got to work quickly to try and save his life,” said Mr Massey.

“His owners’ quick-thinking upon realising the situation also helped ensure we could prevent a tragedy…Amazingly, within four hours of being admitted he took a few gentle steps, which is when we started to become confident that he would make a good, and miraculous, recovery.”

It’s Never too Late to Learn! 

Bruce Englefield’s career transition from TV production to animal behaviour, and how it moved him to the other side of the world, is a story that shows us it’s never too late to turn our hand to something new…

“My wife and I were 58 when we took over [the wildlife park]. We were well past our sell-by date, but we were working 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In 2007, I went on television saying I was going to run the London marathon to raise funds for the project. I’m not a runner. I was 64. Eventually, I got nine others, including my wife, to join me. We all successfully completed the marathon and raised the funding required. The project wound up in 2017, having successfully built seven devil islands and produced dozens of devils suitable for release into the wild.

Last year I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney on road kill. It’s a really serious problem in Australia. I wanted to see if I could come up with a protocol, or at least a thesis, that explains not only what we need to do with relation to road kill, but how it can be done.

I always say life isn’t a rehearsal. Life is transmission. And if you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it.”
Read the full story here:

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