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Catch up on this week’s top headlines with the weekly veterinary news roundup, presented by VetX International.

Vet Clinics Juggle Changing Covid Restrictions 

Across the US, many veterinary hospitals are having to manage the ‘new normal’ as covid-regulations lift across the nation. 

Several states, including California, have dropped mask regulations for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The variations in policy across the country mean that many practices are opting for a hybrid approach to work-life, utilizing a mix of curbside and in-person services. 

Although curbside services allowed many clinics to work at a high level of efficiency, many vets will be relieved to no longer have to deal with disgruntled owners having to separate from their pets. 

‘I’m tired of angry people’ said Dr. Linda Hall, a practice owner based in the Bay Area. During the pandemic, she had to deal with countless angry clients displeased with her practice’s social distancing measures. 

Though these changes spell the end of rigid social distancing restrictions, concerns surrounding vaccinations and safety protocols remain. Many practice owners are having to deal with conflict surrounding vaccinations (and whether staff should have them or not) and/or whether masks should continually be worn in practice. 

Speaking on the subject, Dr. Steve Valeika, a practitioner in North Carolina said:

‘The pandemic began at the same time for everyone, but it’s going to end at different times for each individual.’

‘Everyone is going to process what we’ve been through differently and at different rates, and everyone is going to make sense of the new recommendations in deeply personal and individualized ways.’

‘We are finally hitting a period where risks are truly going to be low for a lot (but not all) of us … I know that my alert level doesn’t have to be so high, but dialing that down is difficult.’

For more on this story, click here.

Veterinary Profession Struggles To Retain Vet Techs

Amidst the veterinarian shortage across the United States, more focus has been placed on the role vet techs play in practice.

According to CNN, though veterinary medicine programs had seen a 19% increase in applicants this past cycle, the promise of an enriching career is not as apparent for vet techs. 

Speaking to the news outlet, Jennifer Serling, president-elect of the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators, said that around 35% of all vet techs eventually burn out. Around half of vet techs leave the profession entirely within five years, whilst the vet tech educational retention rate is down by 5-10% (largely due to the pandemic). 

According to Mark Cushing, founding partner and CEO of the Animal Policy Group, this is due to inadequacies in terms of pay. On average, vet techs get paid around $32,000 a year, which is ‘close to poverty level’ in some parts of the United States. 

‘If you chronically underpay someone, they’ll be looking to leave’ he said. 

‘If you’re trained to do it all and only do half, and you’re told by a veterinarian, ‘I’ll do the rest,’ you create a morale issue that is systemic across the profession.’

These issues will surely need to be addressed, otherwise, the veterinary profession could be facing yet another shortage within its ranks.  

To read more on this story, click here. 

RCVS Allows The Continuation Of Remote Prescriptions For Veterinary Surgeons  

The Royal Colleges of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has announced that the temporary guidance on remote prescriptions will continue amidst the recent lockdown extension. 

The guidance was initially put in place at the beginning of the pandemic and is looking to stay until the UK government announces the official end to lockdown restrictions. 

The current rules allow vets to prescribe POM-Vs remotely without first having physically examined an animal. This is to ensure the physical well-being of professionals by preventing close contact with owners. 

This position is set to be reviewed again by the Standards Committee no earlier than the 19th of July 2021, with further updates to be published in due course. 

For more information, click here. 

New Zealand’s Border Relaxations Will Not Be Enough To Tackle Vet Shortage Warns Expert

Questions have been raised surrounding the effectiveness of border relaxations in New Zealand regarding the veterinary shortage. 

The government recently announced that it would be allowing 50 vets to enter the country amid tough border covid restrictions. 

Julie South, a talent acquisition consultant with VetStaff said that whilst this was a good start, it certainly wouldn’t be enough to tackle the issue.  

‘Right now, no one seems to know where these 50 vets will be allocated. It could be a lolly scramble with the various sectors fighting to get what they need’ she said. 

‘Vets are on the current long-term skill shortage list. The current shortage is only partly due to the effects of Covid-19. There is a continuing need for vets to be able to come here to work. Letting in 50 vets in a piecemeal fashion like this isn’t getting on top of the problem.’

Julie suggests that an immigration classification change for vets would be far more effective.  

‘If veterinarians had their own classification – like their human medical counterparts have had all along – not only would it be more efficient, but it would allow positions to be filled as and where they become vacant.’

Although currently many overseas vets are opting to emigrate to Australia (given its more lax application process for vets) she hopes that over time these migrants could be directed to New Zealand. 

For more on this story, click here. 

RCVS Hits Back At Comments Made By The BVA and BVNA Surrounding Planned Reforms

The Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has hit back at the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) after the bodies criticized several planned reforms. 

The RCVS labeled the BVA’s and BVNA’s comments that parts of the organization’s disciplinary reforms would amount to ‘public shaming’ as ‘inflammatory’. 

During talks, the RCVS introduced a ‘Charter Case Protocol’ for minor transgressions made by veterinary professionals. 

In response, the BVA and BVNA stated that the: 

‘Establishment of a Charter Case Protocol for minor transgressions via a system of published warnings seriously risks introducing an element of public shaming into the disciplinary process’.

In response, the RCVS president Mandisa Greene said: 

‘We are disappointed that some rather unhelpful language has been put out by our colleagues in the BVA and BVNA regarding the proposals, and wish to clarify the reality of the college’s policies’

‘We find the characterization of the new Charter Case Protocol as ‘public shaming’ needlessly inflammatory and scaremongering, as well as inaccurate. As we have made clear, this protocol will exist as an alternative to holding stressful, expensive, and time-consuming disciplinary committee hearings for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses whose cases meet the threshold for a hearing, but would be likely to attract a lesser sanction’.

‘It would not, as has been suggested, lead to the RCVS publishing the details of those guilty of ‘minor transgressions’ that would have otherwise been closed by the preliminary investigation committee.’ 

To read more on this story, click here. 

How To Prioritize Your Health As A Busy Professional 

Ever feel like you’re sacrificing your health for your work? 

A new study from Aviva has found that nearly 6 in 10 employees are ‘neglecting [their] physical health due to work life’.

Given this, how can you stop sacrificing your fitness for your work?

Have A Conversation With Your Employer About Flexibility

Although leaving work on time as a vet may not always be realistic, if you feel like your physical health is in decline as a result, bring this up with management. 

It can seem awkward, but most business managers and owners would rather accommodate your needs than see you burn out or quit.

Book In Some ‘Wellness’ Time

Whilst it is all good and well to say that you want to get fitter, actually following through is another story entirely. Instead, try booking a fun class, or organizing a workout with a friend to ensure that you actually commit to working out. 

Get Some Rest 

Sometimes when starting a new fitness regime it can be easy to go overboard. This can result in feelings of exhaustion- killing your fitness streak. Instead, take it easy and remember to prioritize rest as much as you do exercise, as this is a fundamental part of a sustainable fitness regime. 

For more tips and tricks, click here.

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