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The new covid variant has put a spanner in the works for a number of veterinary conferences which will now not be able to go ahead. 

Omicron, which has been found to be highly transmissible, has made organizing such events difficult amid fresh restrictions. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) told VIN News that it had no plans to cancel the Veterinary Leadership Conference, albeit rises in Omicron cases. 

Michael San Filippo, a spokesperson for the AVMA told VIN News that: 

‘As part of our contingency planning, we built out a virtual platform so that we would be prepared to transition in the event of any developments that would make it inadvisable or unsafe in any way to hold an in-person meeting.’

Other conferences, such as the SPVS VMG leadership and management conference, and the OVMA conference are trying to hold out, but only time will tell if they will happen. 

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New Jersey Welcomes First Ever Veterinary College

The garden state has introduced its first veterinary college in response to the veterinary shortage. 

The Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine is set to offer New Jersey’s first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, amongst others. 

‘We are creating a destination of choice for students who share a passion for animal health and who want to pursue careers in veterinary-related studies at all higher education levels,’ said the university’s president, Ali A. Houshmand.

‘Our curriculum will emphasize developing career-ready professionals to address shortages of animal health care providers in New Jersey and throughout the United States.’

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The BVA Pushes for Sustainability

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is pushing for veterinary practices to improve their sustainability by signing their #GreenTeamVet pledge. 

In a statement, the BVA encouraged practices to become more sustainable not only for the planet but also for themselves. Being more efficient can save money, resources, reduce waste, improve team engagement and help retain and attract staff.

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Veterinary Professionals Call for a Inquiry After Geronimo the Alpaca is Found to Have No TB Postmortum

The controversy around Geronimo the Alpaca continues after a postmortem examination found zero traces of tuberculosis (TB) in the animal’s system. 

The postmortem report said that: 

‘It was not possible to culture bacteria from tissue samples taken at postmortem examination, meaning it will not be possible to carry out whole genome sequencing to try to understand how the alpaca caught the disease.’

RVN Helen Macdonald told Vettimes that: 

‘Defra has perpetuated deliberate dishonesty since 2017 in this case. It manipulated facts rather than objectively consider and reflect on the evidence.’

‘There was always the option in law not to kill Geronimo, but to study the effects of priming with tuberculin in a healthy camelid under accepted safe conditions.’

‘Yet despite repeated requests by myself and the British Alpaca Society, Defra and [environment secretary] George Eustice ignored all requests and persisted with threats rather than engage constructively with stakeholders and change their approach for the purpose of establishing more accurate surveillance testing.’

‘I feel that myself and New Zealand are owed apologies from Defra and the numerous ministers involved.’

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New Zealand Vets Navigate Staff Shortages

Staff shortages in New Zealand are overwhelming practices, vets told the Timaru Herald this week. 

Pressures exacerbated by the covid pandemic have caused the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ) to accept requests for practices not to provide 24/7 emergency care. 

VCNZ chief executive Iain​ McLachlan told the outlet that:

‘It can be a hard decision to make, but when workloads are high it is important that people understand their obligations and the load is shared.’

‘The public also needs to be aware that any changes they see are designed to make veterinary care safer and more sustainable for everyone, particularly their animals,’ McLachlan said.

‘We have tackled issues such as professional development and requirements for after-hours services, to assist veterinary teams to adopt new ways of working and look after their own safety and wellbeing, as well as that of their patients and clients.’

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Four Workplace Wellness Trends Which We’ll See in 2022

2021 was a hard year for employees. A continuation of covid related restrictions and client backlogs put an immense amount of pressure on practices and their teams. This global strain has, in part, put work wellbeing into the limelight. But what can we expect this year in terms of workplace wellbeing trends?

1. Mental Health Solutions Will Continue to Grow

The pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges within the veterinary profession. While this has caused a lot of pain, it has given an opportunity for innovation. In 2022, we’re likely to see growth in terms of mental health initiatives and employers’ consciousness of these issues.

2. Health Equity Will Become More Evident

Health disparities between workers (particularly in the US) have never been more apparent. In 2022, we expect employers to offer more health-care related benefits to attract vets into their ranks.

3. The Future of Workplace Wellbeing Will Change

Employee expectations have changed over the last two years. For one, many vets want (and expect) a level of flexibility now. Relief work has become more popular, and better pay is becoming more standard given market demands.

4. Financial Wellness Will Become More Important

Given that many people were hit directly/indirectly by the pandemic (financially), we can expect to see a bit more transparency around these topics in the workspace. Increasingly, we are seeing financial wellbeing plans being used, and there is promising research pointing to their benefits. 

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