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

Study Highlights the Common Stressors Experienced By Vets 

A global study on ethically challenging situations (ECSs) faced by vets has highlighted some of the common stressors amongst professionals. 

Researchers from the University of Sydney analyzed survey results from 540 veterinary team members from across the world. They found that many vets have struggled with treating animals whilst protecting themselves from covid-19. Additionally, many veterinarians have struggled with:

-Challenging decisions about how to handle clients with limited finances (64.4%)

-Conflict between personal wellbeing and work (64.3%)

-Conflict between the interests of clients and their animals (59.6%)

‘It’s important that, as a profession, we look carefully at moral stress—the stress arising from ethical challenges—as this impacts the wellbeing of all veterinary team members’ said author Anne Quain, MVetStud, DECAWBM.

‘A key stressor identified in our survey was conflict between one’s personal wellbeing or the wellbeing of one’s family, and one’s professional role and commitment to animal welfare.’

Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages imposed further limitations on practicing veterinarians early into the pandemic. 

‘Veterinary team members literally found themselves having to decide which was more important—their own health and safety, or caring for animals and the people who depend on them.’

To read more about this story, click here:

AVVMC Changes Name in Bid to Be More Inclusive 

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has changed its name to the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, in a bid to be more internationally inclusive. 

The slight wording change from ‘Association of American Colleges’ to ‘American Association of Veterinary Colleges’ is a nod to the international members who are part of the association. Formerly, the organization’s name only encapsulated the American-based colleges. The move has been considered ever since schools became eligible for accreditation by the Council on Education (COE). Currently, 22 of the 55 COE-accredited schools are outside the U.S. 

‘Our international members told us they wanted us to retain the word American, indicating their association with the American accreditation system’ says AAVMC’s chief executive officer, Andrew T. Maccabe, DVM, MPH, JD.

‘Because of that preference, the term ‘international’ was not included in the new name, even though institutions from throughout the world are eligible to qualify for membership.’

To read more, click here:

Vets Celebrate Passing of Animal Cruelty Bill 

Vets have welcomed the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill passed into law this week. The bill means that animal abusers could potentially face up to five years in prison for their offense. Previously, the maximum sentence was six months. 

The new bill should come into force on the 29th of June. Advocates for the bill hope it will help tackle a range of illegal activities, such as puppy farming. 

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said the reform was ‘long overdue’.

In a statement, he continued ‘that justice will now be served for animals… tougher sentences will act as a stronger deterrent to potential animal abusers, and will help us in our aim to cancel out animal cruelty once and for all.’

Richard Woodward from the Blue Cross added:

‘The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill is a major step forward for animal welfare in England and Wales.’

‘Blue Cross has campaigned for this law, in coalition with other animal welfare charities, for a number of years and we are delighted it is finally reaching the statute book. The law should send a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated and will now be punished appropriately. We also hope it will act as a more effective deterrent to anybody seeking to abuse or neglect animals.’

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Veterinarians Raise Alarms Around Illegal Veterinary Drug Imports 

Veterinarians have raised alarms over increasingly frequent illegal veterinary drug imports coming through UK borders. 

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate seized more than 40 different illegal drugs in 2021, compared with just one in 2019. 

Packages from as far as Australia and India have been seized. In the UK, it is illegal to import veterinary medicines without a license- given the risk they may be dispensed without the supervision of a veterinary professional. 

‘Illegal imports are a concern, particularly if this means that antibiotics are being imported and used without a veterinary prescription. It’s particularly irresponsible to be importing high-priority critically important antibiotics illegally, or to be importing drugs that are banned from all veterinary use in the UK’ said Cóilín Nunan, a scientific adviser to the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics. 

‘If The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has evidence that illegal imports of veterinary drugs are increasing, they should launch an investigation to determine the scale of the problem and to find out why this is happening, and how it can be stopped.’

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Veterinary Shortages in New Zealand Exacerbated By Covid Pandemic

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) has entered talks with the government to gain border exemptions for overseas veterinarians wishing to work in the country. 

Currently, New Zealand needs an excess of 120 veterinarians, including 25 for the Southland region. 

NZVA chief executive Kevin Bryant commented that:

‘We’ve always had a shortage here, and we’ve filled our gaps by bringing in vets from overseas’.

‘When Covid hit, that gap was exposed very dramatically.’

Several organizations, including VetSouth and Otautau Vets, have been and/or are currently struggling to get recruits. 

This is unsurprising, given New Zealand’s tough borders restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Several veterinarians (around 30) have already gained border exceptions to work in New Zealand, given the severity of the situation. 

To read more, click here:

Feeling Unproductive? Here’s How to Get Into The Zone At Work

We all get into slumps. No one can function at 100% all the time, and occasionally it can be difficult to get into ‘that zone’. 

Thankfully, there are a few things professionals can do to stay on their ‘A game’ every day. 

Find Moments To Just ‘Be’

Whilst this may sound counterproductive, being fully present and taking moments to pause (such as during a lunch break, or even a commute) can help reduce stress levels. Taking these brief ‘pauses’ can be beneficial for mental wellbeing, and lessen feelings of exhaustion and burnout. 

Find Out What Works For You

We all need varying amounts of energy and concentration depending on the task at hand. 

Vets who find themselves more productive and alert in the morning should try (if possible) to schedule flexible, high concentration tasks during this time. Try to conversely schedule low-energy tasks during those periods where you know you are likely to be less engaged. 

Experiment With Different Routines

Building a routine that naturally gets you into the ‘flow’ of things can be highly beneficial. 

Certain routines can systematically signal your neurochemistry to align with your desired outcomes. 

Trying out new routines and practices therefore can be a good way of finding something that gets you refreshed and ready to engage every day. 

To discover more tips to stay engaged throughout the day, click here:

Did you miss last week’s weekly veterinary news roundup? Click here.  

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