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

US Veterinary Practices Given Grants To Help Underserved Members of Their Communities

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has announced plans to support practices helping underserved members of their communities. 

The group, which is a charitable branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), has launched the National Charitable Grant Program to help support practices and their clients. This program aims to reimburse member practices that provide services at reduced rates to disadvantaged pet owners. 

Practices partaking in the current Veterinary Charitable Care Fund (VCCF) program are also eligible to apply for funding through the new scheme.

‘This program is designed to improve access to care issues, especially as it relates to ongoing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and domestic violence’ says AVMF’s assistant executive director, David Granstrom, DVM. 

‘The program also contributes to the wellbeing of the veterinary healthcare team and members of the public struggling to afford veterinary care for their pets’.

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Controversial Bill Passes in Utah Allowing Animal Chiropractors To Practice Without Veterinary Referrals

A controversial bill in Utah authorizing certified animal chiropractors to practice without veterinary involvement has been instituted across the state. The bill was introduced back in January and has stirred controversy given its potential to produce conflict between vet health professionals.

Dr. Kara Tassone, president of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association (UVMA) when asked about the bill, commented that:

‘All I want, as a veterinarian, is for my patients to be well taken care of by the best person to take care of them. Sometimes, that’s not me’. 

Tassone continued to state that, in general, veterinarians receive little to no training during veterinary school in regards to chiropractic approaches.

‘It seemed like people were seeing their [own] chiropractor [in her practice] and were saying, hey, my dog’s sore; can you check them out?’

‘We have a whole state full of people who want it. People are seeking it under the table.’

Although there is a range of concerns that need to be addressed in regards to regulation and patient care, officials hope that veterinarians and animal chiropractors will work with, rather than against each other, in the future. 

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Veterinary Student Issues Plea To Save Her Veterinary Dreams 

A veterinary student from Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine has made a desperate appeal to the public after failing to secure the funding needed to complete her degree.

Annabelle Chappell, the student in question, has had to self-fund her degree thus far as she didn’t qualify for government funding. Although she has been working throughout her degree this has not been enough to cover the £29,250-a-year fees. 

Miss Chappell has even resorted to selling her things and borrowing money from her family to get by. She previously hoped that she could find a scholarship or sponsorship to help fund her studies- but has been unsuccessful thus far. 

‘I have written to and spoken on the phone to hundreds of companies including, but not limited to, pharmaceutical companies, charities, veterinary practices, corporate veterinary practices, leading associations, AI companies, training companies, government bodies, agricultural companies, and so on, but to no avail’ said Miss Chappell. 

‘I have also applied for every scholarship I can find that I fit the eligibility criteria for (of which there are very few) and even ones I do not fit the criteria for, as a desperate bid for help.’

‘Everyone said it was easier from the second year up. However, in view of the pandemic, companies are simply not sponsoring students as they normally do in better times.’

Although Miss Chappel has been able to defer the year to save money, she is fearful that her veterinary dreams will not become a reality. 

‘I have worked so incredibly hard to reach this goal, and having been knocked back and told by numerous people it would never happen, I have always fought back to prove them wrong and to prove to myself that I can do it.’

‘And I nearly did when I managed to secure my place at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine, and successfully completed my first year, but now I am facing another setback through lack of support. I am, however, absolutely determined to keep fighting to finish this.’

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Northern Ireland’s Vet Shortage Crisis Comes To a Head 

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has warned that as many as 200 vets and 400 other staff members could be needed to oversee checks at ports unless serious action is taken immediately. The minister further expressed fears that this may have implications for animal welfare locally. 

During a meeting with the Agriculture Committee last week, Chief veterinary officer Robert Huey also expressed concerns around his own veterinary teams, which are severely understaffed.

‘That does not leave much room for people to take leave or to have a proper work-life balance. That is a real issue for me’ Dr. Huey said.

‘We are doing about 325 CHED [common health entry documents] checks by a vet a day, and that is a lot’.

Conversations surrounding veterinary shortages have increased recently, due to brexit related changes at the border.

‘There is an increasing acceptance that the Northern Ireland agri-food industry requires a more assured supply of veterinarians than is available from the existing sources’ Minister Poots said.

Although there have been recent talks about a new veterinary institute being set up in the country, this will not immediately remedy the problem. 

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Veterinarian’s Efforts During the Pandemic Celebrated On World Veterinary Day

This year’s World Veterinary Day (held on Saturday 24th April) has centered its celebrations on the important contribution veterinarians have made during the pandemic. 

‘Veterinarians undertake essential work to ensure the optimal health and welfare of all animals, including companion animals, livestock, and wildlife’ Australia’s chief veterinary officer Dr. Mark Schipp said.

‘During this pandemic, veterinarians have continued their vital work amidst the challenges of social distancing restrictions, increased use of personal protective equipment, and a surge in demand for veterinary care.’

‘This includes during natural disasters such as the recent floods in New South Wales and contributing to the successful eradication of avian influenza exotic disease outbreaks in Victoria.’

‘They are involved in disease surveillance, agricultural trade negotiations, food safety inspection, laboratory, research, and One Health activities that keep our animals and community healthy and safe from exotic pests and diseases such as African swine fever and lumpy skin disease.’

‘If either of these diseases were established in Australia, they could lead to the closure of major export markets with serious economic and social effects.’

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Manager’s Top Tips For Motivating Staff 

Keeping up energy levels in the clinic is a key part of veterinary management. Not only does it improve performance, but it also helps push the team forward through difficult periods in the clinic. Especially during pandemic times, where the constant onslaught of clients has worn on many veterinary teams, who are burnt out and on the brink. 

To find out how veterinary leaders can motivate their staff, read on. 

Have a Clear Mission 

Having a clear mission and set of goals is crucial for any business. A common sense of purpose can be hugely motivating for staff members, as it helps drive progress forward even in periods of stagnation. 

Nobody wants to feel like just another cog in the machine, therefore emphasizing the role every staff member has in the workplace can help them recognize their importance. 

Get Some Skin in The Game 

Staff members who feel fully integrated into the team and responsible for the overall functioning of the clinic tend to be far more motivated than staff members who are on the fringe of the company. 

Having distinctive staff benefits (or even career progression options) can get disengaged staff members back in their game. 

Show Appreciation to Your Staff

Unappreciated staff tend not to be the happiest of the bunch. Employers who neglect to celebrate and praise the efforts of their teams are likely to have highly unmotivated and sometimes frustrated employees. 

The wonderful thing about appreciation is that showing it is so simple. Whether it’s a quick thanks between appointments, or even a simple well done, every little helps. 

And the beauty of appreciation is that gratitude breeds gratitude. The more grateful you are for your team, the more they will recognize the efforts of each other- collectively raising everyone up. 

For more on practice management, click here:

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