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

The Clinics of the Future: How the Pandemic Has Changed Veterinary Design 

The COVID pandemic has accelerated several innovative design trends in veterinary medicine. Architects and veterinarians from across the US spoke to JAVMA news about these trends, discussing how they will change practice life in the future. 

Dr Marty Greer, a veterinarian, built her first clinic ‘Veterinary Village’ with her husband, Dr Dan Griffiths. For seven years, Dr Greer has wanted to build a drive-through clinic. She is hopeful that the convenient design will become popular after the increased demand for curbside service. 

Drive through clinics allow veterinarians to examine animals right next to owners vehicles- an advantage when it comes to efficiency and ease of care. 

‘Parking has always been something of a challenge for many veterinary practices’ added Daniel Eisenstadt, CEO and chairman of Terravet Real Estate Solutions, a real estate group that owns almost one million square feet of veterinary property in the US. 

‘Pre-COVID, there were already parking challenges, and it has accelerated now because pet owners have been waiting in their cars.’ Innovative clinic designs such as Dr Greer’s offer a solution to this problem. Drive-through services further allow vets to examine pets in a controlled environment, where social distancing can be maintained. 

‘There is also potential that the waiting room will go away,’ said Ashley Shoults, a partner at Animal Arts, an animal care architectural firm. ‘Not completely, but they can be a lot smaller.’ 

It will certainly be interesting to see how veterinary clinic design changes over the next couple of years and how this will affect day-to-day practice life.  

To read more about architectural veterinary trends, click below.

Telemedicine Battle Erupts in Florida 

Florida has become the centre of a telemedicine deregulation battle. The conflict has arisen after a bill, which would allow telemedicine providers complete access to companion animals, was pushed through the government. This bill would remove current restrictions which require practitioners to see patients in person- a prerequisite of remote care. 

Dutch Pet, the company pushing for deregulation, has hired the lobbying firm Corcoran Partners to propel the bill in the Florida House and Senate before April 30th. This has stunned the Veterinary Medical Association (VMA), which has been pushing for telemedicine regulation for years. 

The VMA has prompted Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) members to contact their representatives to slow down the bill. 

The bill would not only deregulate telemedicine but also allow the administration of rabies vaccinations by non-veterinarians.

‘The FVMA’s position on this is straightforward,’ said Dr Richard Sutliff, a private practitioner and president of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. 

‘We have all been using the tools of telemedicine for years. We just don’t believe it’s best for initial diagnosis, and we don’t think it should be used to establish a veterinary-client-patient relationship..’

To read more about this article, click here.

RCVS Completes Sale of its Westminster Office 

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has sold its London residence for £14 million. The decision to sell the property was made back in November after the council decided it was unfit for purpose. 

RCVS Treasurer Susan Dawson said: 

‘The council recognised that this deal realised maximum value for the building, especially considering the impact the pandemic has had on property prices in Central London.’

‘It also provides a very valuable opportunity to reflect on the changing needs of the organisation and the professions and public it serves, and to consider the requirements and different working patterns of the College staff going forwards.’

‘It is likely that many staff members will wish to continue to work at home more than they did pre-Covid, so the need for pure desk space may not be as great as we had planned for the 10-15 years ahead. However, the importance of in-person meetings for collaboration, creativity and the maintenance of good corporate culture is not to be underestimated, so our new requirements are likely to be different to that anticipated back in 2018.’

To read more, click here:

Survey Reveals How Veterinary Clinics are Coping Amid the Pandemic

The latest survey in the RCVS’s series has revealed a tough but hopeful outlook for veterinary clinics across the UK. Conducted between 25 February and 4 March 2021, the final instalment of the series shows that only 16% of clinics are currently providing services previously given before the pandemic. 

More clinics are offering remote consultations than ever before (around 64%). Staff turnover wise, 58% of participants had roughly the same number of full-time staff as they did back in the first quarter of 2020, whereas 19% said they had fewer. 

RCVS chief executive Lizzie Lockett said: 

‘Although this survey took place in the midst of the lockdown and before the schools reopened, there were some positive results here around staffing and the financial situation for practices.’

‘Hopefully, this will mean that, as the restrictions ease going from spring into summer, many practices and practice staff will be in a position to return to a near-normal level of service and business.’

‘There were, however, still a few areas of concern – some of which will hopefully be resolved by the forthcoming easing of restrictions; for example, the difficulty in obtaining independent witnesses for the destruction of controlled drugs, with some 34% of practices reporting difficulties, compared to 20% in December.’

To read more, click here:

Veterinarians Support Sled Dogs During Huge Sledding Event 

Two Army veterinarians, Major Rachel Acciacca and Major Gretchen Powers recently volunteered in one of the most physically taxing sporting events in the world. The Iditarod is a nearly 1,000-mile sled dog race that is annually held in Alaska. 

‘I was introduced to the Iditarod by another Veterinary Corps Officer back in 2015,’ said Maj. Rachel Acciacca.

‘I was fortunate to support the pre-race veterinary checks and race start in 2015 and again in 2017. This year, I was selected to serve as a race veterinarian out along the austere Iditarod trail where the mushers check-in for resupply, rest, and veterinary exams on their dogs.’

‘I have followed the race for years and had been looking forward to the opportunity to volunteer as soon as I met eligibility requirements,’ said Maj. Gretchen Powers. 

‘There is an application process for interested veterinarians who are selected based on experience with sled dogs and other canine athletes. Each year the race accepts some ‘rookie’ veterinarians to join the remaining veteran crew.’

Teams race through whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds. Acciacca and Powers checked the sled dogs at every trail checkpoint and assisted with injuries or concerns. 

To read more of this article, click here:

How Relationships Underpin Personal Wellbeing

Everyone has struggled during the pandemic. The uncertainty, isolation and unrest have driven many into a state of anxiety. During difficult periods such as this, people typically fall back on their support networks, whether that be friends, colleagues or family members. However, due to COVID restrictions and regulations, this has been hard to do for many. 

So how can leaders provide a support network for staff?

Leaders should be considerate of the needs and pains of their team. Many employees at the moment are struggling, and being conscious of this is the first step. 

Working remotely has made work feel rather transactional. This can be disheartening for staff members, who likely crave a bit of human interaction. Therefore, taking out the time to talk about non-related work topics can boost morale. 

As soon as it is safe (and legal) try to have a face-to-face sitdown with your colleagues. Whilst a simple phone call or zoom can ease loneliness, nothing beats an in-person chat.

For those under management, be considerate to the needs of business leaders. Although they are at the top of the organisation, they too are human and are likely struggling to a degree. 

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