Weekly companion animal news: February 13, 2023

Cornell University launches online veterinary dentistry course for educators and professionals

Veterinary dentistry experts at Cornell University have developed an online program available for educators and professionals in the industry. The three-course Veterinary Dentistry Diagnostics Program is hosted online by eCornell, where it’s available for external use. “Veterinary colleges can use these resources to augment their existing dentistry curricula, while practices can use them to support employee training to expand services in a rapidly growing field,” said Dr. Jodi Korich, associate dean for education. The course can be run in facilitator-led segments or as modules for students to complete on their own.

Rather than the gold standard, veterinarians should present the ‘best fit’ to pet owners first: survey

While veterinarians are often taught to present the gold standard of care to pet owners first, a recent survey by Nationwide and Mind Genomics Advisor indicates doctors need to figure out the client’s primary concern. According to the survey, pet owners tend to show one of three main concerns: cost, convenience or optionality (meaning they want to know all their options and discuss the advantages and disadvantages). Based on these preferences, “the first option presented should be the one that the veterinarian feels is most likely to be the best fit for the pet family at the time,” as opposed to presenting the gold standard first, Dr. Kate Boatright writes for the American Animal Hospital Association.

Animal health industry saw higher employee turnover last year, with retention at all-time lows: Brakke

More than half the U.S. animal health industry saw a higher employee turnover rate in 2022, according to a new report. Brakke Consulting presented the findings at VMX. Seventy percent of the respondents in Brakke’s report saw a higher turnover rate last year. Thirty percent reported a drop in the acceptance rate for job candidates. Sixty percent of respondents failed to reach their hiring goals, and 59% said it took longer to fill a job opening since the pandemic. According to Jeff Santosuosso, who oversees recruitment activities for Brakke, employee retention levels across the animal health industry are at all-time lows. The AVMA has more.

AVMA leaders discuss how the veterinary profession can prevent burnout

A session at the recent AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference focused on the causes of and potential ways to address burnout. According to AVMA senior economist Clinton Neill, burnout can be caused by unfair treatment at work, an unmanageable workload, a lack of role clarity, lack of communication or perceived support from managers, or unreasonable time pressures. Burnout doesn’t just affect individuals; it affects the productivity of the entire workplace. To address burnout, Neill suggested using the Professional Quality of Life Assessment, which measures how health care providers feel about their work. He also noted a study being conducted by Cornell University that could provide tools for participants to help reduce burnout.

Minnesota veterinary professionals want to pass a technician licensure bill

The Minnesota VMA is proposing to change the state’s Veterinary Practice Act to add a definition for veterinary technician and stipulate that only people licensed by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health can carry the title of veterinary technician. A licensing process would raise quality of animal care and hopefully keep technicians in the career field, one veterinarian told the Post Bulletin. Minnesota is one of 10 states that don’t regulate veterinary technicians.

California animal shelters lack access to critical veterinary care, survey finds

More than 344,000 California animal shelters lack adequate access to veterinary care staff, according to a survey recently released by the San Francisco SPCA. The survey, which focused on California’s roughly 230 animal welfare organizations, found that shelters are overcrowded, with some having to resort to euthanasia for adoptable animals. Of the shelters that have budgeted positions for veterinarians and veterinary nurses, more than 50% of those positions remain vacant due to a lack of job candidates. This has left 25% of shelters unable to provide essential veterinary care, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

New drug approvals give veterinarians access to novel medicines for dogs, cats and horses

Veterinarians in the United States have three noteworthy drugs available to them after recent regulatory approvals. For the first time, veterinarians will be able to access a drug that directly treats pancreatitis in dogs, after the FDA granted provisional approval to a novel medicine developed in Japan. The agency has also approved the first orally administered medication to treat diabetes mellitus in cats, and horses with osteoarthritis have access to the first FDA-approved pentosan injection to control lameness, according to the VIN News Service.

Older pet owners consider their dogs children, while younger pet owners are willing to spend more: survey

Nearly 50% of baby boomers consider their dogs children, while 34% of Generation Z thinks of their pet as a best friend, according to a survey commissioned by the pet services marketplace Wag. The survey, conducted in January, included 1,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who had at least one dog. Dog owners across all generations said they spend an average of $50 to $100 monthly on food and nutrition. Younger pet owners “overall are less budget-conscious and willing to spend premiums in areas like grooming materials and services, fashion and accessories, and pet insurance,” according to Wag. Fox 5 New York has more.