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Surveys Show Threat of Burnout in the Veterinary Profession

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Three-quarters of veterinarians are concerned about stress and burnout in the profession because of COVID-19, a new survey from the British Veterinary Association found.

The findings were released six months after the country’s initial lockdown was lifted, and they come as Britain – like many countries, including the United States – faces a new wave of coronavirus infections.

Of the 565 respondents who answered BVA’s survey, 74% said they were concerned about stress and burnout. Other concerns included the provision of practical training for veterinary students (72%), as well as student and new graduate confidence (67%).


Many respondents also said they were concerned about the impact of a recession on the veterinary sector, and about the health and welfare of wildlife and zoo animals. Veterinary workplaces have adapted to working safely, but 42% of the respondents said they’re concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work, BVA said.

“Although this is just a snapshot survey, it tells us a lot about how our colleagues are feeling six months on from the national lockdown,” said BVA president James Russell. “It paints a worrying, but not surprising, picture about the health and well-being of a profession that has worked incredibly hard and in very difficult circumstances this year.”

Study finds burnout higher in younger vets

Veterinary professionals under the age of 30 suffer the highest rate of burnout, another new study found.

Ivan Zakharenkov, a veterinarian and CEO of Veterinary Integration Solutions, analyzed responses from 1,457 people, mostly veterinarians and veterinary technicians, in all age groups.

Younger professionals stood out when asked about their emotional and physical exhaustion, enthusiasm, and “sense of dread when I think about the work I have to do.”

“This finding is even more alarming because, in general, the veterinarian population is young. For example, 38% of U.S. vets are age 40 and under,” Zakharenkov said. He attributed the higher burnout among younger vets to their emphasis on the work-life balance.

Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Ivan-balvan