AVBA essay: Managing stress

It’s been one of those days… a morning filled with surgical cases then an afternoon crammed with consultations and as the day draws to a close there’s that difficult client who has you cornered. Over 20 years working in practice I witnessed many instances of stressed out vets and nurses, physically tired and emotionally overdrawn, leaving work for the day with nothing “left in the tank”.

Sound familiar? A high level of stress within caring professions almost appears to have become the norm. Study after study has shown that stress raises our risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies and susceptibility to colds and flu. New research has revealed that when our systems are constantly bathed in cortisol the body loses its ability to regulate inflammation.

Take charge! Stress management begins with identifying the sources of stress in your life. I agree, it isn’t as easy as it sounds but look closely at your habits and attitudes. Try to identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Take the same approach you would with a patient – detail the symptoms and construct a treatment plan. Consider how you cope with stress in your life. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy? You could be unknowingly sabotaging yourself and compounding the problem. Continue reading AVBA essay: Managing stress

Essay: Check under the tail… every time!

Once you have worked in veterinary practice for long enough you will have seen your fair share of preventable errors. As a practice owner there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with mistakes despite feeling that you have plenty of good systems in place and have given your staff ample training. Most practices have experienced that classic of veterinary surgery – the cat spey with no uterus that turns out to be a boy! It’s Murphy’s Law that the one day you don’t check under the tail, Charlotte turns out to be Charlie. Continue reading Essay: Check under the tail… every time!

Essay: Time to stop discounting?

Why do veterinarians persist in discounting surgical sterilisation of dogs and cats? This practice is so entrenched that I doubt anyone stops to consider why we do it.

I can think of three possible reasons for discounting surgical sterilisation of dogs and cats:

  • Every other clinic does;
  • It’s a “loss leader”; and
  • It’s a community service to help reduce the number of unwanted companion animals.

The only valid reason, in my opinion, is the last one – it’s a community service. Unfortunately, the community does not recognise this. Continue reading Essay: Time to stop discounting?

ESSAY: The Importance of Reducing Stocking Density to Improve Broiler Welfare

As global meat consumption continues to rise and consumers show ever more interest in the origin of their food, maintenance of the welfare of production animals has never before been so important (Decuypere et al., 2010). Of all the production animals, broiler chickens are the most intensively farmed, often to the detriment of their welfare. Although there are several elements to be considered with regard to broiler welfare, this essay focuses on stocking density – a major welfare concern in conventional broiler farming today (Petek et al., 2010). Continue reading ESSAY: The Importance of Reducing Stocking Density to Improve Broiler Welfare

The Role of Bits in Equitation: A Welfare Issue

Traditionally, the use of a bitted bridle has been the principal method by which the ridden horse has been controlled (Quick & Warren-Smith, 2009). The use of a bit is invasive, since it causes discomfort in the mouth and interferes with breathing (Cook, 1999). Additionally, a bit affects oral behaviours and, when accompanied by excessive . . . → Read More: The Role of Bits in Equitation: A Welfare Issue