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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess veterinarian engagement with owners of poultry and livestock in urban and peri-urban areas (UPAs) of 4 western states, to evaluate the knowledge and experience of veterinarians in UPAs for treating domestic poultry and livestock, and to identify barriers to the provision of veterinary services to backyard poultry and small-scale livestock operations.

SAMPLE

880 veterinarians in UPAs.

PROCEDURES

2,400 members of the veterinary medical associations of California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington who worked in metropolitan areas with a population > 5,000 people were randomly selected and invited to participate in a needs assessment survey. Response data were analyzed with univariable logistic regression and multiple correspondence analysis.

RESULTS

880 (37%) invitees completed or partially completed the survey. Most respondents self-reported working in UPAs (686/825 [83%]) and companion animal only (n = 551) or predominant (211) practices. Although most (656/863 [76%]) respondents perceived an increase in backyard poultry and livestock in their practice areas, few were actively treating such animals primarily because of a lack of facilities, interest, or experience. Most respondents believed veterinarians have an important role in ensuring public health and preventing zoonotic disease.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Backyard poultry and livestock are increasing in popularity in UPAs of 4 western states, and veterinarians are needed to provide services to such animals. Further research and continuing education are necessary to encourage practitioners in UPAs to engage with owners of backyard poultry and livestock to ensure the health and welfare of those animals and guard public health. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;257:196-209)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To survey first-year veterinary students' knowledge of companion animal (dog, cat, and horse) behavior and popular-culture (ie, pop-culture) behavior myths related to animal body language, motivations, and learning prior to participation in an introductory animal behavior course; evaluate potential associations between sources of prior behavior knowledge and knowledge on the preclass survey; and determine whether postclass scores on the same survey were predictive of final examination score for the behavior class.

SAMPLE

156 first-year veterinary students.

PROCEDURES

Students were invited to participate in an anonymous electronic survey before and after a semester-long, 2-credit introductory animal behavior course. Demographic features, self-assessed animal behavior knowledge, and sources of prior behavior knowledge were evaluated as predictors of preclass survey knowledge scores. Postclass survey knowledge scores were evaluated for association with final examination scores as a measure of validity.

RESULTS

Preclass knowledge scores were low (mean ± SD, 49 ± 12.7%; n = 152). Reporting peer-reviewed journal articles as a source of incoming knowledge predicted 9% higher scores, whereas reporting magazines or online pop-culture articles as a source of incoming knowledge predicted 7.6% lower scores for preclass behavior knowledge, compared with scores for students not citing those respective sources. Companion animal ownership was not associated with preclass survey knowledge scores. Postclass knowledge scores were substantially improved (mean ± SD, 84.3 ± 8%) and predictive of final examination scores.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated a profound deficit of behavior knowledge among veterinary students at the start of their curriculum. Students graduating from veterinary institutions without a comprehensive behavior course may be at a disadvantage for day 1 competency in addressing animal behavior problems.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To examine the effect of 3 diet history questions on the amount and type of diet-related information gathered from pet owners and to assess whether diet-related information obtained with each question in person differed from information obtained with a diet history survey.

SAMPLE

99 pet owners.

PROCEDURES

Participants' responses to 1 of 3 randomly selected diet history questions (“Tell me everything he [or she] eats throughout a day, starting first thing in the morning right through to the end of the day”; “What kind of food does she [or he] eat?”; or “What kind of foods does he [or she] eat?”) were recorded and coded for analysis. Participants completed a postinteraction diet history survey. Amount and type of diet-related information obtained were compared among responses to the 3 diet history questions and between the response to each question and the diet history survey.

RESULTS

The “Tell me…” question elicited a significantly higher total number of diet-related items (combined number of main diet, treat, human food, medication, and dietary supplement items) than did the “What kind of food…” or “What kind of foods…” questions. The diet history survey captured significantly more information than did the “What kind of food…” or “What kind of foods…” questions; there was little difference between results of the diet history survey and the “Tell me…” question, except that treats were more frequently disclosed on the survey.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings reinforced the value of using broad, open questions or requests that invite expansion from clients for gathering diet-related information.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To estimate the prevalence of perceived stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, resilience, and suicidal ideation among Canadian veterinarians and compare results with those for other populations.

SAMPLE

1,403 veterinarians across Canada.

PROCEDURES

The study represented a cross-sectional online survey. The questionnaire incorporated validated psychometric instruments to measure perceived stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, and resilience as well as questions regarding suicidal ideation. Means and relative proportions in categories of severity were compared between genders as well as with normative data for the general population and results for veterinarians in the United Kingdom.

RESULTS

Approximately 10% of Canadian veterinarians (n = 1,403) completed the survey. Relative to the general population, survey participants had significantly higher mean scores for subscales of burnout and compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression and significantly lower mean resilience. Relative to males, females had significantly higher mean scores for perceived stress, emotional exhaustion, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression and significantly lower mean resilience. Participants also had higher mean scores for anxiety and depression relative to results for United Kingdom veterinarians. The 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation for participants was 26.2%, which was substantially higher than the estimated prevalence for the general international population (2.1% to 10.0%).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that the mental health of Canadian veterinarians was poor, compared with the mental health of the general population. These results should serve as a call to action for tools and educational programs directed at supporting veterinarian mental wellness in Canada, with special attention paid to the disparate needs of the genders.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the time to completion, number of errors, and knot-holding capacity (KHC) for starting and ending square knots (SSKs and ESKs) of a continuous pattern and Aberdeen knots tied by veterinary students and to investigate student perceptions of knot security and knot-tying difficulty for the 3 knot types.

SAMPLE

16 second-year veterinary students.

PROCEDURES

Students created 3 (4-throw) SSKs, 3 (5-throw) ESKs, and 3 (3 + 1 configuration) Aberdeen knots with 2-0 polydioxanone on a custom test apparatus. Time to complete each knot, the number of errors in each knot, and student ratings of knot-tying difficulty and confidence in knot security were recorded. Each knot was tested to failure on a uniaxial tensiometer to determine KHC and mode of failure. Variables of interest were compared by repeated-measures ANOVA or the Friedman test with post hoc pairwise comparisons.

RESULTS

Mean knot completion time for Aberdeen knots was significantly less than mean completion time for SSKs or ESKs. Mean KHC was significantly lower for ESKs than for SSKs; KHC for Aberdeen knots was not compared with these values because of methodological differences. Median error rate was higher for ESKs than for other knot types. Mean difficulty rating for Aberdeen knots was lower than that for ESKs. Most tested knots failed by breakage at the knot.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Aberdeen knots appeared to be easy for veterinary students to learn and were completed more rapidly and with fewer errors than ESKs. Including this type of knot in surgical skills curriculum for novices may be beneficial.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the impact of participating in the annual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC) on veterinary students' self-perceived knowledge of and attitudes toward animal welfare science and on participants' career choices.

SAMPLE

46 veterinary students who participated in the AWJAC from 2014 through 2017.

PROCEDURES

The study consisted of 2 parts. In part 1, a survey regarding participation in the AWJAC was emailed to all 138 veterinary students who participated in the contest from 2014 through 2017. In part 2, a self-selected subset of 4 survey respondents were interviewed by telephone regarding their AWJAC experience.

RESULTS

Forty-six of 138 (33%) AWJAC participants responded to the online survey. When respondents were asked to rate the attitudes they held before and after participating in the AWJAC, significant increases were identified for engaging with animal welfare topics in their professional decision-making, making career choices based on their interest in animal welfare, and having their interest in animal welfare shape their professional career choices. Analysis of telephone interview transcripts revealed 3 major themes regarding AWJAC participation: defining animal welfare, the value of networking, and professional preparedness.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that participation in the AWJAC heightened veterinary students' self-perceived awareness of animal welfare science, provided participants an opportunity to expand their professional networks, and prepared participants for entrance into the veterinary profession by enhancing communication and critical thinking skills.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate effects of an intensive 2-day practice-level communication skills training program (CSTP) with a 3-month follow-up communication in practice program (CIPP) on veterinary health-care team members' communication confidence, client satisfaction, and practice financial metrics.

SAMPLE

5 US companion animal veterinary practices.

PROCEDURES

Following pilot testing at 1 veterinary practice, communication skills training was performed on-site at 4 practices. The 2-day CSTP focused on veterinary communication–specific content. The CIPP included in-practice training sessions every other week to reinforce and build upon communication skills. Team members' communication skills confidence (before and after the CSTP and after the CIPP) and client satisfaction with veterinary visits (2 months before and 3 months after the CSTP) were assessed with surveys. Practice-level financial metrics were collected for 18 months. Variables of interest were compared among time points.

RESULTS

Measures of team member communication skills confidence and initiation of client conversations regarding the value of goods and services were significantly greater after the CIPP than before the CSTP. Composite communication skills confidence scores 3 months after the CSTP were positively correlated with the mean practice transaction charge and percentage change in the number of heartworm tests performed in the 3 months after the CSTP, compared with results for the same 3 months in the previous year. Measurements of client satisfaction were high before and after the CSTP. There was no significant change in financial metrics in the 3 months after CSTP, compared with the same 3 months in the previous year.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This study highlighted opportunities to increase veterinary health-care team members' communication confidence and identified future considerations for communication training in veterinary workplaces.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize elements of employment, professional success, and personal life for American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) diplomates and identify elements of practice that may serve as barriers to work-life balance or affect men and women differently.

SAMPLE

836 ACVS diplomates.

PROCEDURES

An 81-item questionnaire was sent to 1,450 ACVS diplomates in 2015 via email and conducted by means of an online platform. Responses were analyzed to identify associations among selected variables.

RESULTS

The survey response rate was 58% (836/1,450). The median age category among respondents was 41 to 45 years. The ratio of male to female diplomates was equivalent among those < 40 years old. Respondents in small animal private practice worked the fewest number of hours; those in equine or large animal private practice worked the most and had the most on-call responsibility. Women were more likely than men to be employed in academia. In both private practice and academia, respondents in small animal practice earned more than did those in equine or large animal practice, and women earned less than did men, even after adjustment for relevant covariates. Women were less likely than men to be practice owners or to hold a prestigious academic title and rank. Perceptions about the effect of gender in the workplace differed between men and women.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings suggested that the veterinary surgical profession is demanding for both genders, although increased flexibility in certain areas may improve work-life balance.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association