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The cost of empathy

I was deeply disturbed by findings in the recent Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study that “just 41 percent of veterinarians would recommend the profession to a friend or family member” and that “24.9 percent of veterinarians have considered suicide at some time in their lives.” 1 A variety of stressors associated with working in private veterinary practice are contributors to burnout, compassion fatigue, lack of job satisfaction, and low self-esteem and can lead to an erosion of professional expectations and aspirations. That many members of the veterinary profession have mental health issues is, I

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Focus on context, not breed, to prevent dog bites

We were distressed to see the recent letters to the editor 1,2 endorsing breed-specific legislation as a solution to dog bites. Although we fully appreciate the damage any dog bite can do and have devoted no small part of our lives to preventing dog bites, we argue that breed bans will continue to put children at risk and that the focus should be on dog bite contexts, not breed.

To date, breed bans and other types of breed-specific legislation have not produced the intended results. Although hospitals in Catalonia, Spain,

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Alternative to declawing is just more of the same

I am shocked that JAVMA would print the letter from Dr. Kerry Yoon describing his alternative approach to declawing. 1 In performing this procedure, Dr. Yoon uses a nail trimmer and purposely leaves a fragment of the distal phalanx in place. Thus, the only real difference between his method and the one first described in 1952 2 is that he uses an electrocautery unit to destroy any germinal cells that might remain, which he claims prevents claw regrowth. However, because germinal cells are not visible to the

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Reflecting one medicine when describing medical fields

Regarding the recent excellent report by MacLellan et al 1 (“Association of magnetic resonance imaging-based preoperative tumor volume with postsurgical survival time in dogs with primary intracranial glioma”), my only criticism, and it is a nonsubstantive one, is the use of the term “human-medicine neuropathologist” to describe a consultant the authors used for assistance with histologic diagnosis. The use of this term suggests that there are different medicines, at a time when the concept of one medicine-one health has never been more important for the future health of our planet. I think

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Injection of triamcinolone in mast cell tumors

I read with great interest the study by Case and Burgess 1 on intralesional injection of mast cell tumors with triamcinolone. I have been using injectable methylprednisolone in a similar manner for the past 30 years because of the generally poor results I have seen with standard chemotherapy. The patients I have used this technique on range in age and breed. However, I have only used it on patients with mast cell tumors staged as grade I or II according to the Patnaik system, and only on patients with tumors numerous enough

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Watering hole cover art

The outstanding painting—“Nebraska Watering Hole”—on the cover of the November 15, 2017, issue of the JAVMA by Dr. Dale Sworts typifies much of the ranch landscape of western Nebraska. It was an honor and privilege to have been associated with Dr. Sworts at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences when he was in my pharmacology class. It is with pride that I remember Dr. Sworts and the many other cream-of-the-crop veterinary medical students I had in my classes over 34 years and who have saved the livestock industry untold

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Diversity starts with us

I agree with the points raised by Dr. Mildred Montgomery Randolph in her recent letter to the editor on diversity in the veterinary profession. 1 Like her, I have pledged to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, especially veterinary medicine. When I arrived in the United States with a veterinary degree from Nigeria, I met a child who had told her mother she wanted to be a veterinarian, but her mother was concerned about this career choice because she was a minority. The mother said that meeting me changed her perception and gave

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Origin of the word “veterinarian”

Dr. Willis W. Armistead was appointed dean of the Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1953, when I was a first-year student in the school. Dean Armistead's insistence on correctly pronouncing the name of our future profession 1 in retrospect was a relatively minor point in comparison with his other contributions. He placed great emphasis on professional appearance and conduct, instructing students that they should begin during their school years to act and dress as a professional. That meant no dirty or raggedy jeans, sleeveless shirts, dirty boots or shoes, scraggly unshaven

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Emphasizing one health

The recent commentary 1 from Drs. Nielson and Eyre represents, we hope, the beginning of an urgently needed dialogue on the direction of veterinary medicine and, more specifically, veterinary education in the 21st century.

Nielsen and Eyre propose a clinical career track in one health that would focus on what they call “ecological medicine” and integrate knowledge on disease dynamics with information on ecology and the environment. This is an important step forward, but we believe it does not go far enough, because understanding the interaction between animal and environmental health also requires knowledge of the

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Improving student wellness by promoting social fitness

In recent years, wellness issues have become a major discussion topic in veterinary medicine. In most instances, however, discussions of wellness have been limited to mental and emotional health (eg, depression and suicidal ideation). In contrast, in 2016, the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine launched a comprehensive wellness model that involves 5 wellness outcomes: intellectual, mental and emotional, social, cultural, and physical. 1

I would like to draw particular attention to the social aspect of wellness, as previous research has found that approximately 50% of veterinary students are introverts 2

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association