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Abstract

A thoughtful, clearly defined research question should be the foundation of any clinical trial or research study. The research question helps determine key study methods, and defining a specific research question helps avoid problems with inadequate sample size, inappropriate design, or multiple statistical comparisons. Rationales and strategies for formulating research questions and using them to define study protocols are discussed, with a focus on application in clinical trials.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate veterinarian-client communication and veterinarian and client satisfaction with veterinary visits before and after veterinarians underwent a 6-month communication skills training program in a practice setting.

DESIGN Case-based pretest-posttest intervention study.

SAMPLE 1 purposely selected companion-animal practice.

PROCEDURES The practice team (3 veterinarians, 5 veterinary technicians, 1 receptionist, and 1 office manager) participated in a 6-month educational program (intervention) that included interactive communication modules, individual coaching, and a communication laboratory. For each of the veterinarians, 6 appointments were video recorded and 30 additional clients completed a visit satisfaction survey both before and after the intervention. The Roter interaction analysis system was used to analyze the video-recorded appointments.

RESULTS After the intervention, appointments were 5.4 minutes longer and veterinarians asked 60% fewer closed-ended lifestyle-social questions, provided 1.4 times as much biomedically related client education, and used 1.5 and 1.25 times as much facilitative and emotional rapport communication, respectively, compared with before the intervention. Clients provided veterinarians with 1.3 times as much biomedically related information and engaged in twice as much social conversation. After the intervention, veterinarians perceived their clients as complaining less and being more personable and trusting, and clients felt more involved in the appointment and reported that the veterinarian expressed greater interest in their opinion.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that the intervention resulted in veterinarians who spent more time educating and building rapport with their clients and facilitating client input in an unhurried environment, which enhanced overall veterinarian visit satisfaction and various aspects of client visit satisfaction.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

As community efforts to reduce the overpopulation and euthanasia of unwanted and unowned cats and dogs have increased, many veterinarians have increasingly focused their clinical efforts on the provision of spay-neuter services. Because of the wide range of geographic and demographic needs, a wide variety of spay-neuter programs have been developed to increase delivery of services to targeted populations of animals, including stationary and mobile clinics, MASH-style operations, shelter services, community cat programs, and services provided through private practitioners. In an effort to promote consistent, high-quality care across the broad range of these programs, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians convened a task force of veterinarians to develop veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. These guidelines consist of recommendations for general patient care and clinical procedures, preoperative care, anesthetic management, surgical procedures, postoperative care, and operations management. They were based on current principles of anesthesiology, critical care medicine, infection control, and surgical practice, as determined from published evidence and expert opinion. They represent acceptable practices that are attainable in spay-neuter programs regardless of location, facility, or type of program. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians envisions that these guidelines will be used by the profession to maintain consistent veterinary medical care in all settings where spay-neuter services are provided and to promote these services as a means of reducing sheltering and euthanasia of cats and dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine whether gender or interest in pursuing specialty certification in internal medicine or surgery was associated with video-gaming, 3-D spatial analysis, or entry-level laparoscopic skills in third-year veterinary students.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE A convenience sample of 68 (42 female and 26 male) third-year veterinary students.

PROCEDURES Participants completed a survey asking about their interest in pursuing specialty certification in internal medicine or surgery. Subsequently, participants’ entry-level laparoscopic skills were assessed with 3 procedures performed in box trainers, their video-gaming skills were tested with 3 video games, and their 3-D spatial analysis skills were evaluated with the Purdue University Visualization of Rotations Spatial Test. Scores were assigned for laparoscopic, video-gaming, and 3-D spatial analysis skills.

RESULTS Significantly more female than male students were interested in pursuing specialty certification in internal medicine (23/42 vs 7/26), and significantly more male than female students were interested in pursuing specialty certification in surgery (19/26 vs 19/42). Males had significantly higher video-gaming skills scores than did females, but spatial analysis and laparoscopic skills scores did not differ between males and females. Students interested in pursuing specialty certification in surgery had higher video-gaming and spatial analysis skills scores than did students interested in pursuing specialty certification in internal medicine, but laparoscopic skills scores did not differ between these 2 groups.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE For this group of students, neither gender nor interest in specialty certification in internal medicine versus surgery was associated with entry-level laparoscopy skills.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To explore the extent to which veterinary colleges and schools accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (COE) have incorporated specific courses related to animal welfare, behavior, and ethics.

DESIGN Survey and curriculum review.

SAMPLE

All 49 AVMA COE-accredited veterinary colleges and schools (institutions).

PROCEDURES The study consisted of 2 parts. In part 1, a survey regarding animal welfare, behavior, and ethics was emailed to the associate dean of academic affairs at all 49 AVMA COE-accredited institutions. In part 2, the curricula for the 30 AVMA COE-accredited institutions in the United States were reviewed for courses on animal behavior, ethics, and welfare.

RESULTS Seventeen of 49 (35%) institutions responded to the survey of part 1, of which 10 offered a formal animal welfare course, 9 offered a formal animal behavior course, 8 offered a formal animal ethics course, and 5 offered a combined animal welfare, behavior, and ethics course. The frequency with which courses on animal welfare, behavior, and ethics were offered differed between international and US institutions. Review of the curricula for the 30 AVMA COE-accredited US institutions revealed that 6 offered a formal course on animal welfare, 22 offered a formal course on animal behavior, and 18 offered a formal course on animal ethics.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that AVMA COE-accredited institutions need to provide more formal education on animal welfare, behavior, and ethics so veterinarians can be advocates for animals and assist with behavioral challenges.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate the preparedness of small animal veterinary personnel to communicate with Spanish-speaking pet owners with limited English-language proficiency (LEP).

DESIGN

Cross-sectional telephone survey.

SAMPLE

Data from 383 small animal veterinary practices.

PROCEDURES

Telephone surveys were conducted with veterinarians and office or practice managers from a random sample of US small animal veterinary practices in 10 states to estimate the number of Spanish-speaking pet owners with LEP visiting these practices, proportion of practices that used services to facilitate communication with Spanish-speaking clients with LEP, and degree of veterinarian satisfaction with their communication with those clients.

RESULTS

Responses were obtained from 383 of 1,245 (31%) eligible practices, of which 340 (89%) had Spanish-speaking clients with LEP and 200 (52%) had such clients on a weekly basis. Eight percent of practices had veterinary personnel who were conversant or fluent in spoken Spanish. Veterinarians who depended on clients' friends or family to translate were significantly less satisfied with client communication than were those who could converse in Spanish with clients directly. Availability of Spanish-speaking staff and offering of Spanish-language resources were associated with an increase in the number of Spanish-speaking clients with LEP seen on a weekly basis. Industry- and practice-generated Spanish-language materials were offered at 32% (124/383) and 21% (81/383) of practices, respectively; 329 (86%) practices had no Spanish-language marketing.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Opportunities were identified for improving communication with pet owners with LEP in the veterinary clinical setting, which could ultimately positively impact patient well-being and client compliance.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize patterns of dog and cat ownership and veterinary service use among Latino dog and cat owners with various degrees of English-language proficiency.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional telephone survey.

SAMPLE

Data from 393 Latino pet owners.

PROCEDURES

Telephone surveys were conducted with Latino dog and cat owners from a random sample of US households to determine the number of dogs and cats owned, factors associated with veterinary service use, and satisfaction with veterinary care.

RESULTS

393 of 1,026 (38.3%) respondents were pet owners. Two hundred fifty-nine of 330 (78.5%) dog owners and 70 of 115 (60.9%) cat owners reported taking their pet to the veterinarian in the past 12 months, most commonly for vaccination or examination or because of illness. Respondents were most satisfied with veterinary care provided, least satisfied with cost, and moderately satisfied with quality of communication. English-language proficiency was not significantly associated with whether owners sought veterinary care. A large proportion of respondents who wanted to receive pet health information in Spanish described themselves as speaking English well or very well.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although having limited proficiency in English was not associated with Latino pet owners seeking veterinary care, opportunities exist for veterinary personnel to improve communications with these clients. Personnel can assess their clients' language needs by asking each about the language in which they would prefer to receive their pet's health information.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To identify the scope of occupational hazards encountered by veterinary personnel and compare hazard exposures between veterinarians and technicians working in small and large animal practices.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

POPULATION Licensed veterinarians and veterinary staff in Minnesota.

PROCEDURES A survey of Minnesota veterinary personnel was conducted between February 1 and December 1, 2012. Adult veterinary personnel working in clinical practice for > 12 months were eligible to participate. Information was collected on various workplace hazards as well as on workplace safety culture.

RESULTS 831 eligible people responded, representing approximately 10% of Minnesota veterinary personnel. A greater proportion of veterinarians (93%; 368/394) reported having received preexposure rabies vaccinations than did veterinary technicians (54%; 198/365). During their career, 226 (27%) respondents had acquired at least 1 zoonotic infection and 636 (77%) had been injured by a needle or other sharps. Recapping of needles was reported by 87% of respondents; the most common reason reported by veterinarians (41%; 142/345) and veterinary technicians (71%; 238/333) was being trained to do so at school or work. Recent feelings of depression were reported by 204 (25%) respondents. A greater proportion of technicians (42%; 155/365) than veterinarians (21%; 81/394) indicated working in an environment in which employees experienced some form of workplace abuse.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Veterinary personnel in Minnesota were exposed to several work-related hazards. Practice staff should assess workplace hazards, implement controls, and incorporate instruction on occupational health into employee training.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine characteristics of the labor market for veterinary technician specialists (VTSs) during 2013 and identify characteristics significantly associated with pay rate for VTSs.

DESIGN Survey.

SAMPLE POPULATION 351 VTSs.

PROCEDURES A 29-question, multiple-choice survey was sent in early 2014 to all individuals (n = 786) who had been certified as VTSs and for whom an email address could be identified.

RESULTS Weighted mean pay rate for respondents was $23.50/h; 51.3% (180/351) of respondents received a raise after obtaining VTS certification. Being male, having attended graduate school, having > 4 years of VTS experience, holding a supervisory or management position, being employed by an academic employer or referral practice, and working in the Northeast or outside the United States increased the overall odds of receiving a higher pay rate as a VTS, once other variables were controlled.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that gender, work experience, and job characteristics were significantly associated with pay rate for VTSs.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association