To explore pet owners’ use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during virtual veterinarian-client-patient consultations and to examine pet owners’ attitudes toward virtual consultations.
714 pet owners.
In an anonymous online survey distributed using snowball sampling, all participants were asked about utilization of ICTs, preferred method of interaction (face-to-face and 5 ICTs), opinion on virtual communication, and demographics. Sentiment toward virtual veterinarian consultations was measured for participants who had experienced a “virtual only” or “combination virtual and face-to-face” consultation in the previous 6 months using the Net Promoter Score. For these participants, multivariable logistic regression was used to explore factors associated with recommending virtual consultations.
92% (583/632) of participants resided in Ontario, Canada. Most (85.6% [611/714]) participants had experience using the telephone for veterinary care, while only 5.2% (37/714) had used live videoconferencing. Participants ranked face-to-face interactions as most preferred (P < .001), followed by telephone and then live videoconferencing. Participants were significantly (P < .001) less confident communicating during virtual consultations, particularly for building rapport. For participants experiencing a virtual consultation in the previous 6 months (n = 348), the overall Net Promoter Score was neutral at –1.43. Participants were divided about recommending virtual consultations, with 33.3% (116/348) being promoters and 34.8% (121/348) being detractors. Age of participant and comfort using videoconferencing were positively associated (P < .05) with recommending virtual consultations.
Although participating pet owners significantly preferred face-to-face consultations with veterinarians, many appear willing to consider virtual consultations. Further exploration of pet owners’ preferences and concerns around virtual care, including communication, is needed.
To explore veterinarians’ use of virtual veterinarian-client-patient consultations before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and examine veterinarians’ attitudes toward virtual consultations.
135 companion animal veterinarians in Canada, the US, and Europe.
An anonymous online survey was distributed to gather participating veterinarians’ use of information and communication technologies and their perception of virtual consultations’ effect on patient care, client communication, and their own well-being. Willingness to recommend virtual consultations was evaluated using the Net Promoter Score. Multivariable logistic regression explored factors associated with willingness to recommend virtual consultations.
Percentage of participating veterinarians using the telephone and videoconferencing increased significantly (P < .001) from before (83.6% and 3.0%, respectively) to during the COVID-19 pandemic (97.0% and 22.4%, respectively). Participants were significantly less confident (P < .001) about their ability to reach a diagnosis using a virtual consultation as compared to a hands-on patient examination. Participants perceived client communication to be more challenging during virtual as compared to face-to-face consultations, particularly for building rapport and expressing empathy. Participants were extremely unwilling to recommend virtual consultations (Net Promoter Score = –41.4) with 21.6% (24/111) promoters and 63.1% (70/111) detractors. Confidence doing a virtual patient examination and comfort using videoconferencing technology were both positively associated (P < .05) with willingness to recommend virtual consultations.
Veterinary practices and organizations interested in encouraging virtual veterinarian-client-patient consultations likely need to prioritize veterinarians’ acceptance as an initial focus. The veterinary profession would benefit from further research and education to inform virtual veterinary care.
OBJECTIVE To determine whether simulator-assessed laparoscopic skills of veterinary students were associated with training level and prior experience performing nonlaparoscopic veterinary surgery and other activities requiring hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.
SAMPLE 145 students without any prior laparoscopic surgical or fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) simulator experience in years 1 (n = 39), 2 (34), 3 (39), and 4 (33) at a veterinary college.
PROCEDURES A questionnaire was used to collect data from participants regarding experience performing veterinary surgery, playing video games, and participating in other activities. Participants performed a peg transfer, pattern cutting, and ligature loop-placement task on an FLS simulator, and FLS scores were assigned by an observer. Scores were compared among academic years, and correlations between amounts of veterinary surgical experience and FLS scores were assessed. A general linear model was used to identify predictors of FLS scores.
RESULTS Participants were predominantly female (75%), right-hand dominant (92%), and between 20 and 29 years of age (98%). No significant differences were identified among academic years in FLS scores for individual tasks or total FLS score. Scores were not significantly associated with prior surgical or video game experience. Participants reporting no handicraft experience had significantly lower total FLS scores and FLS scores for task 2 than did participants reporting a lot of handicraft experience.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Prior veterinary surgical and video game experience had no influence on FLS scores in this group of veterinary students, suggesting that proficiency of veterinary students in FLS may require specific training.
To investigate the association of demographic, career, and lifestyle factors with resilience and the association of resilience with mental health outcomes in Canadian veterinarians.
1,130 veterinarians in clinical practice across Canada.
An online questionnaire was used to collect participant data and included 5 validated psychometric scales to evaluate resilience (through the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale [CD-RISC]), perceived stress (through the Perceived Stress Scale), emotional distress (through the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), burnout (through the Maslach Burnout Inventory), and secondary traumatic stress (through the Professional Quality of Life Scale). A multivariable linear regression model was used to investigate associations between CD-RISC scores and demographic, career, and lifestyle characteristics. Univariable linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between resilience scores and other mental health outcomes.
The strongest positive association was between CD-RISC score and overall health. The level of satisfaction with support from friends and workplace resources had positive associations with the CD-RISC score. The presence of mental illness had the strongest negative association with the CD-RISC score. Being married, working in a small animal practice, or having an associate role were negatively associated with the CD-RISC score. The CD-RISC score had negative associations with scores for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Models provided evidence for the role of resilience in protecting against negative mental health outcomes in veterinarians. Both personal and workplace factors were associated with resilience, presenting opportunities for intervention at each of these levels.
To assess the readability of pet obesity information, document the presence and absence of types of pet obesity information, and perform comparisons between dog and cat obesity information content on websites.
68 websites containing pet obesity content.
Websites were systematically retrieved with a search engine and predefined search terms and phrases. For each website, pet obesity information was scored by use of 2 established readability tools: the simple measure of gobbledygook (SMOG) index and Flesch-Kincaid (FK) readability test. A directed content analysis was conducted with a codebook that assessed the presence or absence of 103 variables across 5 main topics related to pet obesity on each website.
The mean reading grade levels determined with the SMOG index and FK readability test were 16.61 and 9.07, respectively. Instructions for weight measurement and body condition scoring were found infrequently, as were nonmodifiable risk factors. There was a greater focus on addressing obesity through dietary changes than through increasing physical activity. Few websites recommended regular follow-up appointments with veterinarians. Weight management information and the emphasis on owners’ commitment to achieve their pet's weight loss targets differed among dog- and cat-focused websites.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results indicated that pet obesity information on the studied websites was largely inaccessible to pet owners owing to the associated high reading grade levels. Readers of that information would benefit from clarification of information gaps along with provision of guidance regarding navigating online information and counseling on the importance of nutritional and dietary reassessments for individual pets performed by veterinarians.
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.
1,403 veterinarians across Canada.
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.
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.