OBJECTIVE To estimate the proportion of veterinarians working with feline patients in private practices who do or do not perform onychectomy and assess attitudes regarding and practices related to onychectomy in a large population of veterinary practitioners.
DESIGN Anonymous online survey.
SAMPLE 3,441 veterinarians.
PROCEDURES An online survey was provided to members of the Veterinary Information Network from June 18, 2014, through July 9, 2014. Descriptive statistics and frequency distributions for applicable response types were calculated, and Mann-Whitney U tests were conducted to compare responses to onychectomy-related opinion questions between respondents who indicated they did or did not perform the procedure. Not all respondents answered every question.
RESULTS 2,503 of 3,441 (72.7%) survey respondents reported performing onychectomy, and 827 (24.0%) indicated they did not; 1,534 of 2,498 (61.4%) performing the procedure reported a frequency of < 1 onychectomy/month. Most (2,256/3,023 [74.6%]) respondents who performed onychectomy indicated that they recommended nonsurgical alternatives. Surgical techniques and approaches to analgesia varied, with use of a scalpel only (1,046/1,722 [60.7%]) and perioperative administration of injectable opioids (1,933/2,482 [77.9%]) most commonly reported. Responses to opinion questions in regard to the degree of pain associated with onychectomy and recovery; whether declawing is a form of mutilation, is necessary in some cats for behavioral reasons, or is a necessary alternative to euthanasia in some cats; and whether state organizations should support a legislative ban on onychectomy differed significantly between respondents who did and did not perform the procedure.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Onychectomy is a controversial topic, and this was reflected in survey results. In this sample, most veterinarians performing the procedure reported that they did so infrequently, and most offered nonsurgical alternatives to the procedure.
Objective—To gain a better understanding of sources and frequency of use of pet health information accessed by owners and assess the level of confidence in information accuracy as reported by pet owners who visit their veterinarians.
Sample Population—412 participants from 17 small animal veterinary clinics.
Procedures—Questionnaires pertaining to pet owners' habits related to pet health information (sources and frequency of their use and confidence in accuracy of information accessed) were distributed by front desk staff at 17 participating veterinary clinics. A cover letter was included with each survey that offered instructions for completion and assured respondents of their anonymity. All completed surveys were placed in an envelope and returned to the researchers for analysis.
Results—Results indicated that pet owners who visited their veterinarians acquired pet information from veterinarians via the telephone or in person and from family or friends more frequently than they acquired such information from the World Wide Web. Pet owners also reported more confidence in information received from veterinarians (in person and via telephone conversations), compared with information from any other accessible source.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The use of Web sites by owners as sources of pet health information will undoubtedly continue to grow. Veterinarians can play a more proactive role in helping pet owners to access reliable Web sites that provide useful pet health information, thereby providing a benefit to all parties.
Objective—To assess differences in strength of the human-animal bond between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners and determine whether these variations were associated with differences in medical care for pets.
Sample Population—419 pet owners presenting a dog or cat for veterinary services at private veterinary clinics in Aurora, Colo; Chula Vista, Calif; and Mexico City.
Procedures—Owner and pet demographic information was obtained via open-ended interview questions. The human-animal bond was assessed through the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Pet health data were obtained from medical records for the specific visit observed, and a body condition score was assigned.
Results—Hispanics were more likely to own sexually intact dogs and cats as pets than were individuals of other race-ethnicity groups. Overall, owners were most likely to classify their pets as providing companionship. When data for the 2 US locations were examined separately, no significant difference existed between how non-Hispanic White and Hispanic owners viewed their pets, and scores for the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale did not differ significantly among race-ethnicity groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was a strong human-animal bond among Hispanic respondents, and Hispanic pet owners in the United States and Mexico verbalized this attachment in similar ways to non-Hispanic White owners. There was no observed association between owner race-ethnicity and strength of the human-animal bond for Hispanic and non-Hispanic White pet owners in the United States. Thus, other factors must be considered to explain the observed difference in percentages of neutered animals between groups.
OBJECTIVE To assess the prevalence of medical errors (specifically, near misses [NMs] and adverse events [AEs]) and their personal and professional impact on veterinarians.
DESIGN Cross-sectional study.
SAMPLE Members of the Veterinary Information Network (n = 46,481).
PROCEDURES An electronic survey regarding veterinarians' experiences with NMs and AEs was distributed via email to an online veterinary community between September 24 and October 21, 2015. Responses were summarized and compared between genders by means of the χ2 test.
RESULTS 606 veterinarians completed the survey (1.3% response rate). Overall, 447 (73.8%) respondents reported involvement in ≥ 1 NM (n = 389 [64.2%]) or AE (179 [29.5%]). The NMs had a short-term (≤ 1 week) adverse impact on professional life for 68.0% (261/384) of respondents and longer-term negative impact for 36.4% (140/385). The impact on respondents' personal lives was similar (63.6% [245/385] and 33.5% [129/385], respectively). For AEs, these numbers were 84.1% (148/176), 56.2% (99/177), 77.8% (137/176), and 50.6% (89/175), respectively. Both NMs and AEs were more likely to negatively impact female veterinarians than male veterinarians.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE These findings suggested that many veterinarians experience emotional distress after a medical error. Support should be provided to mitigate this adverse impact on the wellbeing of veterinarians and, potentially, their future patients.
OBJECTIVE To survey practicing veterinarians regarding their perceptions of and experiences with cases of suspected or confirmed animal abuse and related state laws.
DESIGN Cross-sectional study.
POPULATION Members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN; n = 34,144) who were in veterinary practice at the time of the survey.
PROCEDURES A survey was designed and distributed online to all VIN members from January 26 to February 28, 2015. Responses were compiled, and binary logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors that influenced decisions or perceptions regarding animal abuse encounters and related legislation.
RESULTS 1,209 completed surveys were received (3.5% response rate); 1,155 (95.5%) surveys were submitted by currently practicing veterinarians. One thousand five (87.0%) practicing veterinarians reported having encountered at least 1 case of animal abuse while in practice; 561 (55.8%) of these veterinarians indicated that they had reported at least 1 case. The most common reasons selected for reporting abuse were to protect the animal, ethical beliefs, and to protect other animals in the household. The most common reasons selected for not reporting the abuse were uncertainty that the animal had been abused, belief that client education would be better, and belief that the injury or illness was accidental versus intentional. Most respondents were unaware of the current status of laws in their state regarding animal abuse reporting.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested a need for state and national veterinary and humane-law enforcement organizations to increase communication and education efforts on recognition and reporting by veterinarians of animal abuse and the related laws.