Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Paintadog!


This is a somewhat Sydney-centric post, but it is a beautiful idea shared by a friend. It encourages artists, it supports bushfire recovery, and it celebrates dogs. So I am posting it here.


Paintadog
Paint and help us make history! Enter the first ever Blackheath village dog art competition in Springtime 2020

Do you have a dog? Enjoy painting? Then be part of a history-making event and enter a painting of your dog, or someone else’s dog in the inaugural
Blackheath PAINTADOG competition.

The competition is open to everyone across New South Wales and will be judged in two categories: Children up to 15 years and adults.

Submissions can be drawn or painted, and must be mounted, but unframed. Initially copies of works must be submitted through our website www.paintadog.com.au with your entry form. As our space is limited we can only accept the first one hundred works from each category.

Entry to the exhibition is free and opens 11 am on Saturday October 3rd  2020.  Judging will be by a well-known local artist

A non refundable entry fee to the competition, adults $20 children $5. All profits from Paintadog will be donated to The Blackheath Rhododendrum Park, which was badly affected by the 2019-2020 bush fires.

Entries will open Monday 24th August 2020 and close on Friday 24th September 2020 Please fill out the entry form on our website and scan with your painting.

Prizes: $750 for the adult winner, $250 for The People's Choice, four $100  for the children's category. Information about other prizes from local businesses and councils, will be available closer to the date on our website.
There will be a dog parade, weather permitting.

We recommend you book your accommodation early, to avoid disappointment. There are many pet friendly Airbnb's, Stayz etc.. in and around Blackheath. A list of these will be posted on our website: www.paintadog.com.au closer to the time.
With thanks to The Blue Mountains Bush Fire Recovery Program
The RSL Blackheath
The RFS Blackheath
Jenny ward Communications Director
Henry Collins
More sponsors will be .published closer to the date

Friday, June 19, 2020

Citizen science opportunity: do you live with diabetic cat?



Do you live with a diabetic cat? Do you test your cat’s blood glucose levels at home?

If so, please share your experiences by completing this quick 10-minute questionnaire.

This questionnaire is part of a research project within Massey University's school of Veterinary Science.

The aim of the questionnaire is to provide information about the difficulties and benefits of home blood glucose monitoring.

This information can then be used to guide education and hopefully improve the welfare of diabetic cats. 

Your participation in this questionnaire is completely voluntary and you will remain anonymous.

Copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
https://massey.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ai1dcTvqiBwVjet

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Free international congress for veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians working with cats



One silver lining to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic is the accessibility of high-quality continuing education for veterinarians, animal health technicians and veterinary nurses. While face to face events have been shelved, which is disappointing, the environment also wins with the reduction in international airline traffic (for the time being). And CPD is more affordable when we need it to be.

The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) is hosting the world’s first free virtual feline congress for those of us who provide health care to feline patients. This means that you will be able to watch over 30 hours of CPD from your home – or your practice, or your car – even, finally, in the company of your cat (or dog, or horse).

The Congress will run from Saturday August 8-11, with content remaining available on demand until September 11 (for those of us in different time zones or attending to the real-time needs of our feline patients on weekends).

I’m excited to have been invited as one of the speakers.

Thanks to generous sponsorship the Congress is free to ISFM members and non-members. It is a very good opportunity to attend an international meeting of veterinary professionals from around the globe who share a commitment to improving cat care.

For the conference program and information on how to register, visit https://icatcare.org/isfm-international-congress/.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Citizen science in lockdown


You can contribute to the growing evidence base around animal welfare, ethics and One Health by participating in some citizen science.

Its been a very big week in Vetland. As a veterinarian and a lecturer, much of the week has been spent debriefing over this week’s episode of SBS Insight, on veterinary care

I don’t know anyone who didn’t find it challenging viewing, for a plethora of reasons. The panelists and speakers were all very brave and generous for sharing their painful stories. The challenge with television is trying to cover a complex, nuanced, multi-factorial issue in the space of an hour. It felt like an exploratory surgery – a wound was created, opened and explored, but there wasn’t time to develop a therapeutic plan before it was closed.

Watching it certainly triggered some painful memories for me. If you have not seen it yet but plan to, I recommend viewing it with a friend (human or otherwise), and having a bit of time to do something renewing afterwards.

Meanwhile there are a plethora of opportunities to contribute to some meaningful citizen science. As anyone running an online survey is all too aware, the incidence of survey fatigue is growing. But its worth keeping in mind that responses contribute to the growing evidence base around animal health and welfare and the role of veterinary professionals.

So, if you find yourself with a bit of free time, grab a cup of tea and consider doing one or more of the following surveys (I’ve pasted the invitations below).

For veterinarians

The global role of the veterinary sector in COVID-19 pandemic responses 

Recent press reports indicate that veterinarians and others working in animal health have been assisting with responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The purpose of this short questionnaire is to document the role of the veterinary sector in COVID-19 responses worldwide. This information will be used to explore the roles and relationships that have been formed during this outbreak, to identify ways to sustain these relationships and build new ones, and to deal with future human, animal or One Health crises.  

Please take a few minutes (less than 10) to fill in the questionnaire and contribute to building stronger and more diverse relationships between people working in human and animal health. You can access the questionnaire using this link. The questionnaire is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Korean. It will soon be available in Mandarin. 
This project is a collaboration between the Veterinary Public Health Institute (VPHI) of the University of Bern (Switzerland), the European Network for EcoHealth and One Health (NEOH), the City University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR) and the University of Ilorin (Nigeria). 

This is an anonymous questionnaire. By submitting your answers you consent to the use of this data for scientific purposes. You can contact us via: luis.gomesdocarmo[at]vetsuisse.unibe.ch.  

Ethically challenging situations for veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians due to the Covid-19 pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has raised additional and perhaps unforeseen ethically challenging situations (ECS) for those working in veterinary clinical settings. As part of my PhD study, I am conducting a survey to determine the frequency, stressfulness and nature of these ethical challenges.
The survey is open to veterinarians, animal health technicians and veterinary nurses around the world who are over the age of 18. It will take 15-20 minutes to complete.
To read the participant information statement and complete the survey, please copy and paste this link into your browser: https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=KDFEFHCKX3

This is an anonymous survey. You are welcome to share the link with colleagues.
For further information about this study, contact Anne Fawcett: anne.fawcett[at]sydney.edu.au

For dog owners

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major changes to people’s lives across the globe. We do not know for sure how this stressful time might be impacting the welfare of pet dogs or what carryover effects it might have when dogs suddenly find themselves home alone down the road. While we obviously hope we will not experience anything similar again, this does give us a unique opportunity to examine the effects of major changes to routine on our canine companions. The Humane Rescue Alliance and the University of Lincoln, UK, are partnering together to understand how dogs are coping and continue to cope after the pandemic, and we invite you to participate via this link.

For residents of the UK or Australia 

Does animal quantity of life matter?

Help researchers at the University of Edinburgh better understand our attitudes towards animals and their quantity of life by participating in a short anonymous online survey.

To participate or for further details, copy and paste this link into your browser:
https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/attitudes-towardsquantity-
of-life-dogs



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ethically challenging situations for veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Veterinarians, animal health technicians, veterinary nurse, RVN, DVM, RVT, coronavirus, Covid-19, ethical dilemma, ethical challenges
The Covid-19 pandemic has raised additional and perhaps unforeseen ethically challenging situations for veterinary team members. Illustration (c) Sally Pope, spediting. 
The Covid-19 pandemic has raised additional and perhaps unforeseen ethically challenging situations (ECS) for those working in veterinary clinical settings. 

As part of my PhD study, I am conducting a survey to determine the frequency, stressfulness and nature of these ethical challenges.


The survey is open to veterinarians, animal health technicians and veterinary nurses around the world who are over the age of 18. It will take 15-20 minutes to complete.
To read the participant information statement and complete the survey, please copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=KDFEFHCKX3

This is an anonymous survey. You are welcome to share the link with colleagues anywhere in the world.

For further information about this study, contact Anne Fawcett: anne.fawcett [AT] sydney.edu.au

The survey will remain open until July 13, 2020.

My colleague and friend Sally Pope drew the above depiction of companion animal practice during the Covid-19 era. When she isn't drawing (she is a ridiculously talented artist) she is editing academic writing. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Sickness presenteeism: we need to rethink going to work when we're sick

Covid-19, influenza-like illness, ILI, veterinary wellbeing, public heath
Covid-19 is changing the way we think about sick days, personal wellbeing, public health and PPE.


One of the things that Covid-19 has already changed is our attitude to sick-days. For a long time, many of us have assumed that its better to soldier on when we’re not feeling well. We do so to avoid letting colleagues down, to ensure continuity of care, and sometimes out of financial necessity. It may also be because there’s just no hard and fast rule about what constitutes “too sick to work”.

Veterinary team members aren’t the only people who struggle on. A medical colleague co-authored this global study comparing work related behaviour and the phenomenon of “sickness presenteeism” (essentially, turning up to work when you are sick) in health care workers vs non health care workers. Influenza like illness in health care workers is a particular concern given their contact with vulnerable persons. But Covid-19 has highlighted just how much non-medics have contact with vulnerable persons.

Anyway, in this study the researchers surveyed 533 people across 49 countries (getting a large number of responses on a global survey is a tough gig!). Of those, the majority (58.5%) would continue to go to work with signs of an influenza-like illness. How does that play out? Well, 26.9% of healthcare workers would go to work with a fever (versus 16.2% of the non-health care worker population), while 89.2-99.2% of health care workers would go to work with one or more of the following: sore throat, sinus cold, fatigue, sneezing, runny nose, mild cough and/or reduced appetite. That compares with 80-96.5% of the non-healthcare worker population.

The authors recommend better sick-leave policy management and greater uptake of the influenza vaccine. This is especially pertinent given that signs of Covid-19 are very similar to ILI.

You can read the full paper here

It will be very interesting to see whether sickness presenteeism is reduced since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the topic of self-care, a colleague shared this monthly action calendar from Action for Happiness. You can view and download a copy here

Veterinarian Joe Herbert has started a facebook group to promote well-being in the vet profession. The group is for veterinarians.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pets and aged care


Hero and I have been getting a lot of mileage out of this cardboard box, which - surprisingly - is still standing.

Last year my friend and colleague Dr Stephanie Ward took part in an amazing television program called Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds. If you have not seen it, this is quite an amazing series based on a simple question: does putting older people together with younger people benefit one or both groups, and how?

You can watch the five-part series here.

One statistic I cannot forget, delivered in the first episode by the inspirational Professor Sue Kurrle (watch one of her fabulously engaging talks here), is that 40 per cent of people in aged care don’t get visitors. FORTY PER CENT.

This is a figure that I continue to reflect on in the light of Covid-19, which has seen severe restrictions that have unintentionally but disproportionately impacted vulnerable people and their carers. It is especially painful on days like today, Mother’s Day, when a lot of families would have planned to visit their elderly relatives.

Companionship is critical. Humans need it. Companion animals need it, and we can mutually benefit. Yet many older people have to give up their companion animals when they enter care, and both animals and humans suffer when they are parted. Pets and Positive Aging is one organisation that advocates for the recognition of the bond between people and our pets as we age, and they’ve recently updated their website.  

They’ve developed a Pet Plan that should be completed in case of emergency by those living with companion animals. 

Of course there are many people out there – family members, friends, neighbours – supporting people to care for their animals, whether it’s a helpful lift to the vet, a daily dog walk, minding or feeding an animal while an owner is in hospital, or someone happy to pick up some more supplies when they’re on a run to the shops. Every single act of kindness like that makes a difference.