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Trends Digital Issue

May 2017

May 2017

The Trends digital archive contains digital editions of Trends magazine from November 2009 to December 2016. Issues published after December 2016 are available as PDFs.

The digital archive is available to all subscribers to Trends magazine.

Articles in this issue

Inside AAHA

Adam Hechko, DVM, talks about the benefits of being feline friendly for the practice as well as for pets, staff, and pet owners. Feline friendliness starts before the pet enters the hospital with stress-reduction tips for transport to the hospital. A happy, more relaxed feline allows the entire team to bond with both the cat and the family and enriches the jobs we perform. Along with greater job satisfaction, Hechko has seen significant reductions in bite and scratch injuries to support teams when they embrace feline-friendly techniques. Pet owner favorability toward AAHA accreditation and accredited hospitals is increasing, according to results from a 2016 survey conducted by Trone Brand Energy. The key finding from this latest survey is that the more a hospital tells its clients about its accreditation, the more knowledgeable clients are about it, the more it means to them, and the more they’ll tell others. An infographic with the article details some of the survey results. If it’s time for employee performance reviews at your practice, AAHA Press has a tool to help you manage the process. A Practical Guide to Managing Employee Performance in Veterinary Practices is tailored specifically for veterinary practices and is written by Karen Parker, DVM, a veterinarian with extensive experience in HR and practice management issues. The book logically and thoroughly organizes the various responsibilities and skills needed for practice team roles. It also includes sample job descriptions and the responsibilities provided are specialized for each member of the veterinary team.
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Various short articles cover a variety of studies and research. A recent study from Stockholm University shows high levels of brominated flame retardants measured in cats are from household dust. Another research study from the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London has found that a diet rich in medium-chain triglycerides can help control seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Another epilepsy study, this one a collaboration by researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the University of Guelph, have discovered the genetic cause of a novel myoclonic epilepsy syndrome in dogs, which has allowed for a genetic test to be developed. Additionally, two researchers from Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine have discovered that commonly cited but unresearched figures underestimate the number of dogs taken in by American animal shelters every year and overestimate the number euthanized. Also, In an effort to protect the health and welfare of its members, the American Veterinary Medical Association has launched two new mental wellness initiatives. NASA has made it’s 2017–2018 software catalog available to the public. It offers software products for a wide variety of technical applications, all free of charge without any royalty or copyright fees. A study by BarkBox reveals the behavior of America’s dog owners. Finally, a list of safety tips for pet medications and children, and list of the top 10 pet toxins round out the Notebook section.
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Donating Life: A Glimpse into the World of Veterinary Blood Banking

The demand for blood has risen with the rise in pet owner willingness for expanded efforts in life-saving treatments. To meet this demand, many veterinary practices are resorting to opening their own blood banks and creating canine, feline, and equine donor programs. Some also collaborate with existing blood banks to meet demands for blood and blood products. To help prevent shortages, veterinarians are urged to blood-type their patients so they know the type of blood to request rather than just ordering “universal.”
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Loving Family Animal Hospital: AAHA’s 2017 Practice of the Year

Loving Family Animal Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, is AAHA’s Accredited Practice of the Year for 2017. It is owned by Monique Weldon and has been accredited since shortly after opening her doors in 2011. Loving Family has grown from Weldon and 2 other employees to a practice with 18 employees, including 3 doctors. Loving Family treats companion animals and exotic pets, and also has an onsite groomer. Weldon and the staff are very involved in the Colorado community, donating $51,000 in discounted services to needy pets and families in the Rocky Mountain region. Weldon says she chose the name because she wanted everyone at the practice to feel they are part of a loving family.
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Let’s Get Physical: Feline Rehabilitation and the Veterinary Technician

The success of physical rehabilitation with cats demands a good understanding of feline behavior, including excellent handling skills. Physical rehabilitation or physiotherapy is concerned with physical function and considers the value of movement and the optimization of physical potential as being core to the health and wellbeing of individuals. The article includes a comprehensive list of the types of rehabilitation available to felines and the benefits of each type of therapy. Physical rehabilitation for cats is different than that for dogs. The plan for cats must be creative, fun, and easy to follow. It must also basically have short intervals, as the attention span of cats is much less than that of dogs.
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The Difference Maker: How Fear Free Methods Enabled the Successful Diagnosis and Treatment of One Lucky Feline

The story of Pooka, a cat treated by Jonathan Bloom, DVM, of Willowdale Animal Hospital in Toronto, Canada, for a thyroid issue illustrates the value of biannual visits for cats to the veterinarian and for Fear Free? methods to ease anxiety and stress of veterinary visits for cats. Early detection allowed Bloom to diagnose Pooka’s thyroid cancer early and prescribe effective chemotherapy. A timeline of Pooka’s visits and exams gives context to the value of regular veterinary care visits for cats and how Fear Free handling creates an environment for healthier, more relaxed feline visits.
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Communication Study, Part 2: Perspectives on a Team Approach to Resolving Communication Challenges

Veterinary medicine is a people-profession more now than ever before. This article is part two of a study on veterinary staff communication conducted by Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona. It explores perspectives on a team approach to resolving communication challenges. Service impacts the customer experience and determines whether or not they choose to return. The article coves in detail strategies for managing client-based conflict regarding appointment times, compliance with aftercare instructions, and dissatisfaction with services. These were identified in the study as key areas of stress and needing critical communication strategies. Miscommunication areas are identified and strategies and solutions are offered. Team-based conflict is also an area where poor communication can lead to conflict. Part two identifies strategies for managing this, such as asking for the opinions of the whole team and input on issues and policies ensuring that feedback gets used.
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Recipe for Good Mentorships: Successful Practices Know Mentoring Helps Both Partners

Mentorships can be a great tool in practices to help new hires learn the practice culture and get feedback on productivity and performance. This, in turn, can help stem turnover and decrease the time it takes for new hires to get up to speed with responsibilities. In the fall of 2014, the AAHA Board of Directors approved optional standards for mentorship accreditation at its accredited veterinary hospitals. Understanding how mentorships work is key to their success, and the article includes comments from mentors and mentees about what made their relationships successful and what each participant derived from it. The crux is communication and a genuine interest in the mentee’s growth and development on the part of the mentor. On the part of the mentee, it’s a commitment to growing and developing their skills, and learning from their mentor’s experience. A list of suggestions for a successful mentorship program round out the article.
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In the Community: Wolf-Dogs, Wildlife, and Victim Advocacy

Profiles of three veterinary professionals and their volunteer activities. Erin Giacobbe volunteers with Services Empowering the Rights of Victims as a victim advocate. Jen Metzger volunteers at Howling Woods Farm, helping with domestic-bred wolf-dogs. And Emily Hull volunteers at Cedar Run Wildlife Rescue, assisting veterinarians with providing medical care.
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