Washington VMA tries to strengthen ties between veterinarians

The Washington State Veterinary Medical Association (WSVMA) recently held two different events that were designed to promote unity and understanding within the veterinary profession.

First, the WSVMA board of directors approved the formation of a task force for the purpose of supporting and building relationships across veterinary disciplines. According to WSVMA spokesman Charlie Powell, the idea for the “Task Force for Interdisciplinary Rapport” came about as a result of discussions on animal welfare.

“It quickly became apparent that the diversity of types of practice within veterinary medicine could be put at odds with one another,” Powell said.

“For example, no one accepts intentionally burning a companion animal’s skin for any reason and would regard it as animal cruelty. It is common, however, to identify range cattle using a hot-iron brand and the procedure is legal and would not result in an animal cruelty charge.”

He said the association wanted to address this type of issue within the association before such an issue got to the “court of public opinion.“

“Our view is that both are legitimate for very different reasons and should be supported by one another,” Powell said. “Such concerns should not result in one or the other’s choices in practice being somehow looked down upon by others in the profession. It is our fundamental belief that duly trained and licensed veterinarians have an extraordinary right to choose which procedures within the law they will or will not do, such as ear-cropping or tail-docking, etc.”

Powell said the goal is unity and tolerance among all veterinarians.

“So far, the professionalism and commitment to professional collegiality has been well-received,” he said.

Specialist Day

The association also held a Veterinary Specialist Day earlier this year. Fourteen veterinary specialists and 14 specialty technicians spoke for 30 minutes apiece on a topic of their choice, focusing on what was “new, cool and unique,” said WSVMA Executive Vice President Candace Joy.

She said the program was well-received, and about 100 veterinarians and 100 technicians attended the event.

“The speakers loved it because they were provided an opportunity to speak to generalists about what they’re doing, new procedures, equipment, and knowledge,” Joy said. “The generalists loved it not only because of the information but also learning what specialty services can offer to a referring veterinarian. Finally, it served to build camaraderie within the profession.

On the veterinary side, topics included “Insights on Cryptococcus Gatti,” “Canine Arthroscopy,” and “3D anatomic imaging as an aid to surgical planning.” For technicians, the day featured talks on “Chemotherapy Side Effects - When to Worry and Client Concerns,” “Toxic Things in the House Which Pets Eat,” and “Protein Losing Enteropathies.”

“We definitely plan on doing it again,” Joy said. “There were more specialists than we had room for on the schedule and the generalists are hungry for more.”