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August 01, 2020

WSAVA targets veterinary wellness

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Updated July 13, 2020

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Professional Wellness Group is working to support the health and well-being of all veterinary professionals by raising awareness and creating tools and resources for veterinary teams.

The PWG has partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition in efforts to enhance veterinary wellness around the globe. Hill’s is a gold partner of the WSAVA and also supports the WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee. The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians around the world through its 113 member associations.

The interim findings of the PWG’s global veterinary wellness survey, released during the WSAVA World Congress 2019 last summer in Toronto, confirmed that stress and diminished well-being are concerns for all members of the veterinary team and in all areas of the world.

Nienke Edenburgh, MD
Nienke Edenburgh, PhD, a psychologist and co-chair of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Professional Wellness Group, speaks at the WSAVA World Congress 2019 in Toronto about the interim findings from the group’s wellness survey. (Courtesy of WSAVA)

“This already serious problem is likely to be exacerbated by the additional pressures many of our members are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Shane Ryan, WSAVA president, in a press release. “This is an issue the PWG is already addressing with Hill’s support as a key focus for its work this year.”

More than 4,000 veterinary professionals responded to the online WSAVA survey, which was translated into six languages. Thousands of respondents reported experiencing stress and diminished well-being. Younger people, women, and veterinary technicians are more at risk of well-being issues, according to the interim results. The final results will likely be published this year.

WSAVA announced in early June it had postponed its World Congress 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global event was scheduled to be held Sept. 23-26 in Warsaw, Poland, in collaboration with the Federation of Companion Animal Veterinary Associations and the Polish Small Animal Veterinary Association. The meeting will now be held March 21-24, 2021. WSAVA’s World  Congress 2021, set to take place Nov. 13-16 in Hyderabad, India, will go ahead as scheduled.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified psychologist Nienke Edenburgh as having an MD.