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July 15, 2021

In Short

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BluePearl launches wellness program

BluePearl logoAcross the profession, organizations are enhancing health and well-being efforts to support and sustain their workforces. On May 7, the Health + Well-being Team at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital launched its Wellness Ambassador Program.

Ambassadors of the program will be trained in the Mental Health First Aid course from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, a public education program that teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

The goals of the Wellness Ambassador Program are as follows:

  • Normalize discussion around mental health and substance abuse challenges in BluePearl workplace environments.
  • Reduce stigma related to lack of understanding of those who may be experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges.
  • Enhance a person’s ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance abuse issue.
  • Teach associates and leadership how to address and engage an individual who may be experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges.

BluePearl, which has 7,000-plus employees at over 100 specialty and emergency veterinary hospitals in the U.S., introduced its Veterinary Social Work Program in 2018. Today, the Health + Well-being Team consists of seven regional veterinary social workers, a former emergency veterinarian and wellness trainer, and a veterinary technician who is a wellness trainer. BluePearl hopes to have 200 Mental Health First Aid–trained wellness ambassadors in its practices by the end of 2022.

AAFP’s Cat Friendly Certificate Program receives award

The American Association of Feline Practitioners announced in May that the AAFP’s Cat Friendly Certificate Program received a 2021 Gold Circle Award from the American Society of Association Executives in the category of New Product/Service Launch.

“The AAFP identified that some veterinary practices were not ready to become an AAFP Cat Friendly Practice, but individual veterinary team members had a strong desire to learn more cat friendly ways in which to practice,” said Dr. Kelly St. Denis, AAFP president, in the announcement. “The AAFP created the Cat Friendly Certificate Program in order to offer this education to veterinary professionals so they could enhance the experience and care provided during feline appointments.”

The Cat Friendly Certificate Program launched in October 2020 and offers a concise educational package focusing on the special needs of feline patients. The program consists of certificates titled Cat Friendly Veterinarian, Cat Friendly Veterinary Professional, and Cat Friendly Advocate. More than 1,600 people had earned certificates as of mid-May.

Morris Animal Foundation testing questionnaire on equine osteoarthritis

A newly funded study from Morris Animal Foundation is testing a questionnaire to help horse owners recognize and monitor signs of chronic osteoarthritis pain in their horses.

Dr. Janny de Grauw, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and Diane Howard, PhD, a graduate from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K., were awarded the Donor-Inspired Study Grant through a donor-sponsored program that allows individuals to directly support research.

Dr. Howard, under Dr. de Grauw’s supervision, developed a 15-item questionnaire through interviews with owners who have horses with osteoarthritis, which causes chronic pain in horses if left untreated. The research team hopes the simple survey will help horse owners recognize pain better so they can contact a veterinarian for treatment.

The study was funded by Dr. Wendy Koch, who is an animal welfare advocate and has worked with the Morris Animal Foundation for 30 years. Dr. Koch plans to fund one $10,000 equine behavior and welfare study per year through the Donor-Inspired Study Program.

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