For better or worse, change is constant and everyone who has lived in Maple Valley for even just the last few years are witness to so many changes. Medical knowledge is expanding exponentially also. Where medical knowledge took 50 years to double in 1950, a 2011 study showed it only took 3.5 years to double in 2010 and is projected to take only 73 days to double in 2020. I love technology and how it drives and is driven by change. This year I went to the Veterinary Innovations Conference and there is amazing technology that will be available in the near future to help veterinarians manage the flood of information available to us.
Mirroring human healthcare, telehealth and virtual care platforms are being developed for veterinary patients, and multiple options were on display at the 2019 Veterinary Innovation Summit. Virtual Care for veterinary patients is a little more complicated than human medicine and understanding the Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) is key to understanding what level of care veterinarians are legally able to provide to their patients. It gets a little complicated and differs for every state. Basically, a valid VCPR requires that the patient(pet) has been physically examined by a veterinarian at the facility within a certain time frame, most states require a year. If a veterinarian and patient have a current VCPR then they can participate in a virtual visit where the patient can receive diagnosis, treatment and prescriptions can be made. If there is not a current VCPR, the virtual care is called “tele- triage” and only advice can be given, no diagnosis, treatment or prescriptions can be made. Last year Wilderness tested out a tele-triage provider to help guide our clients when they had questions after- hours, unfortunately that platform wasn’t a good fit for us. Not to be discouraged by a failure, we have done additional research and have chosen a platform that will let us offer virtual care to our patients during regular hours. Using this platform, we will be able to provide virtual care for patients that we have seen within 1 year, and that have medical problems that are appropriate for virtual care. We are working on a list of appropriate situations for virtual care, so far we have come up with a few; surgical incision follow-up, uncomplicated medical condition rechecks, behavioral consultations, and possible infectious cough. I’m sure as we get more comfortable with virtual care, the list will grow. We are getting the team ready and are planning to roll out this service in August.
Many of you have witnessed many changes at Wilderness Animal Hospital. The name has changed, how many of you remember Wilderness Animal Clinic? We also expanded and remodeled in 2016. More importantly have been the changes in the attitudes towards our patients. In 2015, we became approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners to become silver level certified as a Cat Friendly Practice. I really like this program, it makes all of us more cognizant of the stress not only on the cat, but also on the cat’s owner. The stress of getting a cat into the carrier is enough to put some people over the edge (or send them to the ER) not to mention the serenade provided by one’s cat the entire drive to the vet office. During the remodel, I considered our feline patients, adding a feline waiting area, hospital and I am proud to say we are now a gold level Cat Friendly practice. For more information about Cat Friendly practices go to: https://catvets.com/cfp/cfp
In 2017, we acquired the Fear Free bug. My Hospital Admin, Carol, and I went to a presentation at a national veterinary meeting about Fear Free and we both loved everything about the program. We brought it home to our staff, and they took ownership of Fear Free and we haven’t looked back since. It really is amazing to change the focus to avoiding fear, anxiety and stress in our patients. Instead of wrestling with our patients, we feed them treats, and LOTS of them. My favorite is the squeezie cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is gross, but dogs and cats (yes, even cats) love the stuff. And don’t get me started about the cute bandanas our canine patients receive when they come visit. The bandanas have pheromone sprayed on them to decrease anxiety, and so many people are amazed how well it works. The pattern on the bandanas is constantly changing, and I love to see the fashion of the day when I walk into an exam room. Go to https://fearfreepets.com/about/what-is-fear-free/ for more info on the Fear Free program.
Most recently, I became a certified Human Animal Bond practitioner. This seemed like a logical next step for me, and I found the training program to reinforce much of what I already do, and give me insight on how to improve. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is doing amazing work, investigating how our connection with animals improves our lives and can even lead to clinical improvement for patients with medical disorders. For more information about HABRI, go to https://habri.org/research/
Finally, many of you have seen the recently published information from the FDA about grain free diets. I have a synopsis on our Facebook page and feel free to call us if you have any questions.
Summer is upon us and the Farmers Market is open for business. Look for one of our doctors there July 20th and September 7th. stop by and get a treat for your pet and if you have any questions, we would love to answer them. Hope everyone has a safe, fun and happy summer. Check us out on our Facebook page or website, www.wildernessvet.com. If you want to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org.