Pulse - April 2021 - 52

FROM THE SCVMA OFFICE

PETER WEINSTEIN,

DVM, MBA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

PWEINSTEIN@SCVMA.ORG

PANDEMIC PETS

A

s I write this, we have just added a new puppy, Bruce, to our family. He is the second new addition during the pandemic although we did unfortunately lose one four-legged family member. Bruce is a rescue
puppy who joined us at around 11 weeks of age.We know he is a dog. His breed? Only genetic testing
can help give us a clue. Is he a love bug? Check the picture below.
Over the past 12 months, we have seen an inordinate
amount of new pet owners, lower shelter censuses, busier pet
store sales and - as you are all aware - a veterinary business
model that can't keep up with the demand.
My wife, Sharon, has spent a good portion of the pandemic
doing some volunteer work at the OC Zoo but she has definitely felt the need for love from pets. A few months into the
pandemic, we got a Senegal Parrot, Bazinga. Bazinga helped
to quell the loss of our beloved SKINNY Guinea Pig, Clara.
(I know " beloved Guinea Pig. " She was special. I know everybody says their pet is special. Clara really was!). And Bazinga
proved to me that we could prescribe pets instead of pills as
some of the COVID-caused anxieties and frustrations were
tempered by having a bird around the house.
Even as we seem to be getting closer to normalization,
albeit months away, there was still a yearning in Sharon's
heart for another love bug to cuddle. Wiblet, our 12-yearold Schnug or Porkshire or . . . ., still is demanding of love -
almost too much at times. But Sharon had another motherly
urge. And Bruce joined Brianna, Brooke, Buratta, Bazinga
in our alliterative family that also includes Wiblet, Peter and
Sharon.
Why the family history? Because I fully understand why
shelters are empty, rescues are busy, pet stores are thriving and
you, my friends, colleagues, members, etc., are going nuts.
Pets truly have become a replacement for body-to-body
hugs, for maskless kisses and for the warmth of human kindness. Not that long ago, I attended a seminar hosted by Found
Animals and HABRI and featuring a number of human doctors who talked about the impact that pets have on hormone
levels in people, blood pressure and heart rate. So, while pets
in your practice may increase your and your teams blood pressure and heart rate (it is probably the pet owners rather than
the pets), in life pets are a prescription free way to feel good.
And thus, pets have replaced vacations you cannot take, home
upgrades and new cloths as the new acquisition in the pandemic-isolated, home- schooling, take-out, dine-in family.
Can this last? Let's hope so. If we can prescribe pets instead
of pills, we can help with a multitude of illnesses without side
effect, except for a few accidents around the house. If we can
prescribe pets instead of pills, we can increase the levels of
exercise for people (with social distancing and masks for the
short term) and address the tremendous obesity issues that are
escalating. If we can prescribe pets instead of pills, the true
strength of the human-animal bond and ultimately one health
will be headline news as a means of controlling burgeoning
health care costs.
And what if.... OK, I am going out on a limb. What if your
medical insurance covered the premium for pet health insurance for the pet that was prescribed by your MD? I am betting

52

it would be less expensive to pay a premium for pet health
insurance than it would be for most prescription medications. NOTE: the above discussion needs further fleshing out
to avoid people taking advantage of it as they have done in
some cases with the emotional support animal with certification obtained online.
If the trend to pet ownership continues and the demand
for veterinary services continue to grow at the current level
while the supply continues to be limited by staff and professional shortages and hours in the day, we will have to look at
ways to deliver care in a more efficient and leveraged fashion. TECHNOLOGICAL needs will grow on one hand and
TECHNICIAN needs will grow on the other.
Learning to ethically and legally use telemedicine and have
it accepted by consumers as a cost of doing business may offer
some time management help eventually. More significantly,
learning to leverage the skills of your licensed technicians and
unlicensed assistants and client-service team to do more and
training them to do more will help dramatically as well.
However, having more time and more leveraging only
addresses the ability to provide more services. The biggest
problem we need to address is how can we meet the needs
of pets, consumers, our team and ourselves from a wellbeing
and wellness standpoint. Running the engine faster only leads
to burning out the engine. As much as many pets have helped
the mental health of our clients, the impact of all these pets
has had a detrimental impact on the health of our teams and
our leaders. That challenge has got be in the forefront of all
our minds going forward.
Maybe we need Goat Yoga, chair massage, read-with-apuppy day, pet facilitated therapy visits (virtually) - whatever
we can do for our own wellbeing will have us in a better
state of mind for our clients and their pets. So, what can we
prescribe for the veterinary profession for our own mental
wellbeing? What's your puppy prescription to help you or
your team? Share it on the SCVMA community or to me at
pweinstein@scvma.org.
Bruce says hi until next time.

APRIL 2021

PULSE



Pulse - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - April 2021

Pulse - April 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
Practical Pathology
Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
AVMA Diplomates
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulse - April 2021
Pulse - April 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - April 2021 - 1
Pulse - April 2021 - 2
Pulse - April 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - April 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - April 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - April 2021 - 6
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - April 2021 - 8
Pulse - April 2021 - 9
Pulse - April 2021 - 10
Pulse - April 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - April 2021 - Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Pulse - April 2021 - 13
Pulse - April 2021 - 14
Pulse - April 2021 - 15
Pulse - April 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - April 2021 - 17
Pulse - April 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - April 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - April 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - April 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - April 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - April 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - April 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - April 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - April 2021 - 26
Pulse - April 2021 - 27
Pulse - April 2021 - 28
Pulse - April 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - April 2021 - Resources
Pulse - April 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - April 2021 - 32
Pulse - April 2021 - 33
Pulse - April 2021 - 34
Pulse - April 2021 - 35
Pulse - April 2021 - 36
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Pulse - April 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
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