Archive | April, 2017

Happy World Veterinary Day 2017

29 Apr

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A bit late to post these things, since I still work at the weekend, and most of the vets do that. Though I have so many thoughts that I saved in my head a couple of weeks ago, time always holds our consciousness to start doing something. Especially things that don’t relate to our main activity or work. But anyway…

This year WVD theme is about antimicrobial resistance – from awareness to action

Sounds heavy and very technical, even for us the so-called “just veterinarian”. Some people don’t realize that veterinarian plays a huge role in this theme, in globally. Say some of us have greatly responsible for administered antibiotics to farm animals, human protein sources. Some of us have a great responsibility to educate clients so they don’t abuse or misuse the antibiotic itself. Some of us have a great responsibility to administer antibiotics to the wildlife that nowadays they almost border-less with the human. As vets, we do have a great responsibility to use antibiotics wisely and prevent our environment contaminated by a powerful disease.

To be honest, besides that theme, there’s something that I want to talk about on this great day. The thing that maybe still missed from most vets nowadays, which is the high rate of suicide in the veterinarian profession.

Well, we can’t say it’s happening globally, but according to this article, the suicide rate for vets is double that of dentists and doctors, and up to six times higher than the general population. Well, maybe the news won’t touch us since it happens abroad. Some big stories that become concerned happened to Dr. Shirley Koshi and Dr. Sophia Yin, in the USA, in 2014.

But the one that made me keep scrolling the suicidal news of veterinarian was the suicide of Dr. Chien Chih-Cheng, last year in Taiwan. She was just 32 years old, considered a young vet (at least around my age). The same condition has never been reported in Indonesia, except one veterinary medicine student reported for suicide in 2015.

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What happens anyway? Why it possibly happen? Well according to this article, some great factors can lead to veterinarian suicide such as :

  • Personality – Vets are achievers. Perhaps they are over-achievers. They work hard. Many of them do almost nothing but work.
  • Isolation – Veterinarians often have few colleagues to talk with. When they have a bad day, there’s no one to turn to. When they’re not sure about a treatment plan, they have no colleague to bounce ideas off of. Such isolation is depressing.
  • Sadness – Vets often see people who have too many animals to deal with, people who don’t care enough about their pets, or people who think they are animal rescuers when they are hoarders. Sometimes, there’s little the vet can do about these situations, which brings on sadness and anger.
  • Stress – People become veterinarians because they want to help animals. Typically, they don’t especially want the worries of running a business, but that’s exactly what a veterinary practice is. Add the stress of dealing with difficult clients and the pressure mounts.
  • Compassion Fatigue – Like many caregivers, vets experience emotional exhaustion or “compassion fatigue,” which is secondary traumatic stress caused by extreme tension and preoccupation with their patients’ suffering.
  • Student Debt – Veterinary schooling can be longer and more expensive than your family physician’s medical school training. Vets earn less than a third of what doctors and dentists take in. That combination means a huge student debt load and no easy way to pay it down.
  • Frequency of Patient Deaths – Veterinarians lose many more patients during their years of practice than doctors who treat humans do. It’s a constant source of sadness and stress. They also have to euthanize pets for clients who can’t afford or can’t be bothered with treating sick pets who could be easily saved. Each death weighs heavily on a vet’s emotions.
  • Attitude Towards Euthanasia – The frequency of euthanizing animals to save them from further pain and suffering can serve to make the idea of such a death seem more welcome and familiar.
  • Access to Euthanasia Drugs – Veterinarians have easy access to the type of drugs needed to carry out an effective suicide if they so choose. They also know how much to administer to ensure the job gets done.

But I’m really glad to see the condition in Indonesia. Although the welfare of veterinarian is very far compared to the rest of the world, the pay is sucks, the suicidal tendencies looked smaller than the global. Even with the same pressure from the public that started to grow lately. You can feel how Indonesian on the internet and real-life can mentally harm the vets by their thought nowadays.

According to Dr.Jim Wilson,

“Too many veterinarians have no personal interests, “They volunteer at the animal shelter. They work. Some have no way of getting away from the intense pressure of animal care. You’ve got to get outside of the profession and find a way to let your brain slow down, quiet down, be distracted.”

The vets who manage well are those who find ways to relieve all that stress. They run, practice yoga, meditate, lift weights, take up photography, become expert cooks, join the community theater. They focus on other things for a while on a regular basis. They also reach out to others in their profession for help. Groups like Not One More Vet offer online resources for veterinarians to discuss these problems with their peers in a safe atmosphere.

So again, I want to shout a spirit for every veterinarian on this special day. Keep patient, be happy, don’t overwork, don’t stick in the clinic, find some fun side –activity, ignore the negativity, cuddle your animals and try to talk to others for sharing.

Those depressive things really burden me many times, I almost give up to work as a vet. I got down easily when people don’t respect my role. But then that’s the challenge of a vet. to tackle things that threatening our life is to educate people to value animal welfare and veterinarian itself.

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Happy World Veterinary Day 2017! Happy weekend colleagues!