Leading Off: In pursuit of wellness excellence


Dr. Steve Thompson discusses the many resources that make it easy and simple to bring the essential medical guidelines together.

As a veterinary student in 1989, I recall the publication in JAVMA from the Council on Biologics supporting, for the first time by a national veterinary organization, annual vaccination in dogs and cats. I worked for practitioners for years who had been giving vaccines on industry label recommendations, but now we had support in writing. Much of the veterinary school education for pets was focused—and still is—on disease detection and treatment, with the prevention of diseases, infections, and infestations less glamorous.

Steve Thompson, DVM, DABVP, pictured with Pippi, is a clinical associate professor and the director of the Pet Wellness Clinic at Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

However, is it not true that prevention of disease and morbidity is unarguably preferred to treatment—in every patient? Wellness is always a topic of paramount importance and is receiving its due attention in the veterinary community lately. Many experts and organizations are working together to promote wellness care.

Guidelines and consensus statements are determined by panels of experts and published by professional veterinary organizations. Evidence-based medicine supports these guidelines and keeps sound science and critical thinking at the forefront. They are not considered to be hard and fast legal standards of care, but they are designed to keep your hospital staff on the cutting edge of medicine and help ensure that pets get the best possible care. They are invaluable resources to you and your team, so if you are not familiar with and keeping up-to-date on them, you and your team need to be.

Mike Paul, DVM, has complied a list of the most used veterinary guidelines. You can find at dvm360.com/ClinicalGuidelines. The American Association of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association have been leaders in providing evidence-based guidelines and practical applications for pets related to vaccinations, senior care, life stages, nutrition, handling, and dentistry, to name only a few that encompass wellness care.

Yes, there are more resources than ever to help you manage your cases at the forefront of medicine and fill your treatment toolboxes. But there are also many resources that make it easy and simple to bring the essential medical guidelines together with the management of your clinic. When everyone is on the same page, the end result is a cohesive team and improved care for your clients and patients.

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