Royal Canin has hosted US Veterinary Wellness Educator Dr Sonja Olson to support vulnerable vets on stress, burn-out, and wellbeing.

With a boom in pet ownership across Australia and New Zealand coupled with a global workforce crisis, veterinary wellbeing and burn-out are hot topics for the animal health industry.

According to Animal Emergency Australia, there is only one veterinarian per 2,179 pets in Australia. This is 10 times less than current human health ratios (206 patients per doctor). In New Zealand, the number of veterinarians per animal is even higher at 13,000 animals per veterinarian (including livestock and household pets).

To support conversations around wellbeing, Royal Canin hosted Dr Olson to run sessions with Australian and New Zealand veterinarians, nurses, business owners, and practice managers.

Dr Olson commenced her ANZ tour by visiting New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Veterinarian Association’s first ever Wellbeing Symposium. She then travelled to Australia to lead sessions with senior veterinary industry leaders and key charities RSPCA and Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.

Dr Olson, who is an author and founder of Heartstorming Wellness, said her role is to start a conversation on what tools and services can help veterinary professionals have strong psychological support in what is a highly emotionally charged industry.

“No matter where you are around the world, it’s a similar story. There are pressures felt around burn-out and compassion fatigue. I am passionate about bringing a wellbeing focus in the veterinary industry,” Dr Olson explained. 

Building capabilities and resilience to promote good wellbeing of veterinary professionals is not only important for the sustainability of the industry – it’s also essential in the delivery of health care for pets.

Dr Corey Regnerus, Scientific Services Manager – Royal Canin, said that as a practising veterinarian he understands first-hand how the stressors of the job can have a real impact on mental and physical wellbeing.

“Our mission at Royal Canin is to create a better world for pets. We can’t have a better world for our cats and dogs without quality healthcare. This can come at a cost to the profession. We are pleased to host Dr Olson in a variety of forums as we continue to engage the industry on this important topic and raise awareness,” said Dr Regnerus.

Support is available from Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Butterfly Foundation on 1800 334 673 and Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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