Survey reveals challenging conditions to treat during the Covid-19 pandemic

A survey of vets conducted by Hamilton Specialist Referrals has found a rise in the incidence of behaviour problems, obesity and diarrhoea in first opinion practice over the last 12 months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 60% vets reported an increase in cases of obesity and diarrhoea since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 80% respondents noted an increased in behavioural problems being reported. Urinary tract infections and haemorrhagic gastroenteritis were also reported as more common by nearly 60% respondents.

hamilton covid survey
Change in incidence of conditions noted during Covid-19 pandemic

Respondents were also asked which conditions were harder to manage since the start of the pandemic, with chronic medical conditions reportedly high. 37% vets reported feline diabetes cases to be harder to manage, more so than canine diabetes cases, with only 32% vets reporting canine cases hard to treat.

Other conditions presenting as challenging to manage were hormonal conditions, such as hyper and hypoadrenocorticism (32%) and chronic gastroenteritis (28%). 36% vets reported skin disease to be challenging to manage, whereas a contrasting 7% found it easier to manage.

hamilton covid survey
Change in ease of management of conditions during Covid-19 pandemic

Medicine specialist, Dr Stefanie Mitze, explains, “We conducted the survey to help us understand changes in disease incidence and the clinical challenges faced by our colleagues in first opinion practice over the last year. The fact that the incidence of disorders which can have a stress-related component, including behavioural problems, diarrhoea and urinary tract disease, were reported to have increased by a high proportion of respondents indicates that many pets may be experiencing heightened stress during the pandemic.”

In response to chronic medical cases frequently being reported as more difficult to manage, Dr. Mitze will be creating bitesize CPD videos to help with managing cases in line with Covid-19 restrictions. She comments, “We recognise the past year has been challenging, especially with complex staffing issues, reduced vet visits and restricted face-to-face communication with clients. For complex, chronic medical conditions, especially those which require frequent follow up, we wanted to support colleagues in providing the best care possible in the current circumstances. We hope these CPD sessions will provide practical tips to help deliver just that.

The CPD sessions will be available on the Hamilton Specialist Referrals website in April.

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