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Veterinary Wellness: Finding Support for Your Practice’s Vets

Veterinary Wellness: Finding Support for Your Practice’s Vets

Even the most committed are not immune to the toll that veterinary work can take on your mental and physical wellbeing. Studies have shown that veterinarians are at higher risk for burnout, depression, anxiety, and even suicide compared to the general population. In fact, 72% of veterinarians were concerned about their stress levels and the potential for burnout. It’s a sobering reality that we must confront head-on if we want to build a sustainable and thriving profession.

Thankfully, a huge range of organisations and businesses set out to support veterinarians with their wellness struggles. And, there are some proactive steps you can take as well to prioritise your wellbeing. So, let’s highlight those who are supporting veterinarians and end with some tips on taking your own healthcare seriously.


Organisations and Initiatives Supporting Veterinary Wellbeing

You know first-hand how challenging this profession can be. Long hours, demanding clients, and the emotional toll of caring for sick animals can really wear you down. But fear not, because there are some incredible organisations and initiatives out there dedicated to supporting you.


First on the list is Wellvet, an organisation on a mission to improve the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals like you. They offer a variety of resources, including a helpline, online support groups, and educational materials on stress management and self-care. They also host events and workshops to bring the veterinary community together and foster a culture of wellness.


For those who prefer a more mindful approach, VetYogi is a fantastic resource. Their blog provides guidance on incorporating yoga and mindfulness practices into the hectic life of a veterinarian. By cultivating a sense of calm and balance, VetYogi can help you manage the mental and emotional demands of the profession. We really enjoyed their article on meditations for dealing with complaints. It walks you through calming yourself down so you can handle complaints without your emotions getting involved.


When times get tough, and you find yourself in crisis, remember that Vetlife is there to help. They offer a confidential 24/7 helpline for veterinarians in need of support. And with about 70% of veterinarians having seen suicide take the life of a peer or colleague, the 24/7 helpline that Vetlife provides can literally save lives. So, whether you’re struggling with mental health, financial difficulties, or personal problems, do not hesitate to reach out to the Vetlife lifeline.

Vet Help Direct

Another invaluable resource is Vet Help Direct, offering a wealth of wellbeing resources for veterinary professionals. Even though its main service is a symptom checker for pet owners, they dedicated an entire section of their blog to showcasing the life of a veterinarian. From articles on the wellbeing of veterinarians to issues between the public and veterinary practices, Vet Help Direct can help you avoid feelings of isolation.

Veterinary Associations Prioritising Wellbeing

It’s not just individual organisations and initiatives that are working to support veterinary wellbeing. Professional associations are also stepping up to the plate and making wellness a top priority.

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is leading the charge with their focus on emotional intelligence. They recognise that emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a critical skill for veterinarians.

By understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as those of your clients and colleagues, you can create a more positive and resilient work environment. The CVMA offers a wealth of resources on developing emotional intelligence, including articles, webinars, and workshops. They even have a two-part series in the Canadian Veterinary Journal exploring the connection between EQ and wellbeing.

American Veterinary Medical Association

South of the border, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is taking a holistic approach to veterinary wellbeing. They’ve developed a comprehensive model that recognizes nine dimensions of wellbeing – physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, occupational, financial, environmental, and creative.

By attending to each of these areas, veterinarians can achieve a greater sense of balance and fulfilment in their personal and professional lives. The AVMA offers resources and tools to help vets assess and improve their wellbeing across all nine dimensions.

Systemic Changes

But it’s not just about individual wellbeing. The AVMA and CVMA also advocate for systemic changes to support wellness in the profession. This includes initiatives to improve work-life balance, reduce student debt, and increase access to mental health services. By working at both the individual and organisational level, these associations are creating a culture of wellness in veterinary medicine.

Corporate Support for Veterinary Wellbeing

While professional associations and grassroots initiatives are doing important work to support veterinary wellbeing, it’s also crucial to have the backing of major players in the animal health industry.

MSD Animal Health

As a global leader in veterinary pharmaceuticals and vaccines, MSD Animal Health has a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of the veterinary profession. One of the ways MSD Animal Health supports vets is through their studies on veterinarian health. For instance, MSD Animal Health recently released its fourth annual veterinary wellbeing study that seeks to better understand the mental health challenges of veterinarians.

Love Your Vet Who Loves Your Pet

Clients and the general public also play a crucial role in supporting veterinary wellbeing. Love Your Vet Who Loves Your Pet, an initiative by Cuddly, aims to celebrate and appreciate the hard work and dedication of veterinarians. By fostering positive relationships between vets and their clients, this initiative helps create a more supportive and understanding environment for veterinary professionals.

Taking Control of Your Own Wellness

As veterinarians, we’re often so focused on caring for our patients that we forget to take care of ourselves. But just like we tell our clients, prevention is key when it comes to health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s so important for vets to prioritise proactive self-care.

One simple but powerful way to be proactive about our wellbeing is to schedule regular wellness exams for ourselves. Just like we recommend annual check-ups for our patients, we should be getting regular physical and mental health check-ins too. These exams can help us catch potential issues early, before they become major problems.

But proactive wellbeing isn’t just about individual self-care. It’s also about creating a culture of wellness in our workplaces and profession as a whole. This means destigmatizing conversations about mental health, and creating safe spaces for vets to share their struggles and seek support.

The truth is, you can’t pour from an empty cup. As a veterinarian, you need to prioritise our own wellbeing so that you can continue to provide the best possible care for your patients. By being proactive about self-care, creating a culture of wellness in our workplaces, and advocating for systemic change, you can contribute to the change you want to see in the veterinary profession.


From the organisations and initiatives dedicated to mental health and self-care, to the associations and corporate partners advocating for systemic change, it’s clear that there is a growing movement to create a culture of wellness in the veterinary profession.

But what does this mean for you, as an individual veterinarian? It means that you are not alone in your struggles, and that there are resources and support systems available to help you thrive. It means that it’s okay (and indeed, necessary) to prioritise your own health and happiness, and to seek help when you need it. It means that by taking care of yourself, you are not only improving your own life, but also contributing to a stronger, more resilient profession as a whole.