Dvm360® Australian Correspondent Phil Tucak, BSc, BVMS, provides an update on new biotechnology that monitors animal health, developments to make veterinary careers more sustainable and a new CEO for the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) .

VetChip monitors animal health

Portable fitness monitors, such as those developed by Fitbit, are popular accessories for people who want to track their activity and fitness. Today, an Australian animal biotechnology company has developed an innovative implantable smart microchip that can monitor animal health parameters.

Designed to replace and upgrade existing ID microchips used in dogs and cats, VetChip can monitor an animal’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and tissue oxygenation. The device requires monthly wireless charging via a specially designed hands-free charger which is similar in function to a wireless phone charger.

“VetChip is a game-changer for all industries that touch on animal health or welfare. Animals of all species everywhere need access to veterinary care, but many diseases can go undetected or diagnosed because animals cannot tell us, in words, when they are not. not well, and [they] do not always show obvious clinical signs, ”said Garnett Hall, BVSc (Hons), co-founder and veterinarian of VetChip.

VetChip is not only applicable in companion animal practice, but also provides an opportunity for farmers to better manage herd health and can be used in equestrian sports and horse racing. In 2021, VetChip received the award in the Science and Engineering category at the Curtinnovation Awards, hosted by Curtin University, where the VetChip team collaborated on the commercialization and innovation aspects of the technology. VetChip is currently completing its final installment of clinical trials with partner universities and is expected to be commercialized in mid-2022.

Making veterinary careers sustainable

As the global veterinary industry is strained by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has contributed to staff shortages and busy workloads, efforts are underway in Australia to change the way it feels to work and learn in the veterinary industry.

A new, independent, non-profit organization, Sustainable Veterinary Careers (SVC) is working to bring together the many pieces of the veterinary mental health and occupational attrition puzzle in a strategic and evidence-based way, expanding the ‘access to non-clinical knowledge, skills and resources.

“There is a lot of talk about what contributes to high attrition rates, poor mental health and dissatisfaction in the veterinary profession. Meanwhile, social scientists know a lot about what motivates and satisfies people in work and life contexts. SVC aims to bring together and disseminate the best resources to trigger an industry-wide cultural change, delivering better mental health and retention of veterinary professionals long into our future, ”said Kate Clarke, BVSc (Hons) , MANZCVS, MBA, SVC co-director and veterinarian.

SVC will bring together established social sciences, veterinary industry knowledge and global data to identify areas where better knowledge and skills are directly linked to improved well-being, better motivation and satisfaction of veterinary personnel.

A key element of SVC’s approach is its proposal to implement a tax on wholesalers to finance and measure the impact of resources, which contribute to the improvement of well-being, satisfaction and longevity in the workplace. within the veterinary sector. It is proposed that SVC collect a fee collected by veterinary wholesalers, with customers covering the cost through the retail price of drugs and consumables.

“We received conceptual support from several wholesalers for this withdrawal model, setting a new standard in how – and who – supports well-being and professional longevity. We also believe that it is important that everyone can understand how decisions are made regarding the use of funds, so that our status as a nonprofit allows for transparency and means that we can also receive from other forms of funding, such as donations, ”Clarke said.

Australian Veterinary Association New CEO and Workforce Survey Results

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), which represents more than 8,500 veterinarians across Australia, has appointed David Andrews, PhD, as the organization’s new CEO to take office in March 2022.

Andrews’ career spans over 20 years working with and leading medical organizations. Most recently, Andrews was the CEO of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, and he held this position for over 8 years.

“AVA’s Board of Directors is confident that David’s passion, skills and experience, coupled with his personalized and engaging leadership style, will complement our strong existing team to implement our association’s strategic priorities. and the profession, ”said Warwick Vale, BSc BVMS (Hons II), AVA President.

In 2022, the AVA is due to release the organization’s next five-year strategic plan to deliver on its vision to be the leader in health and wellness in Australia’s animal industries. After conducting the sixth survey on the organization’s veterinary workforce in 2021,1 The AVA released the analysis of the survey results in December, which gathered data on the current profile of the veterinary profession and will be used to anticipate future trends and challenges.

Analysis1 showed that, of the 3,456 survey respondents who indicated that they were currently working in a veterinary role, 80% were working in clinical practice as a primary role. Of the 2,762 respondents currently working in a veterinary practice, 62% were salaried veterinarians. The analysis showed that a large portion (45%) indicated that they worked 41 or more hours per week, demonstrating the demand on the veterinary profession in Australia.


Australian Veterinary Association Veterinary Workforce Survey 2021. American Veterinary Association. December 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.ava.com.au/siteassets/news/ava-workforce-survey-analysis-2021-final.pdf