Creature Comforts

While stress and less-than-ideal working conditions are the hallmarks of a veterinarian’s lifestyle, check out a few things we found that might bring some comfort and joy to your day.
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Stress is the companion of the equine veterinarian, whether manning the clinic or behind the wheel of the ambulatory vehicle. Long hours, countless miles, time away from family and friends, and bad weather conditions can add to a stress-filled daily routine. And a veterinarian’s work is seldom complete at the end of the day.

Courtesy Back on Track

But take heart! There are affordable items that can be purchased to relieve stress and provide comfort during your strenuous work day.

Apparel—It’s All About the Clothes

Wearing clothing that is designed to offer much-needed soothing support for sore muscles, warmth in colder weather and wicking qualities in hot, humid climates can make the long days more bearable.

Relief for sore muscles: Tracy Bartick-Sedrish, DVM, of Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, New York, cannot live without her Back On Track t-shirts. The shirts, available in women’s slim-fit sizes, unisex t-shirt sizes and unisex long-sleeved shirt sizes, are designed to relieve tension and stress in the wearer’s back and shoulders.

Back On Track shirts are made with a Welltex fabric blended with polyester and ceramic powder melted into the fiber threads. The ceramic reflects the wearer’s body heat, which is purported to help reduce pain and inflammation, relax muscles and increase blood circulation.

“Warmth therapy” is a well-recognized method used for healing and comforting injured muscles, joints and tendons. For injury prevention, this t-shirt can be worn prior to exercise to loosen and warm up muscles. Some people wear it in the winter for additional warmth (visit www.backontrackproducts.com). Prices range from $47 to $59 depending on size and style.

Additionally, Bartick-Sedrish recommends the Back on Track Therapeutic Wrist Brace. Modestly priced at $19.99, the brace uses the wearer’s natural body warmth to provide healing comfort and support for individuals who perform repetitive motions or who have sustained an injury.

The Wrist Brace is also manufactured with the same ceramic powder-infused Welltex fabric found in the company’s t-shirts. The fabric reflects the wearer’s body warmth as a far infared wave, a form of energy that has documented pain-relieving effects. Wearers may find the brace can help reduce inflammation, ease muscle tension, increase blood circulation and quicken the healing process.

Stay warm but lose the bulk: With winter around the corner, colder weather will be setting in. Finding the right clothing to keep you warm without weighing you down can be difficult. Bartick-Sedrish recommends the Eddie Bauer down-lined shirt.

Courtesy Eddie Bauer

The down-lined shirt is part of the company’s First Ascent line specifically designed for cold weather and is used by individuals visiting the Himalayas and Antarctica. The First Ascent products are intended to provide optimal warmth without added bulkiness.

The 700-fill, down-lined shirt jacket contains premium European goose down to create a garment that feels lightweight like a shirt, but provides insulation like a jacket. The shirt jacket also includes a water-repellent finish to shed light precipitation. The item sells for approximately $179.

Stay cool:  Originally designed for athletic events, the Sport-Tek line of shirts incorporates high-tech moisture wicking properties. The Sport-Tek collection pairs athletic styling with unique fabrics, modern designs and trendy color options and can also be embroidered or silk-screened with your practice’s logo.

While often used for schools and teams, the business and corporate world has also picked up on this lightweight, moisture-wicking product line. Prices vary based on shirt design, size and logo incorporation.

Navigation Systems

Save time locating new clients and take the guesswork out of providing ETAs (estimated times of arrival) with a Global Positioning (GPS) device.

GPS systems are based on a constellation of satellites that hover above the Earth’s surface. Each satellite circles the plant twice a day, sending radio signals, which includes information about their location, status and time back to devices on Earth. Once a GPS device knows its distance from at least four satellites, it uses geometry to determine its location on Earth. (Read more at How GPS Works, http://www.gps.gov/multimedia/poster/poster.txt.)

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Navigation systems can be purchased for as little as $89.99 or upward of a few hundred dollars. The special features of each unit will dictate the price. Units may include all or some of the following features: Bluetooth capability, spoken street names, turn-by-turn navigation, voice recognition, lifetime map updates and lifetime traffic updates. Included features will influence the price.

Before purchasing a GPS unit, consider which type of GPS unit will best suit your needs. Screen sizes typically vary from less than 4” to 5.9” and units can be purchased in hand-held or portable models.

GPS units can be purchased online from sites such as Amazon.com or from specialty electronics stores such as Best Buy. Once a unit is purchased, accessories can be added, including carrying cases. With the proper equipment, the GPS unit can be mounted to a vehicle’s dashboard, windshield or air vents.

Entertainment

Long drives can become tedious and draining. With a subscription to satellite radio, a wide variety of mostly commercial-free programming is available for the duration of your trip.

Traditional radio programming is limited to specific geographic areas. Because satellite radio relies on satellites in space, the programming can be available to larger geographic areas, even nationwide.

The sound quality produced by satellite radio and its equipment also tends to be clearer and of a higher quality. Satellite radio is mostly a subscription-based service and offers subscribers a wide variety of programming.

“Having satellite radio in the truck is totally invaluable for the long days,” said John H. Cooley, DVM, cVSMT, of Elite Equine Veterinary, PLLC.

Specific radio equipment, an antenna and a monthly (annual, or multi-year) subscription are required to access satellite radio programming. Subscribers have the option of installing a dedicated car system, purchasing a portable dock-and-play system that can be taken into the office or home, or getting an Internet based system.

In dedicated vehicle systems, the antenna is attached to the vehicle and the radio unit is installed into the car’s dash. Dock-and-play systems are compact and can be “docked” on a stand in the vehicle. Only one subscription is required and can be transferred from the car stereo to the home stereo system or used with a compatible boom box.

 A satellite radio subscription can also be accessed through a high-speed Internet connection or mobile device. SiriusXM offers an app for tablets and smartphones that allows subscribers to log into their accounts and enjoy their music on the go. In situations where an Internet connection is unavailable, the app or device will use the device’s data plan.

To purchase the needed vehicle kit, plan on investing $69.99 for basic models plus the cost of installation. Home kits and dock-and-play kits will be more expensive. Subscription plans can start as low as $14.99 per month based on the selected plan. (Visit http://www.siriusxm.com for more information.)

Take-Home Message

While long hours and less-than-ideal working conditions are often the trademarks of a veterinarian’s lifestyle, consider taking the time to invest in a few small “creature comforts” for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Back on Track long-sleeve t

“Warmth therapy” is available from Back on Track clothing and accessories, which are recommended by Dr. Bartick-Sedrish.