A Review of VetCompanion
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Deanna Johnson, MLIS
Resource Librarian
Carlson Health Sciences Library
University of California, Davis

Overview

VetCompanion (http://vetcompanion.com) is an evidence-based, veterinary point-of-care resource designed to help veterinarians and veterinary nurses and technicians use the most current clinical information available to make the best decisions for their clients and patients and provide high quality care. Its clinical monographs are based on the latest guidelines, consensus statements, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, and other pertinent studies gathered from such resources as ACVIM Consensus Statements and Review Articles, BSAVA Position Statements, AAHA Guidelines, BestBETs for Vets, Consultant, PubMed, VetSRev (database of veterinary systematic reviews), and recent textbooks. In addition, pertinent citations are included in the evidence section of each monograph and an evidence rating is provided to characterize the degree to which a given topic is supported by evidence (http://vetcompanion.com/methodology).

Content

Clinical Topics

VetCompanion’s primary content, although growing, currently consists of approximately 300 evidence-based records for many common disorders and diseases seen in cats and dogs, such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and parvovirus. Each record contains sections – Summary, Causes and Risk Factors, Differential Diagnosis, Diagnosis and Screening, Prevention, Treatment, Follow-up, Prognosis and Evidence – bringing together in one place much of the information needed by the healthcare provider to share with the client and determine optimal treatments. If additional detail is wanted, the Evidence section contains citations for the information sources used in developing the record, organized by their evidence type (consensus statement, systematic review, randomized controlled trial, other). At the end of each record is the date of the latest update, as records are modified periodically to encompass any new evidence of clinical importance on the subject. This helps clinicians know they are using timely information.

Formulary Topics

VetCompanion also includes a fully integrated formulary with content derived from Saunders Handbook of Veterinary Drugs: Small and Large Animal, 4th edition, Papich (Elsevier, 2016). It includes 560+ drug topics which, again, contain sections – Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action, Indications and Clinical Uses, Precautionary Information, Instructions for Use, Patient Monitoring and Laboratory Tests, Formulations, Stability and Storage, Small Animal Dosage, Large Animal Dosage, and Regulatory Information – that bring together the needed information to appropriately use each compound for treatment. For somewhat more than a quarter of the drugs, customizable and printable Client Handout sheets are available via a link. These let the practitioner add patient-specific information and special instructions, while already including sections on possible adverse effects, do’s and don’ts.

Conversions

Finally, VetCompanion includes a set of conversion factors for weight, volume, temperature, and other to help practitioners convert measurements when needed.

Features and Functionality

Searching and Browsing

At the top of every page is a simple search box for entering a term or phrase. VetCompanion searches the full text of each record in Clinical and Formulary Topics. It is also quite easy to browse an alphabetical list of records in Clinical Topics, Formulary Topics, or Conversions; or alphabetical lists of Clinical Topics for 19 different specialties, such as cardiology or infectious disease. VetCompanion keeps track of recently viewed records, so it is easy to return to a previously viewed record.

Printing

There is no print function at VetCompanion other than for the Client Handout sheets, which are hosted on a different website. However, users can print sections of a record with the browser’s print function in a fairly attractive format.

Mobility

VetCompanion can be used on smartphones, tablets, and computers. I was successful with both Windows and Mac computers and an iPhone SE. However, because this is a website, so internet access is required for any device.

Business model

Students enjoy complimentary access when they use a school email account from their veterinary school or veterinary nursing/technician school to register, good until graduation. An individual user may subscribe for $398 per year, but new graduates who subscribe prior to December 31 of their graduation year receive a 25% discount. A practice with two users receives a 10% discount on each subscription, increasing to a 15% discount for three users, or a 20% discount for four or more users. Institutions must contact VetCompanion (http://vetcompanion.com/contact) for pricing.

Breakthrough

VetCompanion is a useful evidence-based, point-of-care resource that can save time for small animal veterinary practitioners and students. It brings together the current known evidence for a common problem and rates that evidence to help practitioners or students evaluate its usefulness for a particular patient. It can truly help practitioners base their choices on current science. It will be even more useful as the resource grows in coverage. A recent demo video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdr-lqizTCw (6 minutes in length). To view a full sample record, visit http://vetcompanion.com/sample_topic. More information can be obtained by calling 330-382-3960 or visiting www.vetcompnion.com/contact to send an email.

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