Responding to Bullying

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the vast majority of your clients sincerely appreciate your dedication and the quality of care you provide for your patients. That’s why it’s so incredibly difficult when your wellbeing and ability to deliver those services are negatively impacted by bullying, cyber and otherwise. Such has been the case at the Maine Veterinary Medical Center this week and last week.

While the urgent care provided by our colleagues there appears to have resulted in yet another life saved, a news story, augmented by social media, has created a nightmare for veterinarians and their teams at the Center, as well as their families. The abuse they have taken, including what they have described as death threats and threats to burn down the clinic, is unconscionable. We have offered, through our Maine House of Delegates member, the support of our crisis management program and we are contacting the news outlet to express our displeasure with how it covered this heartbreaking situation.

While our hearts go out to the staff of the Center, we are tremendously proud of the support shown for them by other members of our profession across the country. It’s important to know that you are not alone, and our profession has stepped up, doing its best to lend an ear, a shoulder, and other assistance. We also recognize that while this is one of the latest, most visible examples of social bullying, unfortunately, it is not the only one.

For those who are dealing with such attacks, the AVMA has resources to support you and to help you protect your practice’s reputation that are available at This includes access to a helpline staffed by crisis management experts at Bernstein Crisis Management for those who are facing an immediate cyberbullying situation. (As an AVMA member, you receive up to 30 minutes of free consultation and advice – enough to help you stem the tide of attack in most situations. You also qualify for significant discounts if you want additional consultation.)

We also recognize that, even in the absence of bullying, the stress of difficult cases, challenging clients, and health issues that—despite our best efforts—cannot be fixed, because of their extent or a lack of resources, takes a daily toll. If you or a member of your staff are struggling, please visit where you will find additional resources and support.