As chief medical officer at Banfield Pet Hospital, Dr. Molly McAllister is responsible for ensuring strategy, talent, organization, and culture support the practice in remaining at the forefront of quality pet care, as well as cultivating productive relationships within the veterinary profession. Dr. McAllister earned her veterinary degree from the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a master’s in public health from the University of Minnesota. She started her career in private veterinary practice before joining Royal Canin as a scientific services veterinarian, responsible for educating veterinarians about nutritional solutions to clinical disease. In 2012, she joined Banfield to lead medical education programs before transitioning to oversee the Veterinary Science team and drive research from Banfield’s extensive electronic medical records database.Read Articles Written by Molly McAllister
This National Pet Month, Banfield is celebrating reaching 150 million pet visits in May across our more than 1,000 hospitals since we began tracking this data in 2000. This huge accomplishment is thanks to the dedication of our passionate and caring veterinary teams, working across the U.S to support pets and the people who love them. This includes delivering important preventive care to help pets live happy, healthy lives – with Banfield reaching 300 million doses of heartworm preventives delivered as the parasite continues to be diagnosed across all 50 states.
The impact of these 150 million visits goes far beyond our hospital walls. Because our veterinary teams log data from every appointment into our proprietary pet record system – the largest in the U.S. – this milestone equates to 37 million unique medical records and more than two billion medical observations and treatments. Banfield researchers have mined this data to help drive medical quality and patient safety not just at Banfield but across the veterinary profession.
With 20+ years of pet data at our fingertips, below are some of the key findings, resources, best practices, and medical developments gleaned from our pet medical record database that we’ve made available to our hospital teams and the industry:
- Anesthesia safety: As part of our quality improvement program at Banfield, we are focused on reducing anesthesia-related mortality in dogs and cats. We first identified systemic and local risk factors associated with anesthesia mortality. We then developed and implemented medical quality standards (MQS) to provide a structured and consistent framework around anesthesia to help mitigate these risk factors. Ongoing and robust data capture enabled us to monitor the impact of MQS on mortality. We have shown that MQS can reduce anesthesia mortality in primary care veterinary hospitals, improving the quality of care we offer and enhancing safety. Before implementing MQS, mortality rate was already consistent with, or lower than, reports from others in the profession. After implementation of MQS and with ongoing and continued focus on anesthesia, mortality rates have seen a sustained and continued decrease, to the point that at the end of 2021 we recorded our lower ever anesthesia associated mortality rate. You can visit Banfield’s Anesthesia Resources website to find resources and tools designed to help you get the best results for every pet, every time.
- Antimicrobial use in pets: Banfield’s data is made available to a host of collaborators and researchers in animal health. This includes the Companion Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (CAVSNET) and the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE) to help better define the scope of antimicrobial use and resistance in pets in the U.S. With the World Health Organization declaring antimicrobial resistance as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity, we hope to drive measures that encourage responsible antimicrobial use in pets to preserve the continued effectiveness of existing drugs that are medically important for both people and pets. You can read more about this work here.
- Oral health: Periodontal disease (PD) is common in dogs but often goes undiagnosed. To better understand the prevalence of PD and which dogs were most likely to be affected, we partnered with Waltham Petcare Science Institute to analyze millions of medical records from dogs who visited Banfield hospitals during a 5-year period. We found that 18.2% of dogs were diagnosed with PD. Smaller breeds were 2–3 times more likely to be diagnosed with PD than larger breeds, although the highest prevalence in any breed was in greyhounds. Dogs who were overweight or older were also more likely to be diagnosed with PD. What does this mean for veterinary teams? Visit Banfield Exchange to learn more.
- Feline chronic kidney disease: Banfield’s data helped to enable the development of a predictive model for feline chronic kidney disease (CKD), the top cause of death for domestic cats over the age of five. This first-of-its-kind model led to Antech’s RenalTech product, which uses AI to help predict CKD in cats by up to two years before a traditional diagnosis, and with over 95% accuracy. It has also paved the way for the development of predictive models for other conditions.
We will continue to invest in our people and the sustainability of the profession to ensure the growing numbers of pets can receive the care they need. With plans for Banfield to expand its number of hospital locations and reach approximately 225,000 more pets annually by 2023, as our medical record database continues to grow, we are committed to continuing to share research-enabled best practices, protocols, and findings. To stay up-to-date on the latest, visit Banfield Exchange.