VetTips: Hip and Hind Limb Surgery

Tip 1:
86% of all fractures of long bones of animals less than 5 years of age occur in the femur.

The femur was the first bone in which fracture fixation was attempted and despite most femoral fractures being closed, due to the thigh musculature conservative management is consistently ineffective and should be abolished in favour of internal fixations. Preoperative splinting or bandaging creates a fulcrum and often leads to greater displacement and soft tissue damage at the fracture site.

Tip 2:

The femoral head and neck is composed of a complex trabecular network which helps it to withstand the bending forces on it during daily activity. The angles of inclination and anteversion between the femoral head and diaphysis are important to understand as it influences fracture configuration, method of stabilisation and prognosis.

Tip 3:

The surgical approach for common ilial fractures is the “gluteal roll-up”. The gluteal muscles are elevated from lateral and ventral aspect of the ilium and retracted dorsally. Fracture reduction for pelvic fractures requires considerable physical effort and specific strategies that contribute to success.

Eager to investigate and learn develop practical skills in Hip and Hind Limb Surgery? Join Dr Brian Beale and VetPrac June 26th – 27th and register TODAY. For more information please take a look at the brochure.


VetTips: Feline Surgery and Dentistry

Tip 1:

In an Australian study, feline tooth resorption lesions was a common finding in all breeds of domestic cats. The overall prevalence was 52%, with 74% of cats over the age of six years having at least one lesion.

Tip 2:

Diagnostic confusion between lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivostomatitis and other inflammatory oral conditions such as periodontal disease, tooth resorption, oral neoplasia and eosinophilic granuloma complex is common. Differentiating between these disorders can help provide specific direction for treatment, increasing the chances of a positive outcome for the patient.

Tip 3: 

Thyroidectomy can range from a straightforward procedure to one that is fairly complex. Benign, well-encapsulated tumors, such as those found in most cats, are easily resectable with minimal complications. Malignant, invasive tumors require extensive, careful dissection around many important and vital structures such as the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins, and recurrent laryngeal nerves.

Tip 4:

Nasal planum resection is a procedure that is most commonly performed on cats with squamous cell carcinomas of the nasal planum. All or a portion of the nasal planum is excised. The procedure may need to be combined with a rostral maxillectomy if the tumour invades or originates from the oral cavity. Quite often in this case the patient will need a full thickness labial flap and reconstruction of the lip.

Tip 5:

The surgical removal of Inflammatory polyps can be done in a number of ways. However, the best results are seen when a ventral bulla osteotomy is performed. With this procedure the recurrence rate is less than 2%.

If you’d like to learn more so you can DO more, join us 7-9th of February, 2019 in Wagga Wagga for a three day cat extravaganza at the Feline Surgery and Dentistry Workshop. Book NOW for to secure your place in this unique workshop, or click to read the brochure. Be quick!



Want to optimise Surgical Recovery Time? Meet Elena Saltis

Your patients can heal faster!
Your patients can heal better!
Post-operative rehabilitation is an under-utilised tool in animal health care in Australia. Until NOW!

Don’t get left behind, meet Elena…

At the VetPrac Ossability Stifle System Dry Lab and Rehabilitation workshop in Melbourne on April 5-6, 2018, Elena Saltis, a canine physiotherapist specializing in orthopaedics and neurology, will teach participants practical manual therapy techniques and therapeutic exercises using real patients. You will leave the day with the skills to start using cruciate rehabilitation as a new service in your clinic.

Let’s get to know Elena, and why she, like the majority of vets, prefers to treat animals than humans!

What do you like to do for fun? Walk my dogs, yoga, mountain biking, skiing, reading

What first sparked your interest in veterinary physiotherapy?  I had a Doberman with Wobblers and I knew I could do so much more for her and I was also up for a new challenge after getting all my human clinics up and running well.

Do you prefer treating humans or animals? Are you still working in the human field as well?  I prefer animals of course!!  I am still a NZ registered human physiotherapist and work with humans in a select capacity.

What are some of the challenges you face performing physiotherapy in animals that you don’t encounter in humans?  Not many really – the humans were far more challenging, but I guess the main challenge would be developing a relationship with the animal where my patient feels safe and comfortable can be a challenge initially with some dogs that are frightened and hurt.

Do you find compliance with treatment is better with pet owners or human patients?  Yes, most definitely.  Pet owners tend to be much more compliant with treatment and home programs. I think the pet owners feel a responsibility to their pet so are more willing to put the time into them, also the home programs are much more fun with animals, so this might have an influence on compliance.

Please share some of your tips to improve compliance with physiotherapy amongst pet owners.  First, if a patient does not like an exercise or activity then don’t do it, find something everyone likes. Having the owner video the therapist performing the home exercise is great and also reassuring the owner that if they are struggling with something just stop and we will work with them to get it right.

What is the most memorable veterinary case you’ve been involved with, that resulted in dramatic improvement to the animal’s quality of life?  This is difficult as there have been so many!  Probably a wee Pug that was a tetraplegic with Immune mediated myositis.  The recommendation from the Vets and Specialists was euthanasia but with intense physiotherapy he returned to full function and a very happy life.  There were many challenges along the way such as a sudden quadriceps contracture which we had to treat (and did successfully).  He had an amazing attitude and very devoted owners and he was just incredible.

Why not register  for the workshop here and help your patients achieve their best possible outcome after cruciate surgery! If you’d like more information please feel free to check out the brochure.

Contact information:

Written by Alison Caiafa

All We Want For Easter Is The Rabbit Surgery And Dentistry Workshop With Dr David Vella

Are you ready for the Easter Bunny???

Chances are you’re already enjoying the chocolate variety we see in the shops soon after Xmas. But do you have the skills required to treat the furry variety that are presenting to your practice with increasing frequency?

Why not register for the VetPrac Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry Workshop to ensure you’re able to capitalise on the burgeoning rabbit population in your practice. Dr David Vella, who was the first Australian vet to become a Diplomate of American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Exotic Companion Mammal Practice, will be leading the workshop on April 27-29th 2018.

We recently asked David to share a few insights into successfully managing the rabbits that are hopping into your veterinary practice.

What factors do you think have contributed to the growing numbers of rabbits kept as domestic pets in Australia over recent years?

I believe that the increasing popularity of rabbits as pets extends from a few factors. One of these is their attributes that make them suitable pets (social gregariousness, quiet nature, companionable, clean and fun to interact with). Another is the ability for them to adapt readily to an indoor environment. With an increasing proportion of the population living in apartment style homes, rabbits are well suited to this form of living.

In your own words, what is it about rabbit surgery and dentistry (link) that you find interesting and that you believe general practitioners would benefit from learning from and performing better?

I enjoy the unique challenges of rabbit procedures, from their anaesthesia requirements to their anatomical and physiological peculiarities. Confidence is treating rabbits is improved with a sound knowledge of these disciplines.

Do you have a favourite surgery or procedure that you like to perform on rabbits?

I enjoy all facets of surgery and particularly dental surgery. Rabbits often present with relatively advanced levels of dental disease. They never cease to amaze me in their ability to cope with these ailments.

What procedure, technology, or medication have you used and realised that there was a better alternative?

So many advances in medicine have allowed better alternatives to be utilised. In rabbit medicine, digital & dental radiography, endoscopy and advanced imaging (especially CT imaging) to name a few, have made diagnostics and treatments more precise and less invasive.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

We are collating information on cases to allow for analysis into retrospective studies, likely involving a few different conditions and diseases.

What do you like to do for fun? How do you spend your days off?

I love music, gardening and cooking and spending time with my family. I also spend a lot of fun time with my wife creating and running our ‘escape room’ (The Cipher Room) in Newtown Sydney.

Join Dr Vella for the Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry Workshop April 27th-29th 2018 in Wagga Wagga. To register click HERE, and for more information check out the brochure.

Contact information:
Phone: 0294364884

Written by Dr Alison Caiafa

VetTips: Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry

How much do you know about Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry? We’ve put together three fun facts that you may not already know!

Tip 1:

Rabbit’s vary in their number of thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. From  12T/7L in 44%, 13T/6L in 33%, and 13T/7L in 23% of rabbits. Their very well developed and powerful hind limbs are a testament to their muscle mass, which is 50%  of their total body weight. In fact, the force of their kicking can lead to spinal fracture (usually L6/L7) if they are not held appropriately.

Tip 2:

Rabbits are hindgut fermenters adapted to a diet rich in high fibre foods. The caecal fermentative end products are comprised of soft faeces (‘caecotrophs’ or ‘night’ faeces) that are normally re-ingested by the rabbit directly from the anus. The by-products of microbial fermentation (the volatile fatty acids – acetic, butyric, formic and propionic acids) are actively absorbed by the caecum and colon. These volatile fatty acids (VFAs) serve as an energy source for the rabbit.  Some VFAs are passed with the caecotrophs and hence may be absorbed in the small intestine upon being re-ingestated.

This is an important phenomenon to consider with rabbits. Any process which disrupts this delicate cycle (eg; antibiotics) can lead to an unfavourable caecal environment. This can potentially lead to a die-off of beneficial caecal microflora, and/or enhance the environment for overgrowth of potentially harmful opportunistic microbes such as Clostridia sp. and E.coli. This can lead to diarrhoea and enterotoxaemia. In rabbits, an overgrowth ofClostridium perfringens for example, may lead to the production and release of iota toxin thus creating local and systemic damage. Clinically this intestinal upset can produce a moribund patient with diarrhoea, inappaetance, hypothermia, dehydration and eventual death.

Tip 3: 

Cheek teeth clinical crown reshaping and spur removal is not an uncommon dental procedure in pet rabbits. To access this area, the rabbit patient must be suitably anaesthetised. To enhance visualisation of the oral cavity, cheek dilators and mouth gags can be utilised.  Cheek teeth clinical crown adjustment can then be carried out utilising high or low speed abrasive burrs on a straight nose cone. Soft tissue protection is important. Severe soft tissue damage and even fatal haemorrhage can occur with damage to the tongue or pharynx.

If you’d like to learn more, join us 27-29th of April in Wagga Wagga for the Rabbit Surgery and Dentistry Workshop. Specialists Dr David Vella, Dr Narelle Walter, and Dr Michelle Bingley, will show you techniques in nutrition, handling, dentistry and surgeryBook NOW for to secure your place in this popular workshop, or click to read the brochure. Be quick! The workshop is already half full!