VetTips: VetPrac Penis and Bum Surgery

Tip 1: Digital rectal examination is the main-stay of diagnosis for perineal hernia’s. Palpate both sides even if the external swelling is only obvious on one side. A tip for the digital rectal exam is to make your finger into the shape of a hook and point it laterally. As you withdraw your finger, if the finger slides right out then it is not a hernia; if it catches then it is a perineal hernia.

Tip 2:  Anal sacculitis is most commonly seen in small-breed dogs but can present from a wide variety of signalments. Surgery to remove the anal sacs is indicated when there has been a failure of appropriate medical management (manual expression, lavage, instilling topical antibiotic-corticosteroid preparations +/- systemic antibiotics, adding fibre to the diet and treating concomitant dermatoses) or in cases of neoplasia.

Tip 3:  When suturing the urethral mucosa in a perineal urethrostomy  make sure you identify the edge of the urethral mucosa accurately. Sterile cotton buds are useful to blot the haemorrhage away to help identification of the mucosal edges (don’t use electrocautery). Take a bite of the urethral mucosa, a small bite of the tunica to help compress the intervening cavernous tissue, and then appose the mucosa to the skin.

Would you like to find out more? This August 24- 25th is the Perineal and Urogenital Surgery Workshop.. it’s a little bit smelly but the surgical techniques you walk away with are incredibly valuable! Click to register today! For more information see the brochure here.

How VetPrac Helped Me Become A Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist!

In 2017 I qualified as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute course coordinated by VetPrac here in Australia.  The field of Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Therapies is really only just taking off in Australia, it is already huge in the US and Europe with many dedicated clinics and full time clinicians there. It was the first time this wonderful course was offered in Australia. I had previously contemplated attending the course in the US, so I was very excited to find it was being offered in Australia through VetPrac.

I have been a small animal vet for 27 years and an IVAS qualified Veterinary Acupuncturist for the last 12 years and also do a lot of trigger point (muscle knots) and soft tissue manipulation work with Canine Athletes. So this CRI course was a natural extension of the work I already did and it has helped me enormously in my business. In regards to musculoskeletal injuries I was already doing a lot for the pain and disability of the initial injuries and secondary compensatory issues, but the CRI course has helped me enormously in returning the animals back to optimal performance whether that is following a sporting soft tissue injury or following orthopaedic surgery. It has given me a greater understanding of the injuries and the demands of canine sports, but also common orthopaedic injuries in non athletes.

The first module was three days of Canine Sports medicine in Sydney in February 2016 and was conducted by Dr Chris Zink, who is very well known and respected in the World of Dog Agility. This introductory workshop gave me many practical skills dealing with the many agility dogs I see.  It taught us detailed musculo-skeletal exams, gait analysis and musculo-skeletal special test as well as practical exercises to strengthen weak muscles. This is not something that was taught to us in vet school really and yet it is something we encounter every day in practice. This 3 day course gives veterinarians a much needed insight into the world of canine athletes and the many issues that involves them as well as pets with common injuries.

The following two modules are five days long each and are very practical and incredibly useful. The Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation module is an intensive 5 day revision of musculoskeletal anatomy and the biomechanics of how anatomy is related to function and performance. The diagnostic methods of musculoskeletal conditions are explained through this workshop. It was a huge eye opener and so much more fun and useful than anatomy back in vet school. The Canine Therapist five day module concentrates on the therapy aspect of rehabilitation and how all three modules fit together. All three courses have a large practical, hands on approach working with actual canine athletes and patients with injuries.

Each module is followed by an online exam and after completing all three modules there is a week long internship with a pre-approved clinician in the field of rehabilitation therapies for those wishing to become certified.

I would highly recommend the courses to anyone interested in the field of Canine Muscular Injuries, Rehabilitation, and Sports Medicine. It is particularly helpful for musculo-skeletal injuries and those obscure lameness mysteries that no one seems to be able to solve. It goes a long way towards being the equivalent of a Canine Physiotherapist without doing a Human Physiotherapy degree. I have thoroughly enjoyed this intense but wonderful course and I am very grateful to VetPrac for bringing this much needed course to Australia. I highly recommend the Canine Rehabilitation Institute courses.

If you’re interested undertaking the steps that will lead you to becoming a CCRT certificate holder with the internationally acclaimed canine rehabilitation institute, July 30th – August 3rd VetPrac will be hosting the The Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation Workshop. The workshop is open to physiotherapists, nurses, and veterinarians, and will be held in Brisbane. Register today HERE! For more information read the brochure. 

Written by Dr Esther Horton

“Work seems like play to me. I can’t believe I actually get paid to do it.” Meet Dr Brian Beale

Dr. Brian Beale is an extraordinary man with many talents.  His supernatural ability in the veterinary world is so impressive that he’s not only a surgeon, a mentor, an educator and a radio talk show host, but also a TV celebrity!

Here are the best bits from our exclusive interview with Dr Beale…

Brian knew from a young age that veterinary medicine was the path for him.  He was exposed to responsible animal ownership by his grandparents. They inspired him with their practice of driving a fair distance to take their slobbery Mastiffs and St. Bernards to the specialists at the University of Pennsylvania to receive the best care possible. Brian recognised then that specialists were rare and getting proper care was important.

When it came time for university he knew he was a very hands-on type of person and liked to fix stuff.  Brian originally went into engineering then made the switch to the vet program at the University of Florida graduating as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1985. “I had a strong academic background in problem solving, solution and diagnostics and decided I wanted to be the best orthopaedic surgeon I could be”.  Since then he has never looked back!

After completing his internship and residency and working for the University, Dr Beale joined the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists and has been there for over 20 years!  When asked what makes a good workplace, Brian says “For me, it’s being able to have the equipment and team available to do the best job you possibly can”.  Additionally, Dr Beale stated that he wanted to influence the direction of the practice, and not have it totally clinical.  He has certainly achieved this.  Along with clinical practice, he is now incredibly active in education, research and training and he believes that finding a good mentor after graduating is very important.

Lucky for VetPrac, Dr Beale LOVES teaching!  He teaches all levels, pre-vets to residents, but much of his knowledge is shared with vets just wanting to learn more. He made remarkable contributions to the growth of veterinary medicine in 1999 when he worked closely with human orthopods to develop arthroscopy in small animals. One of the human surgeons in the team scrubbed in on his own dog to help Brian repair a torn cruciate ligament. Needless to say, the surgeon had to let Dr Beale take over and was amazed by the procedure. Another case Dr Beale shared with us was a 300-pound Malayan tiger from the Houston Zoo. “I diagnosed elbow dysplasia and fragmented medial coronoid process. The arthroscopic findings were amazingly similar to what I see in dogs…except the FCP was as big as my thumb. It presented quite a challenge to remove it arthroscopically”.  What an incredible opportunity!  He is also co-author of “Small Animal Arthroscopy”.

National Geographic WILD teamed up with the vets at the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialist and created a show called “Animal ER”.  Brian reveals some of the highlights of the show were “getting the opportunity to work with a highly experienced Hollywood crew with a high level of expertise and working with many incredible species of animals including tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, endangered bird species and monkeys to name a few”.

If you’d like to learn from Dr Brian Beale come join VetPrac for the Hip and Hindlimb surgery workshop June 26th – 27th. Register TODAY! For more information click here to check out the brochure.

Happy Mothers Day from Ilana Mendels

My mum retired last week, just shy of 70yrs old. She arrived in Australia by boat when she was two as the daughter of a Chinese merchant. Her family lived above a shop in east Sydney and her mother died when my mum was just 15yrs old. She never really got to have a mum as an adult woman, and I never met my grandmother.

My Grandmother was the first woman in Harbin, China to run a modern beauty parlour. She travelled to Paris after WWI to learn beauty techniques from the french. When she arrived in Australia she gave that up to help my Grandfather set up his shop and raise their children.

My mother was the first person in Australia to offer aged and disability care services privately. Until her, the only option was government care services through the department of social services. Her business disrupted an entire sector, and she worked with lawyers to change compensation law to properly account for the life time needs of the injured. I grew up playing at her feet while she started her business at home, offering care services to Sydney’s elderly not wanting to go into nursing homes.

The mothers in my family have always made me feel very proud of my heritage. They are women who are kind, idealistic activists who saw problems as opportunities and drove change into their communities. In doing so, the time they spent with their children was limited. But when it was given it was all encompassing and loving.

I spent a lot of time waiting for my mum but I always knew and I still know when she turns her attention to me it is absolute and what she gives me is the support and strength and hope that I can achieve anything, that everything will work out, that I am safe no matter what happens. Most of all she knows where all my giggle spots are and how to activate them. I love her so much and I wouldn’t be the woman I am without her. I hope I can give those gifts to my children one day too.

I hope you get a moment to enjoy your mothers and your own children today. Even if you have adoptive or surrogate parents or children by circumstance, there is great joy in savoring the time we have with our loved ones. It’s a joy that brings us peace, laughter, ease and safety and it creates the space to make the seemingly impossible very manageable.

Have a happy day!


Selling your practice? You have options! Let Simon Palmer Help You

After joining the VetPrac education team last year, we are delighted to welcome Simon Palmer back this year to VetPrac workshops in Brisbane and Sydney. Simon runs workshops and seminars on exit planning and practice sales throughout Australia, and is the founder of Australia’s largest dental and vet brokerage – Practice Sale Search. His company sells more than 60 practices a year.

Last year Simon gave us some insight into practice sales and the role he plays in both practice sales and acquisitions.

With the growth of corporate veterinary practices, I asked Simon to tell us how this has had an impact on the sales process, and how corporate buyers perceive veterinary practices differently to owner operator buyers.

Simon has seen several impacts of corporate buyers; that of increased options, and increased prices.

“The appetite for practices with a justifiable price tag over $1M is thin amongst owner-operators. Corporate aggregators provide options for these practices. The laws of supply and demand tell us that when there is increased demand for any asset, the price for that asset is usually elevated. Corporate aggregators buying practices results in more demand for higher-profit/revenue vet practices. This, in turn, should mean that owners of these vet practices get more favourable options when it comes time to sell”

Simon, what are the differences that vets should be aware of when selling to a corporate group?

“There are two things that I think vets should keep in mind about corporate aggregators: Firstly, an owner operator buyer is looking for a business and a job. A vet corporate is just looking for a business. This is a fundamental difference in the way that the practices are looked at and assessed. A Vet buyer may pay more for qualities that don’t appear on a profit and loss. They may be willing to pay more for a recently renovated practice that has a well-designed work environment that is near to their home for example. A corporate aggregator is really just looking at production/revenue, profit and prospects for expansion.

Secondly, many vets have negative connotations in mind when they hear of “corporate buyers”. I believe that it is unfair to lump them all together and paint them with the same negative brush. There are many corporate aggregators in the veterinary world with different ways of acquiring, different corporate cultures and different relationships with their practices, vets and clients. If you are selling your practice, it is probably a good idea to speak with vet buyers that are individual owner operators AND corporate aggregators, so that you can get a feel for how both view and value your practice. It is always better to know all the options that are available to you, before you make any decisions.”

Thanks, Simon, for your insights into this rapidly expanding sector of veterinary practice sales.

If you are thinking about either buying or selling a veterinary practice, why not register for the Buyers and Seller’s workshops to get some great professional advice on the process. You wouldn’t expect a great result if you attempted a new surgical procedure without thorough training; why expect a great outcome if you try to buy or sell a practice without professional advice!

Simon Palmer can be contacted at: 1300 282 042 or

Written by Alison Caiafa

How Much Do You Know About Canine Rehabilitation?

Did you know…

Tip 1: Veterinarians often struggle with determining the actual source of a forelimb lameness. Patients often present with normal radiographs and a subtle lameness. Using physiotherapeutic evaluation techniques, veterinarians can now determine whether the lameness is the result of an impairment in the muscle belly, muscle-tendon interface, tendon-bone interface, joint capsule, or collateral ligaments.

Tip 2: Improper arthrokinematics cause a lack of normal range of motion. Understanding correct arthrokinematics is essential to regaining appropriate range of motion.

Tip 3: Flexibility refers to the elastic potential of muscle/tendon units. Hypomobility refers to arthrokinematic impairment. Treatment for the two is very different, but both must be addressed to regain normal function of any joint.

Tip 4: Therapeutic exercise programs can focus on eccentric and/or concentric movements. Understanding when a patient is capable of progressing from one to the other is key to maximizing their return to normal function and strength.

If you’d like to learn more, join Vetprac and The Canine Rehabiliation Institute 30th July – 3rd of August and register for the five day Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation Workshop. This workshop is the first in a series of 3 workshops that will lead you to becoming a CCRT certificate holder with the internationally acclaimed Canine Rehabilitation Institute.