Dr. Kim Lim inspires with her passion for Canine Rehabilitation

If you’re one of the lucky people that has registered for the Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Workshop, you’ll meet Dr Kim Lim, who is an educator at the workshop. When I interviewed Kim recently, I was blown away by her passion for veterinary rehabilitation. If Kim can’t demonstrate the benefits of rehabilitation, then I don’t think anyone could!

Read on to learn more about Kim and her inspiring career in rehabilitation.


 

What inspired you to become a veterinarian and then go onto specialise in canine rehabilitation?

“I chose to be a vet by default; looking at a list of university courses in year 9, I had no idea what most of them were. Top of the list was actuary(?) Anyway at the bottom was veterinary science and I knew what that was. Maybe it was a bit of guilt from my rabbit having to be put down with myxo. Luckily for me, I have never regretted it. I loved pulling things apart and trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to put things back together again when young. Surgery was quite similar, but I didn’t enjoy the anaesthetic side of things (back then, I started with an in-breathing Komesaroff, no other monitoring devices etc.).

Discovering biomechanical medicine allowed me to change the biomechanics and function of the body without the anaesthetic or cutting things open. Rehabilitation was a natural extension of the biomechanics training. Sometimes it is like finding pieces of the jigsaw puzzle; you keep looking for better, more elegant ways to help your patients. I remember graduating from vet school and feeling like I never wanted to study again.

So, I did an acupuncture certification a year later because that wasn’t anything like vet school studying. It was more like the stuff my mother used to tell me; a bit of my culture thrown in, not really medicine…How wrong I was; and I have never really stopped learning since.”

 

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a veterinarian?

“Probably an engineer. There is a long history of engineers in the family. I have since found out that my love of fixing things is not just an engineering thing but is shared among many vets.”

 

In your own words, what is it about canine rehabilitation that you find interesting and that you believe general practitioners would benefit from learning about and performing better?

“I first discovered the importance of rehabilitation when a patient was presented to me four weeks after cruciate surgery. I asked the owner what she had been doing since the surgery and she told me she had been walking to the letterbox and back. When asked what else she had been doing, she replied, that’s it. That’s all the surgeon said the dog was allowed to do. I think this was the moment in 2011 when I realised I had a mission to educate my fellow veterinarians out there that just like in human medicine where they get you out of bed the day after surgery and on to a rehabilitation programme, it is not correct to cage rest or severely limit mobility of a dog after a similar type of surgery for six weeks. Another classic example is of the cruciate repair where the surgeon is happy with the surgery, healing rate etc. but the dog’s gait and posture are terrible; hind legs tucked under, kyphotic stance and no engagement and no strength from behind. Changing the biomechanics and adding rehabilitation to engage the hamstrings and release the psoas and the patient can then reap the benefits of the cruciate surgery.”

 

Read Dr. Lim’s article published in Vet Practice Magazine (May, 2019)

 

What procedure, technology, or medication have you used for a dog post-surgery or musculoskeletal injury, and realised that there was a better alternative?

“There is a common misconception that integrative/ alternative/ complementary medicine veterinarians have 2 heads or a chip on their shoulder or are just plain weird. The truth is that many of us started out wanting to be a mixed practice vet like James Herriot. However, there were things that our university taught tools were inadequate for and we kept searching for answers… The first was a Beagle more than 25 years ago. The owner reported that the dog screamed at home. On examination we poked, prodded, pulled the body all ways and got nothing. We took multiple radiographs and got nothing. NSAIDs etc. did nothing. This went on for multiple visits. Then, the owners rang and said they had taken their dog to the veterinary chiropractor down the road, Dr Alex Hauler and the dog was all better now. Apparently, it had been in the neck. A few years later, it was a German Shepherd with a sore back. I treated it with some acupuncture; he was also getting treatment at his local vet, but his back was still sore. At that time, there was a Control and Therapy article (CVE), again by Dr Alex Hauler describing the chiropractic treatment of a German Shepherd that was almost identical to the dog I was treating. It was so frustrating not having the diagnostic or biomechanical medicine skills to help this patient. A month later, I was at a Sydney Postgraduate course on endocrinology (now CVE) and Dr Doug Bryden mentioned that the very first university offered animal chiropractic course was starting at RMIT. The rest is history…”

 

What is the most memorable case you’ve been involved with, that resulted in dramatic improvement to the animal’s quality of life?

“I used to have a miracle a year and now I have lost count. They are not really miracles if you see the same improvement consistently over many years with many patients. There was the 14-year-old Doberman cross that did a disc in his neck and became a quadriplegic; his owner bought a stretcher and brought him in to see me. This dog got better, eventually was able to walk up the mountain/ hill behind his house and died 2 years later of some neoplasia. Another memorable one was a dog that got run over by a 4WD; he was going to die, then he was going to lose his leg… he ended up surviving; was brought in for acupuncture, biomechanical treatment and rehabilitation and after a course of treatment was back chasing the same 4WD. Some of them never learn.

At the moment, I am treating an acute polyradiculoneuritis that was presented to me 7 months after the diagnosis was made. This little dog could only move his head, not his legs…His owner had given up his job to care for his mate. He drove 3 hours to come to me when he found my website. This dog was in a bad way; there had been no useful rehabilitation or therapy for the last 7 months. I was not hopeful. Two weeks later at the second consultation, the dog is now crab crawling with his front legs and able to make weak paddling movements with his back legs; the tail is going 19 to a dozen. There are still no promises, but this is one reason why I do what I do.”

 

Do you have any pets?

“2 cats; a ginger and a tuxedo. The ginger’s wish in life is to be an only child- all about him 24/7. The kids have grown up and left home but there’s still one that needs his mum ALL the time. 5 bantam chickens that are the ultimate freeloaders- too fat to lay properly because they have steadily eaten their way through my orchard for the last 12 months.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I am not a great believer in fun. This doesn’t mean I am miserable but rather that I feel most complete when I am useful to someone or something else. So apart from my paid job helping pets, I have volunteered my time with my children’s schools for many years and then moved on to be a venturer scout leader (still stuck with teenagers; how do high school teachers do it?). I am also involved in the Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group, the Animal Biomechanical Professionals Association (ABPA) and the teaching of the Graduate Diploma in Animal Biomechanical Medicine. I have come to realise that I am happiest when mildly stressed! My mission in life is to leave the world knowing and hoping that I have made a difference. In my ‘spare time’ I love working in my garden, commuting from A to B by bike or public transport and visiting the local library.”

 

Kim can be contacted at 0478131646 or geelongcreatures@gmail.com
Website: geelongcreatures.com.au

 

At the time of print, there was one spot left in this workshop to be run from August 30 – September 1, 2019. I’m guessing this spot will be snapped up by someone who reads Kim’s down to earth interview responses and is inspired to learn more about the rewarding field of canine rehabilitation!

 

Download the Brochure for this workshop or Register Now for the final spot.

 

 

Introverts can Exude Confidence too! Here’s how

Let’s face it, many of us are introverts. Many of us find people who are overly confident as imposing. But the moment we enter a room, people are immediately forming an impression. They’re making snap judgments and perceptions based on how we carry ourselves and how we interact with others. This applies to everyone in any situation from welcoming clients, family functions to networking events, staff meetings, initial consultations, or greeting pet owners at reception. It also occurs internally when you start a new job or enter the business for each shift or team meeting.

Regardless of the situation, people are less inclined to give you attention and respect if you appear uncomfortable or insecure. Within seconds your lack of confidence will discredit your presence and any information you’re about to deliver. No one needs that… what we do is hard enough without adding to it. But it’s a truth.

Body language is an integral part of communication and the way you present yourself is more paramount to a successful outcome than you likely realise.

Here are three tips to appear confident.

Inside Out/Outside In:

 

Some people think you can earn respect by presenting yourself as physically confident. Some people think confidence comes from within. In my experience, both work.

On days when I want to impress, I put on my nicest underwear, smartest outfits and shine my shoes. All actors talk about how they create their characters. Even if you aren’t naturally confident, if you dress the part it will influence your capacity to deliver.

Inside we are all a little bit shy, it’s normal as a social species to be apprehensive in this way. “Will this person/tribe accept me?” is a basic social query. At a reptilian level, the fear is that if they don’t accept me there will be conflict or worse…death. It takes our higher brain to reassure us that approaching strangers or people who we are not close to will not have adverse effects on our basic safety and security.

It seems ridiculous that sometimes we have to talk to ourselves this way, but if we dig underneath our fears – what we usually find is a juvenile belief about security that has been ignored. So reach deep, soothe quickly by reminding yourself that you have a lot to offer and people want to know what that is. You are special and important. Even if you aren’t Einstein or Hussein Bolt you have something to contribute, you might just need to grow into yourself.

 

Everyone else wants confidence too:

 

Inside we are all a little bit shy. And the other people we meet usually want to impress and be accepted too. Knowing this can help reduce any anxiety or challenges we have trying to reach them. Suddenly, people in the room aren’t intimidating enemies you have to get through to. They are willing participants in the game of social cooperation. And that’s a beautiful idea that opens up possibilities in communication. I try to remember that, especially when someone is defensive. There is always a way to connect. You just have to find it.

 

Eye contact is everything:

 

If communication is about conveying messages that facilitate understanding of ideas, then eye contact is a key to that process. There’s a lot of good science around the neural processing that takes place through our optic system. When we look into another person’s eyes we experience limbic resonance. This is described by the researchers who first wrote about it as “a symphony of mutual and internal adaptation whereby two mammals become attuned to each other’s inner states.” And “the door to communal connection.” The practical implication of this information is that by learning to monitor our own emotions and sense emotional changes in other people, it becomes possible to recognize what people are feeling; and, by learning to navigate and manage our own emotions, we influence the emotions of others. It’s the key to using info in my first two points. When you look confident and project confidence it can be infectious and effective at navigating positive outcome.

 

If you’d like coaching and guidance about achieving these tips in any situation, VetPrac can help. We have online workshops facilitated by respected veterinarians to help you advance your skills beyond the technical expertise.

Join Dr. Sandra Nguyen’s Vet Talk workshop every Tuesday night for 7 weeks to enhance your communication skills not only with clients but your colleagues too. This online classroom kicks off on July 23rd and covers 7 units encompassing everything from understanding the client, to delivering bad news, communication with the health care team, and so much more.

Further to this, Dr. Cathy Warburton is also facilitating How High Achievers Succeed and Keep Succeeding every Thursday night for 6 weeks. This workshop commencing on October 17th spans 6 weeks with resources to develop good habits and scientific evidence about the links between well-being and success. If you’ve ever looked at your colleagues with respect and thought, “I want to do that too!” this is your opportunity to kick things off.

     

 

If you’ve ever walked into a function or consultation room, and felt you didn’t have the skills to impress – both of these workshops are exactly what you need to build your confidence and excel in your career.

Visit the VetPrac website for more details about these opportunities. The online class sizes are limited to 10 to ensure you receive the best experience possible with the personalised attention VetPrac prides itself on. Registrations are open to veterinarians, nurses, administration, support staff, and management.

Your First Step Toward Owning Your Own Practice

The economy is slow… It’s a GREAT time to buy a business.

They always say, “Listen to your mother.” My mother is a pretty clever lady and she once told me that the best time to buy into a business is when the economy is slow. Given the current RBA cash rate of 1%, I can’t remember a time when the economy has been so slow which is definitely good news for buyers.

Many of us never consider purchasing a business. Practice ownership is fraught with the difficulty of personnel management, financial responsibility, and equipment maintenance. But to the lucky few who like the variety of life being a business owner can throw at you – the rewards can be brilliant.

Aside from financial gain, you get to shape a mini-world into a utopian environment with your value system.

If you want to work and operate in a place where people care about each other then, as the boss, you can make that a priority.

If you want to charge lots of money and not compromise on the gold-standard. You can.

If you want to make allowances to those in need and supplement their deficiencies with your generosity. You can because you’re the boss.

Most people know that the veterinary market is relatively stable. We don’t make huge profits on our businesses, but unlike the finance or property sectors, there is significant buoyancy and sustained commitment of our customer base which makes it a good investment. This is why it’s an appealing option for the large equity firms looking to leverage their money. Why not take a leaf out of their book and invest yourself?

It is true that business is hard. And many businesses fall down because of a number of issues that can plague them. But if you never try, how will you know if you could be successful as a business owner too?

Business is not like the life and death world of veterinary practice. Yes, a lot rides on it, but I think the perspective we have in facing real life and death decisions can give us a great deal of strength in business.

As Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook said, “When life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom to rise up, find the surface and breathe again.”

I love owning a business and one day I hope to own a vet practice too.

If you’ve ever wanted to create your own utopia, consider joining us in Sydney in November to learn how to start.

EXIT STRATEGIES FOR VET BUSINESS OWNERS
Your business is important so spend the day with us to find out how the processes in exit strategies work from industry professionals.
Download the brochure or Click here to register

 

HOW TO BUY A VETERINARY BUSINESS
Do you want the responsibilities and rewards of business ownership but not sure where to start? Join us for a day of expert advice to get you started.
Download the brochure or Click here to register

 

 

Ilana’s Top Tips for Getting Through Communication Barriers

1. Be Authentic

We are all motivated by different things which align with our individual values. People can smell bullshit and when you try to convince a client of something you don’t believe yourself they feel it. More than that, you will be betraying your own value system and that will eat you up.

 

2. Understand the perspective of your counterpart

Communication is a two-way street, sometimes 3-way! It helps before you try to put your point across to understand where the other people involved are coming from. Taking the time to find out before engaging on a path to getting through to people, can make the experience more collaborative and positive for everyone.

3. Start with the end in mind

Ultimately we communicate to be heard and achieve a goal. If your mind heads into the conversation in battle mode (defense or attack) you are less likely to have a positive outcome.

 

4. Assume the best

If a person shows up for a conversation it’s because they want a positive outcome too. Their consideration of a positive outcome might be different from yours, which is why gaining perspective first can really help lay the path. However, assume more broadly that the person you engage with wants what is best for your patient or business or even for you or them. It builds rapport, trust and increases the chances of successful outcomes

 

5. Listen

Active listening requires work. We have to avoid distractions in our own heads and around us which prevent us from hearing our conversation in its entirety. How can we expect to reach a successful outcome if we have not been present for the whole journey?

6. Help the other person to feel felt

It is not enough to listen, the key to getting through to people is to show and truly understand their feelings. Mirroring body language can help with this, but so can statements acknowledging their position. If you can help a person to feel felt than you can tap into their authenticity and your own and achieve great outcomes.

 

7. Manage your own feelings with kindness and compassion

When someone says or does something we don’t like the natural response is to take offense because it threatens our value system. When we are defending our patients and our values we can get quite upset. The fastest way out of this frustration is not to blame the other person for our frustration. Instead to say to ourselves – “What I feel matters, this person doesn’t understand me and that’s not their fault. To make this interaction work requires me to explain myself better so I can feel felt and get on the same page as the other person/s.”

8. Express your views and knowledge with neutrality

The true challenge –  “How can I gently and kindly convey what is needed without compromising my value system?”. We do not have to let ourselves and our values be pushed around because someone else is pushy. True negotiation and conversation skills come into play when we can hold the other persons’ opinion respectfully and also convey ours receiving the same respect.

 

9. Be gracious

No matter the outcome of the communication experience honor the effort of all parties to enter into the dialogue which has taken time and energy. If you are not successful in getting through in the time allowed, you can always try again in the future if the door to communication is left open.

 

Communication encompasses every waking moment of our lives. We invest a lot of time, effort and money into our medical training but we also need to invest in communication skills because that’s what brings life and substance to our medical techniques and expertise.


VET TALK COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP (7wks online)
Join Dr. Sandra Nguyen every Tuesday night from July 23rd
to enhance your communication techniques in the veterinary practice.
Download the brochure or Click here to register

 

HOW HIGH ACHIEVERS SUCCEED AND KEEP SUCCEEDING (6wks online)
Join Dr. Cathy Warburton every Thursday night from October 17th
for resources to develop positive emotions, overcome adversity and get stuff done
Download the brochure or Click here to register

 

These workshops are open to veterinarians, nurses, administration, support staff, and management. Anyone in the veterinary industry will find great benefit in either of these courses and you’re welcome to contact us if you have any questions.  We hope to see you there!