We’ve Found The Perfect Recipe For VetPrac Bootcamp Educators!

We mixed many years of veterinary clinical experience, with a love of adventure and travel, and a willingness to give it a go and enjoy the experience along the way regardless of the result.

The products of such a recipe… Dr Peter Young and Dr Geraldine Gorman.

Let’s find out more about these 2 characters that will no doubt make Practical Skills Bootcamp 2018 a great learning experience for all participants.

Peter Young photoDr Peter Young graduated with honours from Sydney University in 1981 and spent 7 years in mixed practice in Victoria and NSW, before moving to Albury, NSW in 1988 where he developed his interest in small animal surgery. He gained his memberships of the ANZCVS in small animal surgery in 1990 and spent the next 20 years predominantly seeing surgical cases in private practice. In 2010 he commenced work at Charles Sturt University; he was a lecturer in Small Animal Surgery, Referral surgeon at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and from 2012-2015 Superintendent of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. At CSU he also supervised the research projects of 3 honours students and was involved in research supervised by Prof Glenn Edwards covering some aspects of arterial stenting, bone healing and the urinary tract.

In December 2015 Peter left his full-time position at CSU to allow more time to pursue his many exciting hobbies, including karate and trekking at altitude.

Peter started training for karate at a relatively late age, and now is a 3rd Dan. In 1997 he competed with 1750 other martial arts competitors at the Karate world championships in Okinawa, which many consider to be the birthplace of karate.

Peter has a love hate relationship with cold temperatures and high altitudes! He’s experienced the highs (quite literally!) and lows of his exciting pursuits.

He has trekked in Nepal on 3 occasions. In 2006 his second trek in Nepal was organized to celebrate his son’s 21st Birthday; that expedition successfully reached beyond base camp. Conditions were not as favourable on his 3rd trek in 2013. He was almost blown off the mountain at 4500m on the way to Mera Peak and had to retreat to lower ground.

Peter has also spent some time in the India Himalayas; this trip in 2008 involved 2 weeks volunteering for Vets Beyond Borders performing desexing on local dogs.

He was really excited to be a volunteer vet at the iconic Iditarod Dog sled Race in Alaska March 2018, and had successfully progressed through the pre-race training, but alas, succumbed to cold induced asthma 2 days into the race. He had never suffered from asthma before!

Peter is a classic example of someone who doesn’t stress when things don’t go to plan; he just gets on with it.

Dr Geraldine Gorman hails from Dublin, Ireland, and graduated with a Master of Veterinary medicine from University College Dublin in 1984. Geraldine gained her Membership of Australian and NZ College of Veterinary Scientists in small animal dentistry and oral surgery in 2010, and now spends much of her time seeing veterinary dental cases. She worked in NZ for 17 years, then moved to Australia in 2017 and now works at James Street Veterinary Hospital in Beenleigh, an outer southern suburb of Brisbane. Geraldine Gorman 1

Geraldine cannot remember ever wanting to be anything other than a vet but originally it was going to be a horse vet as she’s a horse fanatic, played polocrosse, and loved competitive trail riding. However, she found that she was incompatible with most horse owners and Geraldine ended up in small animal practice. The dentistry interest evolved from her feeling of being completely useless at dentistry due to lack of education and skills at university. This led her on a quest to master her weakness and she soon became addicted to the work that previously terrified her. In Geraldine’s words: “Know your enemy and it becomes your friend”!

She believes general practitioners would benefit from learning about dental radiographs – “once mastered they change everything”. Other advice for general practitioner vets who’d like to improve their skills in dentistry includes having patience and allowing enough time for the dental procedure ahead, having a good knowledge of the underlying anatomy as well as the pathophysiology of the condition that you are treating, and learning to do good extractions using the correct tools.

To be sure to be sure, Geraldine loves Ireland – it’s where her family is; all 8 of her siblings and her parents are still alive so she goes back as often as she can. But, in Geraldine’s words “the weather in Ireland is bad, very bad actually and it’s easier to be outdoors, active and healthy in the NZ or Australian climate”.

Geraldine has 4 grown up children. NZ is where her children spent most of their early years and one of them is still living there. The family moved to NZ originally in 1994 after a 3 year stay in Zimbabwe. At first they came “just to have a look” and gradually fell in love with the weather, lifestyle and people of NZ. They tried moving back to Ireland at one stage but missed their Kiwi life too much; their children voted to return to the land of the long white cloud. Her children then grew up and moved (mainly to Australia!) so Geraldine and her husband followed in 2017 to make themselves more accessible to visit, and to challenge themselves in their jobs.

Since moving to SE Queensland she’s taken up mountain biking as an alternative to horse riding which is too difficult in suburbia. Days off see her out on her bike or hiking. She’s just spent a week hiking 80 km on Fraser Island with her husband and son. For longer breaks she likes to travel to somewhere that she can hike and experience the wilderness. Her last trip was to Utah, USA where she back-packed in Capitol Reef for 5 days and did a mountain bike tour for another week. She loves road trips; she’s just bought a camper trailer to see a bit more of Australia. Just for something else to add to her adventure and fun packed life, her latest pursuit is rock and roll dancing. She’d promised herself to learn it for years and has finally got around to taking lessons and loves it.

So, from Ireland to New Zealand to Australia, from horse riding to mountain bike riding, hiking and road trips, and now rock and roll dancing, Geraldine lives life and work to the full and is still finding new fun things to do in her spare time.

We think that both Peter and Geraldine have the perfect personality to teach surgery and dentistry respectively at Practical Skills Bootcamp! Come and discover more about Peter and Geraldine at the VetPrac Bootcamp Workshop at CSU on November 8-10, 2018. As well as learning new surgical and dental skills, you might also get to hear about some of their exciting adventure travel experiences!

Dr Peter Young can be contacted on pyoung@csu.edu.au or 0417255886

Dr Geraldine Gorman can be contacted on gg4vet@hotmail.com (preferred option) or 0435830299.

Website:  petdentalvetcom.com

Written by Alison Caiafa

Making A Difference In The Front-line… Meet Dr Vickie Saye

She loves a challenge, especially when it involves using high tech machinery and dealing with critical care patients! But she also loves explaining things, especially when she can use her artistic skills!

Sound unique? Meet the one and only Dr Vickie Saye, Clinical Director, Veterinarian at ARH Canberra – Emergency.

Let’s get to know Vickie a little more.

What inspired you to become a veterinarian and then go onto specialise in emergency and critical care?

The usual ‘I love animals’, fortunately I also liked being a vet!  Drawn to ECC for the types and difficulty of cases.

What is still your biggest challenge with being an emergency medicine clinician?

Dealing with GPs that have a poor appreciation of the work we do, and the high-level skill set that is entailed.

What is it about emergency and critical care that you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the challenge of ECC cases and feeling like you’re making a big difference in the frontline. Also getting to use a lot of the high-tech gadgets like ventilators.  Finally, I enjoy decision making under pressure where it matters if you get it wrong.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

Am moving to Hong Kong next year so trying to figure out where my career will go there. Potentially into biomedical engineering as there is little capacity for me to specialise over there.  Will also investigate a lecturing position at HK university in veterinary medicine.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

Listening to a question, being able to explain the answer simply and clearly, and watching for nonverbal cues that they understand. I really love to explain things, especially if it involves drawing something!

How do you spend your days off?

Reading about GP practice at the moment! Otherwise looking after my elderly dog and my puppy who has hip dysplasia.  Some gaming and hopefully some archery when the weather warms up.

Why not come to Wagga Wagga and meet Dr Vicki Saye at the Practical Skills Bootcamp, November 8-10, 2018. You might even get her to draw something by way of an explanation! But you can be sure that all your questions will be answered in a very clear, simple, practical way. Register today HERE. For more information, check out the brochure.

Contact information: vickie@hallvet.com.au

Written by Alison Caiafa

Passionate About Critical Care Medicine.. Meet Dr Ellie Leister

Meet the girl from the country who has a passion for critical care medicine and adventure, heads the Pet Intensive Care unit at Veterinary Specialist Services in Brisbane, and educates for VetPrac at the Practical Veterinary Skills Bootcamp, Dr Ellie Leister.

What inspired you to become a veterinarian and then go onto specialise in emergency and critical care?

From a very young age I knew I wanted to work with animals, I grew up in rural NSW on a beef cattle property, rode horses all through my childhood, and was surrounded by dogs, cats, guinea pigs, ferrets and wildlife.  I did work experience with Rob Churchill at Crookwell Veterinary Clinic in year 10 of high school and knew that I had found my career. Fortunately, I managed to get through my HSC and gain entry into the University of Sydney Veterinary Science Degree. As a new graduate I was very lucky to have a wonderful start to my career working at The Valley Vet Hospital in Wingham, NSW. From there I ventured overseas to England and worked in the Channel Islands, Norfolk and Wales before settling in Bristol for a few years and turning to the dark side and embracing emergency work. I returned to Australia in 2011 with an itch for something more and stepped into the role of the intensive care veterinarian at Veterinary Specialist Services and Animal Emergency Services in July 2012.  This opportunity opened many more doors and I started a residency in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2015.  Being able to understand the how and why of critical care medicine is what really makes me tick and I hope to keep pushing the boundaries of knowledge and research in the veterinary field for many years to come.

You manage a team of 16 at the Pet Intensive Care unit at Veterinary Specialist Services in Brisbane. What’s the biggest challenge of this management role?

Managing the PICU doesn’t really feel like a challenge.  To me it is a journey that I’m on with the ICU team. We now have a leadership team for the PICU, and are working together to continue to improve the PICU.  Being able to staff a 24/7 hospital is difficult as shift work is tough on staff in the long run. I don’t think there will ever be a perfect solution; we are constantly trying to formulate rosters that are compatible with a reasonable lifestyle.

In your opinion, what makes a great workplace?

In my opinion it is hands down the team of people you work with; everyone contributes in their own way to a great work place.  I truly love going to work.  Every day is different, you never know what is going to come in through those ICU doors.  We have an amazing group of vets, nurses, kennel hands and client care teams.  They are kind and compassionate and we stand by our core values.

What advice would you give new graduates?

Live life! Get some experience. Work in a good mixed practice (or small animal if large/mixed animal practice isn’t even on your radar) and learn how to deal with situations out of your comfort zone when all you have is your work car, some drugs and equipment in the back! Choose your first job carefully and make sure you have a supportive group of vets and nurses around you; use them for a second opinion and allow them to watch you grow.

What’s your most memorable case in your veterinary career so far?

There are multiple… A couple that jump to mind are little Cleo and TJ.

Cleo was a 2-year-old French bulldog owned by a lovely vet.  She had 1A tick paralysis, aspirated a large amount of vomit and deteriorated acutely. She developed severe aspiration pneumonia requiring 10 days of mechanical ventilation, became septic and developed acute respiratory distress syndrome. Just when we thought we had her out of danger she re-presented with respiratory distress and multiple tracheal strictures at the sight of her tracheostomy and thoracic inlet.  We sought advice from a human paediatric specialist and a veterinary specialist from UC Davis.  We balloon dilated her trachea multiple times before placing an intra luminal stent under fluoroscopy with the Veterinary Specialist Services team.  Unfortunately, she then strictured through the stent and we placed a covered stent within the original stent.  Sadly, a few months later she strictured proximally to the stents and the decision was made to say goodbye.

TJ is another French bulldog case. He was bottle fed and aspirated a large amount of milk at 10 days of age. He ended up in the ICU on IVFT, antibiotics and oxygen supplementation.  He deteriorated and suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest.  In the absence of resuscitation orders, we automatically started CPR.  The ICU nurse intubated him with a 14-gauge catheter, he was given adrenaline and atropine and we achieved return of circulation within one round of CPR.  I called the owner to advise him of the acute deterioration and that he should come down to make decisions, thinking that we would be euthanising TJ.  When the owner arrived, he asked me if there was anything we could do.  I looked up at the large critical care ventilator then back down at the 300gm puppy and said, “I guess we can try and ventilate him”.  I had never put anything that small on a ventilator.  With the 24/7 nursing care of the ICU team TJ lived and made it home to a very caring family.

How do you spend your days off?

True days off are spent with friends doing anything adventurous. Other days off are spent catching up on life, study, gym and watching the world go by with my little sphynx cats!

You can meet Dr Ellie Leister and share her passion for critical care medicine at the VetPrac Practical Skills Bootcamp workshop on November 8-10, 2018 at CSU. To find out more information, check out the brochure. If you’re interested in attending head to this page here!

Ellie can be contacted at eleister@peticu.com.au or 0439606810; the Pet ICU website is coming shortly.

Written by Alison Caiafa

Faced With Demanding, Kooky or Different Clients?

Dear Colleagues,

So many of us take calls from clients who become “John’s clients” or “Cathy’s clients” or “Nicole’s clients”. These are people who are sometimes demanding or kooky or different… And so many of us get frustrated with our work colleagues for a million different reasons and find ourselves worrying if we gave the right advice or made the right decision for our patients. And even if you feel you’re doing all the right things you might get complaints about stuff internally from staff or from clients.

Experiencing these things or feeling this way doesn’t mean we dislike any of these people or that we disrespect them. It doesn’t mean we don’t know how to do our job either. It’s a signalment of misunderstanding that comes from never having learned about ethics, values and communication in a detailed manner. It does NOT mean you are unethical, or have bad judgment, communication or ethical standards. It means there are differences, which might not be able to be shared or considered due to time constraints, the workplace environment or the relationship you have with the person and situation that is difficult. Or perhaps you have never considered the differences that make your clinical encounters difficult?

These are the things which fuel conversations on social media networks. These are the issues which commonly land us in front of the registration boards and lead to sleepless nights. Sure there are others too… but these difficult clinical encounters are the most common. And the easiest to rectify.

If you can make it to Rose Bay, Sydney on October 15-17th for the Navigating Difficult Clinical Encounters Seminar, you will revise the evidence and understanding behind:

How values influence decision making
Skills in setting expectations
The best way to stage diagnostics
Client, employee and clinic perspectives
Communication styles
Considerations in euthanasia
Handling complaints
The “What would you do?” question

You will develop skills in:

To understand the client’s mindset and its influence on carers
to build rapport, confidence and trust with client.
To recover from a bad start
Facts about trash talking
The ethics of decision making
About the complex nature of animal welfare vs client confidentially vs employment loyalty
How to navigate cost vs welfare consideration
The benefits of repetition
How guilt affects communication
Evidence about effective communication strategies
How to navigate difficult clinical encounters effectively

The idea that gaining these skills through evidence-based information, provided to you by specialists in their fields could dramatically improve your life might seem unfathomable. But I have been sitting with these women and listening to them discuss the elements of the workshop for almost a year. They are exciting, passionate and so incredibly helpful it will blow your mind.

Navigating Difficult Clinical Encounters is open to everyone and will really reduce headaches we all get from difficult clinical encounters.The point of the program is to help us make better clinical decisions. There is good evidence that our moral judgement, our communication techniques and our well being influences our clinical decision making even more than our scientific training in veterinary science. And that there is significant influence by all people involved in the care of a pet.

This training program addresses this, not by just telling us what we should be doing, but by teaching us HOW to do it better.

We all want to go to work happy and come home happy. The best way to do this is when we are able to express and practice our values when caring for a pet. But when we can’t because we are not the only ones involved in the decisions of care for the animals we treat, then we need good skills to protect our patients, ourselves and our colleagues from pain.


Ilana Mendels

When I Sold My Vet Business to Corporate

The personal experience of a dedicated veterinary practice owner

By Anonymous

So you’ve toiled away for 20 years and built the practice to be busy, and at times, a chaotic business. You’ve purchased rental properties with the income and financially supported your family (if your partner has stuck around and raised the kids by themselves). You’ve tried to sneak away for short holidays with the family (especially when the kids were little),  but every second year the vet that you thought was good enough to finally able to leave for a day or two alone to run the clinic, has left again. And the job advert has only resulted in two applicants, neither of which are ideal, so it’s back to you and the part-time vet.

Your partner is always talking about you slowing down and now your long time nurse is having a family and leaving. And the two vets you have previously spoken to aren’t at all interested in buying into the business. Reason given: “why would I want to work as hard as you?”.

So, you’re a bit down. But you “are what you do”. You’re a good vet, maybe not a specialist, but you have great clients, many of which you regard as friends, and the team is great. And you like what you do every day – speying cats is relaxing!

You start to think about selling the business, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone to sell it to.  And you don’t want to be like the GPs who just walk away because they can’t sell their practice. But all the other professionals (dentists and some Drs) are selling to corporates or merging.

And so it begins!

Initially, the purchase offer looks amazing – I mean no-one would pay that for the practice other than a corporate. And they’ll give you access to technology, other human resources support, potential bonuses, time off, nice salary, and you only have to stay for two years and get the final 30% of the sale price if you maintain the profit level, which is a given especially considering their buying power and economics of scale, right?

So after some extremely stressful weeks providing every detail to the potential purchaser and stressful times while they do stocktakes and put in place new computers and software, the day finally comes for the takeover. But you are so fed up you are seriously thinking of pulling the pin on it, however you are so far down the track that you go ahead.

The money (70%) goes into your account, which you then you give to the investment company to invest in whatever manner they think is ok. Your life is changed. You are free, relaxed and have so much time off you don’t know what to do with it. Your family will be miraculously pleased to see you and you will be booking holidays to all sorts of places – wrong! Nothing has changed!

vet business

You didn’t really think how this would change your life other than the lump sum and now it seems to be more stress and less income. And there still aren’t any more vets around so time off is still difficult.

You aren’t more relaxed. You have to email a corporate office to question simple things like stock ordering or marketing decisions and plans. NO-one in support offices will answer their phone.

Some might say that you obviously aren’t adjusting to not being in control. But that’s not it, it’s because you are still left to manage the day to day business and every aspect of being a vet. The main devastating problem is:  your project isn’t yours anymore.

Small business owners, and especially vets that have worked in their own business for a reasonable length of time, are motivated busy people that are generally “active relaxers” as well. Slowing down is sometimes MORE stressful. Those employment HR issues, managing the team, stressful cases where you don’t know what’s wrong with the patient , paying bills, or keeping costs down are actually stimulating albeit stressful. Take some of that away and you are bored, stressed and frustrated!

So you go on CPD course and maybe study. But then you have to apply via the corporate and will probably be bonded for another 1-2 years.

Before you sell a veterinary practice consider the following points: 

1. DON’T just think that you want to sell the business to be free.
DO think about what you want to achieve.

Maybe you could achieve the same financial reward by working in your business for another 5 years, and at that point it would be ok to walk away or try and sell it outright for less. That’s pretty much what the purchase price the corporate paid you was worked out on – multiplier of 5. And in 5 years your might be more organised to walk away as you have a plan or project to go to. Maybe locums, maybe property of some sort, maybe travel then locums.

2. DO have a plan!

Think of what you would do if you had 6 months off right now, and then what you would do after that, including financial considerations. Aren’t you too young to stop working altogether? Do you really want to do locums or work in another practice? Could you cope with that?

3. DO REMEMBER that the sale includes a RESTRAINT of TRADE.

Research this carefully. When does it start, and for how long, and for what area/s. You can’t just start again after the two years that they bond you to the business for. You will have to move if you want to start again.

NEXT, consider the final pay out:

What were you thinking?

This was supposed to be an uplifting experience for the business and yourself. You finally get the final payout sorted out and then you have to decide what you want to do. Remembering you have a restraint of trade, and a family, and yourself to support for quite a few more years.

Do you stay on? Do you hire locums? Do you apply for industry jobs?

The decision making is huge!

The financial reward in no way compensates for the emotional and life turmoil the sale of your business can create. And the financial reward is a one hit wonder – you’ve got a lot of years to go. 

You actually get a huge positive reward from being a vet every day and the human contact with your team and your clients. Taking this away may not be a solution to the chronic tiredness you may feel at times or the chronic apparent stresses. (Joining a well-being program might be a good idea) There may be more alternatives than “ditching”. Somehow, achieving the impossible and finding a good locum for two weeks (no matter what the cost) may be all you need on a regular basis.

If you are 50-60 and thinking of selling, I hope this helps in some way to stimulate some discussion and thought. It’s not all bad – sure you get to realise in financial terms your input in creating a successful business but what next?

If you’re looking to retire from your business, or perhaps you’re looking to become your own boss, VetPrac are hosting a seminar with Practice Sales Search on how to sell your practice and how to purchase a practice. If you’re thinking of making any changes, it’s highly recommended you attend so that you have the right information and support to make the right moves. These practical information days explain the red tape, planning, and considerations you will want to know before you jump into an expensive and legally binding contract. For more information head HERE.

Help ‘Em Up Harness

The Help ‘Em Up® Harness was created by Blue Dog Designs in 2005 and is the first full-body lifting device for dogs with impaired mobility and strength.  When dogs have difficulty moving because of muscle weakness, neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions, injuries, or surgical repairs, the Help ‘Em Up Harness provides them with the extra help up they need to live active and healthy lives.

Two things make the Help ‘Em Up Harness truly unique:  its patented Hip-lift and complete comfort design.  The Help ‘Em Up puts a handle over the hips and one over the shoulders to let you safely and gently lift from under the chest and hips — no wrapping around joints or tendons like many other harnesses, so you’re helping, not hindering.

It’s safe and comfortable so you can leave it on for extended periods of time! This makes it quick and easy for you to grab the handles on the harness and help your canine patients get up and out to rehabilitate, along with overcoming the daily obstacles of aging and getting around.helpemumharnessp2

Veterinarians, nurses, and rehab therapists that use the Help ‘Em Up in their practices have found that they can lift and move their patients quickly and comfortably with this unique harness.  And just as important, many report they like it because it minimizes their own injuries, especially their lower backs from the stress of moving and lifting patients.  This is an added benefit for your practice.

Read the reviews and watch demo videos on the website at helpemup.com.  They offer industry discounted pricing for practices who want to carry the harness and/or can provide you with brochures if you simply want to refer your patients for a Help ‘Em Up Harness.

Embracing Dentistry… Meet Dr Christine Hawke

Do you hate dentistry? Do you hide when a dental comes through the front door at your clinic? Read on to learn how you can transform yourself into a vet with a passion for dentistry!

Many children have dreams of becoming a vet when they grow up; not many of them have the same childhood view of veterinary science once they are qualified vets! Except for Dr Christine Hawke- a love of animals (of course), a love of mysteries, and a love of helping animals seemed to make veterinary science the perfect career choice for Christine. She still holds the same simplistic childhood view of veterinary science and loves that she can instantly help her patients feel better using her veterinary dental skills. She never intended to become a dental vet (she is not a specialist but has limited her practice to this for over a decade now) – she originally wanted to be a feline medicine specialist but got sidetracked along the way and fell into dentistry. Christine is a great teacher, and her fun approachable attitude makes learning new veterinary dental skills seem like child’s play.

VetPrac looks forward to sharing some of Dr Christine Hawke’s problem-solving prowess at the Practical Skills Bootcamp Workshop on November 8-10, 2018.

I recently interviewed Christine to find out a little more about her life outside of veterinary dental practice, as well as get a few tips on getting started in dentistry.

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

I never seriously considered anything else, but loved creative writing as a child, and always figured I’d write books on the side. I recently started writing fiction again so who knows?

Cats or dogs – which are your favourite to treat?

That’s like asking me which of my kids is my favourite!!! I love treating any animal that isn’t trying to bite me at the time.

What’s your advice for vets who don’t feel confident assessing the dental health status of dogs and cats and aren’t comfortable performing basic dental procedures? What’s the best way of improving their veterinary dental skill set?

If you don’t feel confident in your dental skills, that’s okay – I was the same! When I went through uni, we really didn’t get any training in dentistry. For the first half of my career, I hated dentistry with a passion, simply because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was also not a natural surgeon, so there’s hope for everyone.

Given dental and periodontal issues are the most common welfare problem we face in small animal practice, if you work with cats and dogs you are not going to be able to escape dentistry (I used to try and avoid it, by literally hiding when dentals were booked in!). The best thing you can do for both yourself and your patients is to embrace dentistry, take the plunge, and learn about it. The basic skills can be learnt relatively quickly, and you have so many opportunities to practice (like every single day of your life, the cases never dry up!!). There is no substitute for hands-on learning, so if you can get to a wet lab, get the basics, practice every day, and then, you never know – you might end up addicted like me.

Do you have any tips for convincing pet owners of the importance of regular dental checkups and home care routines?

I think the message is getting out there more over the past decade or so – more owners seem open to the idea of caring for their pets’ teeth.

I often remind them that we brush and floss every day, and still need to see our dentists every year or so (or even more frequently if you are dentally-obsessed like me and read dental text books and know what can go wrong!). Pets are living longer now than ever before, so, although in the wild they only needed to keep their teeth for a handful of years, if we want them to have healthy teeth into their teens we need to actively care for them, as we do our own.

Once a pet has had oral disease, getting owners to maintain a healthy mouth after treatment is generally easier, as they want to avoid further extractions. It’s not just about the money, or the end result (loss of teeth), but the slow process of infection and inflammation over months and years that leads to the damage. They have infection and discomfort every hour of every day of every week for months, or years. Once owners realise this, they become motivated to avoid this by becoming more actively involved in their pets’ oral care.

Are you currently working on any research projects?

I’m helping on a project looking at caliciviral infection in cats with gingivostomatitis. My role is just sample collection; there are much smarter people doing the rest. Excited to see what comes out of it, as this disease is so debilitating for our feline patients.

How do you spend your days off?

Hanging out with my family and friends. Reading really good fiction. Writing when I get the chance. Planning our next travel adventure. Throwing the ball to my ball-obsessed dog (really, it takes up a lot of the day!).

To learn more about dentistry from Christine in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, register for the VetPrac Practical Skills Bootcamp Workshop. For more information, check out the brochure here.

Contact information: Dr Christine Hawke, Sydney Pet Dentistry
Email address: Christine@sydneypetdentistry.com.au
Phone:  1300 838 336 or 0408 782 611
Website:  www.sydneypetdentistry.com.au


Written by Alison Caiafa

Emergency Veterinarian and Practice Manager.. Meet Dr Adrian Simon

He’s been in the veterinary industry since he was 15 years old, and loves treating 100% sick animals- meet Dr Adrian Simon, practice manager and emergency veterinarian at Eastside Veterinary Emergency.

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

“Who knows! I have been in the veterinary industry since I was 15 years old! I have almost done nothing but this. I do sometimes wonder about architecture…”

What is it about emergency and critical care that you enjoy the most?

“I love seeing 100% sick animals. That sounds odd perhaps, but I got into veterinary medicine to treat sick animals, and every one that walks (or is carried!) through our doors are sick. Often critically so. I love being about to think and problem solve on my feet and, with luck, work out what is going on and then give my patients the best chance (even when their chances are not very good). I also have learnt to enjoy helping owners through this process and making it a little less scary and more understandable for them.”

Any advice for new grads?  What about general practitioners that wish to pursue further education in emergency and critical care?

“Advice for new grads. Don’t settle. Find a good workplace with supportive colleagues and a great mentor. There seems to be a lot of truth to the adage that your first job makes you or breaks you. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t and you are far better moving on to find a workplace that fits you.

For GPs wanting to pursue further education in ECC, take a CE course, but do it in combination with doing work experience. There is no substitute for experience. Find a job or just spend time doing work placement in a supportive ECC practice”.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

“Everywhere! It is one of my goals! I am 35 countries down so only have about 160 to go! I love seeing different cultures and the natural beauty the world has to offer”.

Do you have any pets?

“Yes! I have a cat called Ayam. He is a white domestic shorthair that shows his love by biting my nose when I am sleeping. At least that is what I tell myself”.

How do you spend your days off?

“What are days off!? If I can get a few days in a row I like to get out of town and head away to somewhere quiet and out of the city and enjoy some solitude”.

Come and share Adrian’s passion for all things emergency at the Practical Veterinary Skills Bootcamp workshop at Wagga Wagga on November 8-10, 2018. Register TODAY – only 9 places left!

Contact information:
Dr Adrian Simon
Website:  www.sydneyvetspecialists.com.au

Written by Alison Caiafa

Planes, Trains and Automobiles… Or is it….

No, not the movie and I promise John Candy won’t be sharing his stories today. This is simply a helping hand from VetPrac to make your travels a little less stressful.Planes, trains and automobiles

A few weeks ago, as I was traveling on other business, I had the opportunity to test out the travel routes to our upcoming Navigating Difficult Clinical Encounters Conference. Having never been a city girl, coming to Sydney for the first time since I was 16, I honestly felt a little nervous. No one wants to get on the wrong bus or miss a stop and end up who knows where. So, it is understandable to feel uneasy about travel.

journey in sydneyThankfully, these days with the maps and apps on our phones it is much easier. I was always told to plan for the worst and hope for the best, so with my comfy shoes on I set off… At the airport it was fairly simple, there are heaps of signs around and staff to help if you are unsure how to get to the airport train.  In Sydney they use a pre-paid card system (like most other states) called OPAL. You can order your very own OPAL (card, sorry not the gem) online or by calling 136725 and it will be delivered anywhere around Australia free within five to seven working days. Otherwise, there is a booth at the train station where you can obtain your own card or a single trip ticket (which is only for the train and ferries, so you will need a proper card for the Bus).

The trains in Sydney are much bigger than ours in Brissy, so it was interesting to see the double-decker carriage set up. It took about 10min to get to Town Hall Station, then it was up a flight of stairs to street level. Having about 10min before the bus arrives, it is not a far walk and you can take a minute to soak up the history and beautiful architecture that is Town Hall.  A block and a half down Park Street you’ll need to wait at Stand G for the 324 or 325 bus. Tapping your card as you enter, the drivers are really nice and you can ask them if they can stop at New South Head Rd at Wunulla Rd, Point Piper or track it on the Moovit App. But everyone needs a backup, so if you reach the water view, hit that stop call button quick and get off here…….

Heading back to Wunulla Rd, after approximately an 8 minute walk, the Royal Motor Yacht Club can be found on your right. This beautiful pristine setting will be where we will be spending three days (depending on your registration).

Perhaps you share the same view as Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, and you don’t want the put your bus pants back on at the end of the day. So, hopping onto a ferry might suit you better. It is a lovely 25min walk along the Harbour to the Rose Bay terminal. The F4 crosses the Harbour every 30min and takes you right into North Quay. Perfect location for catching the afternoon and reflecting on the day.

We hope to see your beautiful face there! Check out the details of the conference HERE. If you’d like to register click HERE, places are filling quickly.

Written by Janine Irwin

Dr Tania Banks at Wagga Wagga CSU

Last time we featured Dr Tania Banks in our VetPrac blog she was about to relocate from UQ in Gatton to CSU in Wagga Wagga, rural NSW. Let’s hear from Tania about how life and work have changed since the move.

You were looking forward to living close to the gym and being able to ride your bike to work. What other aspects of life in Wagga Wagga are you enjoying?

I haven’t ridden my bike to work yet! BUT I do ride it on weekends sometimes and it’s really nice having the local mountain Pomingalarna to ride around. It’s very nice not having to look for a car park, and I haven’t had to pay to park my car anywhere since moving to Wagga which is a nice change. I also love walking my dog and take her to the botanic gardens a lot. They are beautiful gardens and she loves going there.

Is the demographic of the veterinary students at CSU different compared with UQ?

Yes, there are more male students which I think is a good thing. The students are very practically capable rural types.

Is there a significantly different surgical case mix at CSU compared with UQ Gatton?

Yes, we see lots of grass seed foreign body cases which can be very interesting and challenging. Also, a lot of working dog injuries- kicked by a cow, fell off a ute, that sort of thing.

Please share with us an interesting feline surgical case you’ve had recently at CSU.

We had a primary peritonitis in a cat that grew Actinomyces spp. and is going well post-op. No source for the peritonitis was found, and treatment was abdominal lavage, biopsies, and closure. Interesting case. Also, they see heaps of snake bite cats here, and they generally do really well.

Are you working on any research projects at the moment?

No, I am on full-time clinics at the moment.

If you’d like to experience the beautiful gardens and the laid back atmosphere of Wagga Wagga, as well as learn more about abdominal surgery from the very talented and approachable educator and surgeon Dr Tania Banks, why not register for the Practical Skills Workshop p at CSU on November 8-10th, 2018. For more information check out the brochure here.

Written by Alison Caiafa