Anaesthesia and the Geriatric Patient [video]

There’s still time to register for our next “Learn with Margie” Zoom Rounds. Join Margie at 7.30pm EST on Wednesday 8th April 2020. We’ll kick things off with a brief presentation and then we’ll open the floor for a group discussion about the Geriatric Patients.

We hope you can join us!


💡 The next topic is: Geriatric Anaesthesia

🗓 Wednesday 8th April from 7.30pm EST

📍 Online in a private zoom meeting


🚨 Places are limited so register now to secure your spot!

⬇️ Check out Margie’s latest vlog.

First ‘Learn with Margie’ Zoom Rounds a great success

Well we are off and zooming with our first “Learn with Margie” Zoom Rounds last night!

We had an excellent turnout with a diverse group of veterinarians, technicians and nurses from Australia and New Zealand, with incredible knowledge and experience. There were excellent questions posed and lots of robust discussion which included evidence from the literature as well as the benefit of experience. I was impressed with the group’s engagement and willingness to contribute to the discussion.

What I learned! That zoom participants, including me 😉, should mute their microphones when someone else is talking!! We would have all heard everything much better. I also learned that I have muting and unmuting powers as the host! With Zoom there was a natural lag in speaking and hearing, plus the time to mute/un-mute ourselves and the active “chat feed” running off to the side with energised conversation, meant my multi-tasking skills were really put to the test. Ultimately what I learned is that it’s Ok to go a bit slower, and it’s good for me! I really appreciate this and will learn to manage a space that isn’t quite as responsive as face-to-face small group discussion, and under the circumstances is a really good thing and allows us to share our experience.

Slowing down and smelling the roses has been one very positive thing for me during this isolation time. In a time and space when it feels like there is very little that is positive to dwell on, I will take the small things and appreciate them.

Back to our Zoom Rounds last night!

I think this medium lends itself to topics for discussion with a short PowerPoint out front, followed by a clinical case discussion where people can share ideas and experiences and knowledge. Again, this would be ideal for bringing cases associated with the topic to the table for discussion in a safe space.

And I am very excited to plan this and provide notes ahead of the Zoom rounds, for us to reference and apply the evidence. We are already onto planning next week’s Zoom rounds focusing on the Geriatric Anaesthesia. So, keep an eye open for when registrations open.

I was thrilled that so many veterinary technicians and nurses joined the discussion and their contribution was impressive too. We are hatching ideas and plans for technician and nurse continuing education all the time, because you are integral part of the clinical team and it is so good to work with you.

Signing off, I’m Margie McEwen and I am passionate about being on a journey of Lifelong Learning and I would love you to join me!


Registrations are open for the next Zoom Round on Wednesday 8th April.
Places are limited so click here to reserve your place


Dr Margie McEwen invites you to a FREE VetPrac Zoom Rounds Q&A

Join Margie in a weekly Zoom Rounds Q&A from April 1st 2020, and our first one is FREE!

This opportunity is for veterinarians, technicians & nurses, and students, to collaborate and share ideas for clinical anaesthesia practice.

Watch the video for a very special message from Margie and scroll down to register.

We wish you the best of health.



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Important ATO advice for small business owners

It’s been an unsettling couple of weeks in Australia and as we begin to understand where we stand and what we have to do in our daily lives, we start to think about our family and business. There is a lot of information circulating on social media, emails and websites. It can get quite overwhelming at times. We have to pulled together the current and reliable information to try and help shine some light on the business support measures being offered.

The Australian Government has announced a range of measures to support small to medium businesses with cash flow and to help retain employees in this challenging climate.

~ Prepared by Roslyn Sheen, VetPrac Bookkeeping


Boosting cash flow for employers


The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will provide up to $25,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible business. The payment will provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses that employ staff. The payment will be tax free.


Small and medium business entities with an annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will be eligible.

Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a credit equal to 50% of the amount withheld up to a maximum of $25,000.

Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $2,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.

This is available on a limited number of Activity Statements:
~ Quarter 3 (January, February & March 2020). Lodgement date: 28th April 2020
~ Quarter 4 (April, May & June 2020). Lodgement date: 28th July 2020

The payment will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office as a credit in the Activity Statement system from 28th April 2020 upon businesses lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.

Businesses that lodge monthly instead of quarterly will receive their refund for March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgements automatiucally within 14 days of lodgement pending qualifying criteria.


By reducing the amount businesses need to pay on their quarterly BAS, the ATO are providing assistance to business owners to support operation and employment in this vital section of our community.


ATO Leniency
Perhaps more time to pay your tax obligations can help….
The government is also offering administrative relief for certain tax obligations, including deferring payments up to four months. This is worked out on a case-by-case basis and you will need to contact the ATO directly.


Supporting apprentices and trainees

Do you have an apprentice or trainee in your business?

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1st January to 30th September 2020. Businesses can be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice.


Delivering support for business investment

Upgrades to equipment or planning for your team to work from home

The instant asset write-off will be increased from $30,000 to $150,000. This higher threshold is in place from 12th March until 30th June 2020 and applies to new or second-hand assets installed in businesses during these dates. This can certainly help if your business is planning to upgrade assets and is concerned about outlays vs return at this time.


We hope that this information can provide some support moving forward. Below are some links to reliable references where you can get more information and advice if needed. As a community, VetPrac is here to support you wherever we can. It certainly makes me smile to see how many clinics are adapting to this current climate in order to overcome the considerable hurdles, with the ultimate goal to still give clients and pets the best possible care. Good on Ya’ 😀


Australian Government: The Treasury

Australia Government:



VetPrac COVID-19 Policy

Dear VetPrac Community,

In light of the daily changes in government policies on COVID-19 I want to reach out to our amazing VetPrac Community and update you regarding our policy for workshops and refunds.

Here at VetPrac we have decided to work in a positive space and plan for the global situation to stabilise soon. As such we are planning to continue with our excellent educational workshops in 2020.

On the flip side we do have to be realistic as we plan for the rest of the year, and we have decided, for the short term, to alter the current Terms and Conditions. Please know that “fees are refundable for cancellations provided the cancellation is made in writing to VetPrac at least 30 days (previously 45 days) prior to the commencement date of the Training Course”.

If a workshop is not able to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be in touch with you immediately and the outcome will be one of the following:

1.The workshop will be postponed, and we can do one of the following:

a) Hold your funds for when the workshop is rescheduled

b) Refund your money minus credit card processing fee if the new date does not suit.

2.The workshop will be cancelled, and you will receive a refund minus the credit card processing fee.

Our philosophy is to help people learn and to run our workshops, so cancelling will indeed be the last option.

As things are changing on a daily basis, I am observing the reactions of panic and fear in our society and around the globe and feel this is exacerbating the situation. So, this is a heartfelt request to urge you to stay calm and not make any decisions until we know more.

If people cancel and the situation resolves, we may not be able to run our workshops due to low numbers. Please trust that I will honour my commitment to be in communication with you as changes occur, and to provide refunds where COVID-19 restrictions prevent a workshop from taking place.

Overall, I want to reassure all of our amazing VetPrac Community that we are here for you. We are looking towards a positive future and to the time when we’ll look back on the COVID-19 pandemic as a thing of the past, with a low risk for infection in our communities, with treatments available and a vaccine to protect us.

Please contact me via email, phone 0409 743 100, or text if you have any more questions.

Please stay safe and healthy
With warm wishes, always






Vet Tips for Patella & Stifle Surgery

We’re looking forward to VetPrac’s Patella & Stifle Surgery workshop at the University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, in June. Have you booked your place yet?

Join Dr John Punke, Dr Peter Young and Dr Bruce Smith at this practical hands-on workshop to develop your skills and practice modern techniques in cruciate repair.

Dr Punke has kindly developed these tips for us to share with you. Be sure to register to join us in June for more tips and expert advice regarding Patella & Stifle Surgery. We hope to see you there!

Tip 1

Tibial tuberosity transposition (TTT) is the most important and nerve-wracking procedure to perform in the majority of medial patellar luxation cases. Indeed, failure to perform this procedure is the most common cause of surgical failure. Build confidence through our specialist’s practical tips and tricks created from years of experience.


Tip 2

Dogs with medial patella luxation (MPL) have been shown to have an INCREASED risk of rupturing their cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).  MPL surgery earlier in life can minimize osteoarthritis and protect the CCL long term resulting in a happier and healthier patient.


Tip 3

There is very much an art to performing surgery for MPL. The trochlear wedge recession and a more recent modification, the trochlear block recession technique, both allow elevation of the articular cartilage in the trochlear groove, deepening of the groove, and replacement of the cartilage. As there are no fixations, simply the pressure of the patellar to hold in the newly formed piece of cartilage, the success of the procedure relies upon the surgeons fine carving skills. With the support of highly skilled specialist surgeons and real tissues, you can hone your carving skills for better patient outcomes.


Register now to secure your place in the Patella & Stifle Surgery workshop. Dr John Punke, Dr Peter Young & Dr Bruce Smith will be on hand to guide you through the intricacies of this focused arthroplasty workshop. Registrations are limited so we recommend you book now to avoid missing out!

What is a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist?

Dr Kirsten Kirkby-Shaw explains the role of canine rehabilitation therapists and how their examination techniques differ to veterinary practitioners. Check out video featuring Dr Kirkby-Shaw and Dr Ilana Mendels.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more of our awesome videos.



Join Dr Kirsten Kirkby-Shaw and the wonderful team from Canine Rehabilitation Institute for Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation.

Participants will gain a fundamental understanding of canine anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. Build relevant structures on canine skeletons using clay, and get hands-on experience palpating live dogs. Common orthopaedic and neurological disorders of the canine patient are covered including both conservative and surgical treatment options. Canine rehabilitation modalities including traditional physical therapy and integrative therapies are introduced, as well as ways they can be incorporated into a veterinary practice.

This workshop is open to veterinarians, physiotherapists, vet nurses and technicians. Vet nurses/technicians must submit an employer letter indicating they work with a veterinarian or physical therapist certified in canine rehabilitation or registered for this workshop.

Click here to register for this workshop or download the brochure for more information.


B. Braun Disinfectant is active against Coronavirus

With the global outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) it’s easy to be confused about the dos, don’ts, and best practices to avoid this respiratory illness due to the overabundance of reports and social media innuendo.

B. Braun is to the rescue! A recent statement released by Andreas Arndt (Head of Research & Development, B. Braun) and Michel Mathys (International Product Manager, B. Braun) advises the hand disinfectants Softa-Man® and Softa-Man® ViscoRub are active against enveloped viruses including those from the Coronaviridae family such as COVID-19.


What is Softa-Man®?
Softa-Man® is a hand disinfectant suitable for frequent and long term use. The unique two alcohol solution is so effective, it’s also an approved surgical hand disinfectant. The product is available in liquid or gel form with sizes ranging from 100ml (ideal for carry in medical pouches) through to 1000ml that can be wall mounted in reception or surgical prep areas.


Is Softa-Man® gentle for frequent use?
Softa-Man® is suitable for frequent and long term use. The liquid and gel products are free of colourants, contain hypoallergenic perfumes, and they contain emollients dessigned to protect the skin while making the epidermal layers of the skin softer and more pliable.


Where can I purchase Softa-Man®?
Contact B. Braun with your enquiry. The Australian and New Zealand contact details are available in this brochure.

for product and contact details



Click on the images for more details about these workshops or to book your place.



Air Liquide saves the day

I’d like to share an amazing customer service experience I had in the lead up to our very first workshop for 2020, Laparoscopy: Principles & Practice.

One of the key features of laparoscopy is being able to insufflate the abdomen with medical grade carbon dioxide (CO2) in order to both visualise abdominal structures and operate within the abdomen. On Friday morning, ahead of the practicals which were commencing on Saturday morning, we discovered that the CO2 supply was not compatible with the equipment we were using for the workshop. Within a very short space of time I realised the full impact of not having CO2 for the laparoscopy workshop; it meant no workshop! We already had people flying in from all over Australia and New Zealand for this workshop, so any thoughts of cancelling or offering a second rate “no abdominal gas” version of laparoscopy was completely out of the question.

So, into action I went!
After searching the web for gas cylinder companies, I started making phone calls. I explained our situation in earnest, to numerous gas companies, and Air Liquide was the only company that heard me and immediately committed to helping me. They began with “yes” answers to all my questions and in the spaces in between they kept asking, “how can we help?”. By close of business on Friday afternoon, they had delivered enough CO2 cylinders to ensure that we would not run out. They had, quite literally, saved the day!

Air Liquide is one of those companies who go above and beyond the call of duty. They pulled their local truck driver back into work after she finished work for the week, so that our precious CO2 cylinders would be delivered. By 4:30pm Friday we were all ready to go!

My very first workshop as Director of VetPrac and our first 2020 workshop, Laparoscopy: Principles to Practice, was a huge success! I thank the whole VetPrac team, including educators, facilitators, volunteers and our training partners, and the can-do attitude of the gas cylinder supply company Air Liquide. Amazing!







Nedson the puppy says Nope to Rope

Nedson’s owners enjoyed watching him play with his rope toy but didn’t enjoy the consequences of having to take their puppy to the dentist!

VetPrac thanks Dr Geraldine Gorman for providing this case study.

Geraldine is one of the educators at the VetPrac Practical Skills Bootcamp on April 17-19 at UQ Gatton. This workshop is ideal for veterinarians requiring a refresher course in Dentistry, Abdominal surgery, Animal behaviour, Communication techniques, and so much more! New graduates and veterinarians returning to work after a break are also encouraged to attend.


Fractured deciduous teeth in a puppy

Playing with rope toys was a bad move for puppy Nedson, who ended up with a fractured upper deciduous canine tooth. This was originally not symptomatic, but then Nedson’s face suddenly became swollen and he stopped eating. At this stage his owners sought veterinary advice.

Intra oral examination revealed a painful swelling above the tooth and dental x-rays under general anaesthesia revealed periapical bone lysis.



Local nerve blocks were given, the tooth extracted, and the gingiva sutured closed. The x-ray shows just how close the deciduous tooth root lies to the developing adult tooth, hence the importance of prompt extraction of all broken deciduous teeth. These teeth have very wide pulp canals which leaves them very vulnerable to infection when they get damaged.