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.



View Brochure




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.


Dr Abbie Tipler: An inspirational surgeon

VetPrac is delighted to welcome back Dr Abbie Tipler as an educator at the Fix the Face workshop at UQ Gatton on 2nd-4th October 2020. When Abbie first joined VetPrac as an educator in 2018, she was working as a surgeon in general practice. Since then, she’s taken a giant leap into a small animal surgical residency at Veterinary Specialist Services (VSS), Brisbane.

Meet Dr Abbie Tipler – surgery resident, passionate educator, charity worker, and last but not least, mother of 2 small children. She appears to have mastered the juggling act of professional life with motherhood and even has something left over to give back to the veterinary and general community.

Let’s find out how Abbie manages life as a resident and a mother of 2 young children, and still has time for charity work!

Tell us a little about your residency at VSS and how you’ve adjusted to life as a resident in a very large referral practice.
“Residency life with two little ones is very busy! But I love my job, so this makes the adjustment a lot easier. There were also many skills I picked up in general practice that prepared me for referral practice, such as teamwork, client communication and history taking, so it was less of an adjustment than if I had started straight from veterinary school.”

You must be a very busy woman having young children and doing a residency. Any advice on how to create a good work life balance, and balancing parenting with work?
“Balancing parenting with working requires you to be highly organised and have a lot of support. I am lucky in that my husband has flexible hours and can work from home, so the kids drop off/pick-ups are made easy. Finding the right balance however is extremely challenging. It is something I think any working mother finds tough and I am certainly no exception to this rule!”

What do you enjoy about teaching?
“I absolutely love the thought that I could make a vets’ life easier or inspire them to try something different or learn a new skill.”

Abbie has been involved in several charities such as Pets in the Park, and Elephants Rhinos People.

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with Pets in the Park, we encourage you to watch this interview Abbie did with the co-founder of Pets in the Park, Dr Mark Westman. We challenge you to be inspired to offer your services in the future.


Abbie’s words about the charity:Pets in the Park is a brilliant charity that vets can get involved in, which treats the pets of the homeless. It is a great way to meet other vets in your area that you may not directly work with, and to give back to the less fortunate. I was blown away by how loved these pets are, and how grateful their owners were for our time. It was a great experience.”


Abbie truly is passionate about surgery and education of the veterinary profession, and gives back to the profession and indeed the general community in many ways.

Abbie is looking forward to sharing her passion for surgery with you at the Fix the Face workshop. Registrations for Fix the Face: Brachycephalic and Ear Surgery are open. This practical workshop for veterinarians is proving to be very popular and filling quickly so register now to secure your spot.

Dr Abbie Tipler can be contacted at or on Facebook.

Register now for this workshop with Dr Abbie Tipler, Dr Charles Kuntz, Dr Tania Banks & Dr Kat Crosse. Registrations are limited and filling. 

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.



Dr Peter Young – A world of experience for younger generations

Dr Peter Young is a private practice surgeon and he’s joining the education team at not one but two VetPrac workshops in 2020. These workshops are an opportunity for veterinarians to get hands-on experience under the tutelage of industry experts, such as Dr Peter Young, who has been working in the industry for almost 40 years!

Peter’s career commenced in dairy work before he moved on to general and referral surgical practice in regional NSW. He spent almost a decade as a surgical educator at Charles Sturt University while working as a referral surgeon for their small animal clinic and completing research. He’s now working a shorter week as a general surgeon in Albury and we’re thankful for the opportunity to have him part of our educator teams.

Dr Young will join us on the 17th-19th April for Practical Skills Bootcamp and again in June for the Patella & Stifle Surgery workshop. We look forward to sharing more about Peter over the coming months. Here’s a glimpse of the legend that is Dr Peter Young.


Pete lives life to the full, enjoying competitive karate, trekking in Nepal, and volunteering overseas for Vets Beyond Borders and the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. Last year he travelled to Cape York – I’m sure he’s got plenty of fascinating stories to share from those adventures!

Pete has worked in both private practice and in university settings, as a lecturer, researcher and surgeon. In a university setting he found the case load to be challenging and interesting, however sometimes he found university clinical practice to be frustrating because the bean counters often do not have an appreciation of the clinical needs regarding staff, equipment and the need to do after-hours. He finds private practice to be very rewarding if you are in a supportive well-equipped practice with good professional standards.

When Pete was asked what advice he would give new graduates or those vets are aren’t confident with performing surgery, he cheekily stated “To appreciate that the first 25 chapters of Tobias and Johnson are critical to confidence and success (☹- sorry for that). Work in a supportive practice that will invest in appropriate level of equipment. Don’t let your enthusiasm exceed your ability. Take every opportunity to have mentorship and every case is an opportunity to learn something new.”



Join Dr Peter Young at Practical Skills Bootcamp this 17th-19th April at UQ Gatton. This workshop is suitable for experienced veterinarians in search of a refresher course, new grads, and veterinarians returning to work after a break.

We’ve crammed a lot of information into this 3-day workshop with topics in surgery, dentistry, animal behaviour, communication, and so much more! Seven other educators are joining forces with Dr Young and class size is limited to ensure participants receive the attention required to have them job-fit and able to immediately implement the skills in practice.

Register now for Practical Skills Bootcamp before the workshop fills or download the brochure for more information.



Animal Behaviour Vet Tips

Dr Tracey Henderson and Tracy Irons are directors of Adelaide Veterinary Behaviour Services and we’re looking forward to their fine company at our Practical Skills Bootcamp in April.

Tracey & Tracy are the expert educators in the Animal Behaviour component of Bootcamp with plenty of tips and techniques for interacting with animals to minimise stress to them, the pet owner, and yourself.

They’ve put together these wonderful Vet Tips as a sample of what you can look forward to if you register for Practical Skills Bootcamp.

VET TIP #1:  Safety advice for cat aggression

* DO NOT attempt to handle a cat when it is frightened or aggressive – as you risk injury to yourself
* Cats can remain aroused for 24-48 hours.
* Don’t use punishment to control aggression.
* Prevent the feline from coming into contact with the target of aggression.
* If it is placed in the situation, ensure an escape route.
* When this is impossible – cat should be separated or supervised/controlled (may need to use a harness and a leash).
* Refer refer refer!!! Cat aggression can cause serious injury to people and other animals.


VET TIP #2:  Behavioural  medicine – is it important?

Behaviour problems are the number one reason for the surrender and euthanasia of dogs and cats in Australia. This is a very sad fact that can be reduced by education of vets, vet nurses, pet owners and people involved in the animal industry.

Vets in general practice are often the first port of call for pet owners. Greater than 50% of new puppy owner’s questions at the first visit are about behaviour. Pet owners ‘assume or expect’ that vets know about animal behaviour. It is important for clinic staff to know the basics about behavioural medicine, so they can at least direct owners to the appropriate professional for help.


VET TIP #3:  The “Alpha/dominance” theory

This is a widespread and regularly used behaviour theory. It originates from studies based on wolves, done in the 1940’s. These were the first studies of their kind. These studies were a good start, but later research has essentially disproved most of the findings. So, there is NO SCIENCE supporting this outdated theory. However, the theory is widespread and currently still regularly used by many dog trainers.

Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and wolves (Canis lupus) separated over 12,000 years ago.



Join us at Practical Skills Bootcamp on April 17th-19th 2020 at UQ Gatton. This Bootcamp is suitable for experienced veterinarians requiring a refresher, new grads, and those returning to work. Our expert team of educators will cover topics in Animal Behaviour, Abdominal Surgery, Dentistry, and so much more!



Places are limited and this workshop is proving to be very popular so REGISTER NOW to join Bootcamp or Download the Brochure for more details!