Page 1

APRIL 2018 $6.95 GST INCL.


Pros and cons of couples working together page 22


WORTHY CAUSE How charity work can improve your business Go to page 10

“One of the things we need to do is to improve the profitability of vet businesses.” Dr Paula Parker, AVA president

DISCOUNT DILEMMA How to hold firm with fee structures Turn to page 14



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Shaping the future of animal health

Contents April 2018

Cover story

Calm under pressure


Meet Dr Paula Parker, a Brisbane-born veterinarian who’s now taken on the position as AVA president

News + events

The latest in the veterinary world



Megaoesophagus in dogs confirmed; Tasmania wants more vets on farms, and much more.


Your world Give a little bit


Supporting charity and community groups is worthwhile, but can it improve the business of your practice?

Your business

The perils of discounting


Discounting for veterinary services can take a toll on your clinic’s finances so how do you manage this? 10 top tips when building or renovating


Before you get started on the build, discover the inside tips from veterinarians and designers.


Couples that work



Relationships can be difficult at the best of times so is it a good idea for couples to work together?


Product guide


Check out the AVA 2018 Annual Conference’s talks, workshops, equipment and social events in Brisbane. Tools of the trade


Reviewed by vets around Australia.

Your life

On the grapevine


74 Associate Editor Editor Kerryn Ramsey Kathy Graham

PRACTICE For all editorial or advertising enquiries: Phone (02) 9660 6995 Fax (02) 9518 5600

Art Director John Yates

Digital Director Ann Gordon

Sales Director Adam Cosgrove

Contributors Louise Baxter, James Gallaway, Frank Leggett, Gillian O’Meagher, Heather Vaile

4,878 - CAB audited as at September 2017.


Dr Kate Woods is robust, independent and of strong character—just like the wine she makes.

Vet Practice magazine is published 11 times a year by Engage Media, Suite 3.06, 55 Miller Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009. ABN 50 115 977 421. Views expressed in Vet Practice magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Engage Media. Printed by Webstar.

Commercial Director Mark Brown Editorial Director Rob Johnson


Animals with megaoesophagus can regurgitate their food.

Megaoesophagus alert Following recent confirmed cases of megaoesophagus in dogs, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is advising dog owners with concerns about their dog’s health to seek veterinary advice. AVA president Dr Paula Parker said that megaoesophagus is a syndrome that affects the normal function of an animal’s oesophagus.The oesophagus is a muscular tube that carries food from the mouth through the chest into the stomach. When

an animal has megaoesophagus, the tube becomes distended and food doesn’t move normally towards the stomach. “Animals with megaoesophagus can regurgitate their food and can have difficulty or show reluctance to eat,” Dr Parker explained. “Animals with megaoesophagus are more likely to aspirate or breathe in food or fluid into their lungs and some animals may present with coughing or other changes to their breathing pattern.”

Soothing scents in shelters Dogs stressed by animal shelter life may benefit from soothing classical music and whiffs of lavender. Researchers from the University of Queensland have investigated simple sensory and behavioural interventions that could help manage canine stress and increase the adoptability of dogs in shelters. Researcher Veronica Amaya said the study tested smell and sound stimuli in shelter dogs housed at the RSPCA Queensland Animal Care campus at Wacol. “The study used lavender and classical music as two study treatments, and a third treatment group experienced a synthetic calming

mixture that simulated a natural dogappeasing hormone.” Amaya said animal shelters around the world were receiving an increasing number of dogs who found it difficult to adapt to the shelter setting. “This stressful environment exposes animals to multiple stimuli over which they have no control including unfamiliar feeding and walking routines, and confining them to a small space for long periods of time. “[These] programs can help animals have the most positive experience and increase their chance of being adopted.”


Megaoesophagus in animals is a complex syndrome that occurs due to trauma to the oesophagus or dysfunction of the nerve and muscle that controls movement of the oesophagus. Its treatment depends on the underlying cause of the dysfunction so investigation of this syndrome is important. The AVA has reached out to its members to report any suspected cases of foodrelated illness through the PetFAST system. Visit

Clarification and correction

In the March 2018 issue of Vet Practice, we ran a review on page 43 of REM Systems’ Vetscan VS2 blood machine. The reviewer discussed the gauge of needles used for blood collection, and the manufacturers have pointed out they weren’t necessarily describing best practice. In a statement to Vet Practice, they said: “The recommendation is not to use a smaller gauge needle when collecting samples to avoid compromising the samples. This can cause limitations with some patients. Compromised samples are recommended to spin down and this requires the clinic to have a centrifuge.”

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news New cancer facility for pets A new radiation oncology facility for dogs and cats has officially opened its doors in Sydney, promising to revolutionise the treatment of cancer in pets. The groundbreaking facility, built by the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) in North Ryde, boasts Australia’s first dedicated Veterinary Linear Accelerator with stereotactic capability. “We will be able to save and extend the lives of pets across the country as a result

of this incredible technology,” said SASH managing director Dr Justin Wimpole. “It has taken many years of design, development and delivery and we are proud to have launched such a muchneeded facility for our furry friends.” The central feature of the facility is the new Elekta Synergy Agility Linear Accelerator which is one of the most technologically advanced cancer treating linear accelerators

available. Commonly seen in many human radiation treatment facilities throughout the world, it can provide stereotactic, definitive and palliative radiation treatments all in the one machine. “The beauty of the machine is that it allows us to treat some cancers of very small areas with minimal effects on surrounding normal tissues—and in a shorter period of time to what was previously the case,” Dr Wimpole said.

Researchers at the University of Sydney have uncovered patterns that may be jeopardising the longterm success worldwide of animal breeding programs, which increasingly act as an insurance against

extinction in conservation, and for food security. The meta-analysis, led by the university’s Faculty of Science and published last month in Nature Communications, found captive-born animals had, on average, almost half the

odds of reproductive success compared to their wild-born counterparts in captivity. In aquaculture, the effects were particularly pronounced, although research and conservation programs showed the same trend. The study analysed more than 100 results, from 39 animal studies of 44 diverse species including shrimp, fish, mice, ducks, lemurs and Tasmanian devils. Dr Catherine Grueber, who supervised the study, said the team was surprised at how universal the patterns were. “More than 2000 threatened species rely on successful reproduction through captive breeding programs for conservation alone,” Dr Grueber said. “In order to maintain our food supply, it’s crucial we improve captive breeding. For example, the aquaculture industry is looking at introducing new species for commercialisation.”

Dr Carolyn Hogg working with released captive-born devils on Maria Island in Tasmania.


Lead author, PhD student Kate Farquharson, said the results provide opportunities for improving the longterm success of animal breeding programs. “Our dataset included measurements of lots of different reproductive traits— such as fertility, number of offspring, and timing of reproduction—but found that certain traits, such as offspring weight and mothering ability, seem to be the most strongly affected,” she said. “This provides an opportunity for animal breeding programs, by identifying the areas where improvement could boost sustainability.” Co-author Dr Carolyn Hogg noted the research could be extended by undertaking multi-generational studies. “Identifying limitations as well as opportunities in captive breeding programs across all industries is an urgent priority,” she said.


Breeding trouble for captive-born animals

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news Check out PREgCHECK For Australia’s beef and dairy cattle producers, early and accurate pregnancy testing thanks to PREgCHECK™ is making a marked impact on productivity and farm profits. Cattle veterinarian and president of the Australian Veterinary Association’s cattle group, Dr Alan Guilfoyle, said that with more producers adopting the accredited PREgCHECK™ scheme, a first for the Australian industry, false positives are becoming less frequent and producers are seeing the difference in their production figures and their overall bottom line. “Accuracy is critical to get a good return on your investment—it’s critical for productivity, which affects profitability,” Dr Guilfoyle said. “For example, if you test a cow for pregnancy and receive a false positive, you’ll put it back in the field believing

it’s pregnant when it’s not, and that’s an extra year’s worth of feed. And if the cow is pregnant but tested as empty, it’s pure economic loss.” Better control of the calving cycle also helps producers to segregate according to stage of gestation, leading to better nutritional and grazing management as well as better welfare outcomes. “At the end of the day, accurate pregnancy testing in both dairy and beef cattle will only ever be a win-win for

Wanted: more vets on farms The Tasmanian Division of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is pressing the Liberal state government under Premier Will Hodgman to commit to more vets on farms in order to enhance animal disease surveillance. AVA president Dr Paula Parker said that it’s critical to have veterinarians on farms, especially in rural parts of Tasmania, to enhance biosecurity and disease surveillance and keep Tasmania’s animal industries, healthy, productive and profitable.

“Over the past 20 years, resourcing of government veterinary positions has decreased leaving gaps in the ability of the public sector to deliver biosecurity surveillance data and placing more reliance on private veterinarians to fill these gaps,” Dr Parker said. “We are urging the government to not only recognise the value of veterinarians on farms but also the risks involved by increasingly depending on private veterinarians

to provide animal disease surveillance data.” Veterinarians identify, diagnose, treat and prevent disease in animals every day. The concern is that having fewer veterinarians on farms in Tasmania could leave them vulnerable to a range of biosecurity and animal disease threats. Dr Parker said that while biosecurity is a shared responsibility, a formal partnership framework needs to be implemented to provide greater support and assistance in this area.


producers—the benefits certainly outweigh the costs. It’s a crucial part of sound cattle management,” Dr Guilfoyle said. To meet industry demand for quality assurance in pregnancy diagnosis, the AVA’s cattle group developed PREgCHECK™, the only accredited and audited cattle pregnancy testing scheme in Australia. It is a robust system that has stood the test of time with accreditation standards constantly reviewed or upgraded.

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Most of the work done by Dr Heath’s clinic in India is desexing of street dogs, vaccinating against rabies and dealing with illness and trauma.




Many practices have a strong connection with charities and community work. While these are worthwhile causes, does this improve the business side of a practice? By James Gallaway GENUINELY CHARITABLE work might seem rare in a world where corporate sponsorship of worthy causes often looks like nothing more than tokenistic arrangements of ‘brand synergy’. But vets in Australia, among them Dr Michael Heath, co-owner of the East Bentleigh Vet Clinic in Melbourne, are challenging the cynicism that so badly afflicts the world of worthy causes. Dr Heath understands that a clinic must be commercially viable; nevertheless, his practice is heavily committed to providing services in the local community as well as internationally in India. He concedes it’s the sort of thing that “does take time and can be a distraction”, but he is unequivocal about the benefits, among them, the positive impact it has on staff. “It started, for me,” he says, “when my wife Lisa and I were travelling through India years back and we wanted to do something useful with our skills.”


During their trip, while visiting the southwestern village of Bylakuppe, Dr Heath recalls being confronted by the problem of rabid dogs. It’s a situation that has deadly consequences for the Indian population where 35 million stray dogs infected with rabies directly cause 20,000 human deaths each year. “About one person dies every three hours,” he says. “I was saddened to hear of the death of a 13-year-old boy who had an open wound on his knee licked by his pet dog. It means that India is a place where children are encouraged to stay away from dogs. Anti-rabies vaccination and de-sexing work can change that.” The clinic that Dr Heath subsequently established in response to the crisis is now involved with work that forms part of the ABC/ Anti Rabies program, which seeks to sterilise and vaccinate 70 per cent of the dogs in the Dharamsala, in India’s north. In other parts of the country, in contrast, mass culling by


“It’s a great way to empower staff. It’s not a walk in the park but people learn to think for themselves.” Joanne Chaplin, practice manager, Noah’s Crossing Veterinary Clinic

the government is not very successful and is considered inhumane. Dr Heath says that while Asia can be difficult, “it’s a situation that can be career changing for some”. Back home, his clinic is involved with the local community, sponsoring local primary school children to read to dogs, who Dr Heath describes as a “very nonjudgemental audience. This provides a PR benefit for our clinic but a number of our clients also donate in the thousands to help with the work in India. “As a result of this, we were able to buy a digital X-ray unit as a replacement for wet chemistry, which saved money and produced vastly better results,” Dr Heath says. “We did a lot of surgery and trained Indian vets. It was exciting because we could help train 10 vets over two weeks and from that they could work on 20 dogs a day.” Dr Heath says the clinic is now wellknown for its charitable work; indeed this is often what draws new staff who “have sought us out because they have found out about this part of our practice”.

Great inspiration Dr Sonia Thakur is a case in point. She had previously volunteered at Dharamsala Animal Rescue, and approached East Bentleigh when she heard about their work in India. She describes Dr Heath as someone whose “enthusiasm is one of a kind; he’s been a great inspiration to me”. Dr Thakur believes we are spoiled in the west with diagnostics. Working in India taught her to rely on her own clinical judgement a lot

The Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre caters specifically to the Asian black bear.

more. “My surgery has improved,” she says, “and because the dogs stay with the clinic while they recover, you spend time watching them heal, which you don’t get [to do] here in general practice in Australia.” She believes if more Australian vets had similar experiences, they would feel more motivated professionally. “I think, in some respects, we in the Western world narrow our circle of concern to just ourselves and our lives. When you go and work in a village, it widens your field of view. You learn to deal with adversity there; you learn acceptance and when you come back, you have a newfound sense of purpose.” Joanne Chaplin, practice manager of Noah’s Crossing Veterinary Clinic north of Adelaide, was similarly inspired by her work with the Vietnam-based Wildlife at Risk organisation, and now encourages staff at her clinic to take part in work programs throughout Asia. “It’s a great way to empower staff. It’s not a walk in the park but people learn to think for themselves.” Staff from Noah’s Crossing have worked specifically on the Free the Bears project with Asiatic black bears in the north of Laos in the Tat Kuang Si Park outside of Luang Prabang. One of the bears, Champa, was hydrocephalic because of an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in its brain. Under ordinary circumstances the treatment for this condition is euthanasia—but due


to wildlife protection laws and Buddhist traditions, surgery is the preferred option. Asiatic black bears are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because their habitat is threatened by deforestation and they are hunted for their paws and gall bladders. Consequently, many are kept in cages all over East Asia where their bile is farmed by catheter. Chaplin and her team built a surgery of four-byfive metres where—with six other vets and a BBC crew filming their efforts— they successfully operated on Champa.

Life-changing experience Noah’s Crossing also works with its local community by sponsoring trophies at shows and maintaining relationships with breeding clubs where staff advise on health topics for particular breeds. “We build loyalty and sponsor people so they recommend us,” says Chaplin. Even better, the clinic’s work in Asia means staff who volunteer receive an education they could never get by just staying at home. This experience makes them even better vets which in turn can only benefit the practice overall. Just so long as the thrill of working in exotic locales doesn’t compel staff to disappear too often! “Over the past five years,” says Chaplin, “we’ve sent over three nurses and two vets—one of whom has gone back three times.”

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“Suggest a list of priorities to the client up-front of what needs to be treated, give costs associated with that and allow the client to choose.” Dr Adam Russell, director, Veterinary Practice Partners


While compassion and good intentions may result in happy clients, discounting for veterinary services can take a toll on your clinic’s finances. So, how do you manage this balance? Louise Baxter reports

The perils of discounting AUSTRALIAN VETERINARY practices only average between seven per cent and 12 per cent profitability, compared to 25 per cent for high-performing workplaces, according to a 2011 report from the University of New South Wales. And that’s a big difference. One of the main reasons is the ‘emotion factor’. When dealing with clients in crisis wanting the best for their beloved pet, it’s tempting to want to soften the blow with shaved bills, frequent discounting or simply foregoing charges for supplementary services. But unfortunately, this short-term solution can add up quickly if repeated for every patient. Dr Adam Russell, director of Veterinary Practice Partners, says while the animals and clients will always be paramount, it’s important to be clear about financial realities. “All vets at their core do veterinary medicine not for the money, but for the actual treating of pets. As a result, they feel very torn when broaching the topic of money because their interests and the interests of the client are to make the pet better. The vet forms a strong bond with a client in the consulting room,” Dr Russell says. “Where there’s a bit of a divergence is with money. That’s part of the reason why vets often feel insecure or second-guess themselves when it comes to knowing how to charge for their services.”


A veterinarian is not just an animal’s general doctor; they’re also specialists and need to pay for the purchase and maintenance of related medical equipment and facilities, medications, surgical procedures, and trained and experienced staff. Without the subsidies afforded to human healthcare, such as Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the costs of veterinary services cannot be fairly compared to the cost of a GP visit and cannot be absorbed by a practice. Unfortunately, by reducing consultation fees and waiving charges, you’re making your clinic do just that.

Avoid drawing conclusions As veterinary services are billed directly to the client, there’s potential to be swayed by emotions and assumptions that payment could be a ‘burden’. However, it’s essential to hold firm with fee structures and only offer discounts or waived charges in exceptional circumstances—or as a goodwill gesture for a long-standing client, at your discretion. Preemptive judgements can result in unnecessary exemptions that affect the practice’s profitability. “A lot of the time, the situation of cost being an issue may arise once or twice a day, and within the service industry that’s pretty normal. I think we


“A misunderstanding with vets is about how profitable a vet clinic is going to be.” Dr Adam Russell, director, Veterinary Practice Partners

as vets take it a little bit to heart, so maybe anticipate there’s going to be a problem when there in fact isn’t,” Dr Russell says. “Also, what you can do is suggest a list of priorities to the client up-front of what needs to be treated, give costs associated with that and allow the client to choose. A lot of times we tend to jump to that mid-point, or imagine if it was our pet and want to help.” After the initial consultation, provide your client with an itemised list of services and costs so they can make an informed decision about what they are willing and able to proceed with. Often clients don’t even know they’ve received a discount or shaved bill, unless they’re told, so the gesture can be superfluous. Unexpected concessions can also send a message that you can afford to do the work for less than your set fees, which actually undermines them. Before offering this, ask yourself if the client would come to the practice without the discount. The answer should be yes.

Check for missed charges Whether a result of human error or a vet waiving a service fee, missed charges can add up to a significant loss of income if not carefully monitored. They can often arise from poor internal communication, a busy schedule or a lack of staff training. Prevention and planning is the best way to approach this issue. Be clear with your reception staff, practitioners and management team about your billing policy and the importance of adding all service charges to a bill, no matter how small, unless otherwise advised. After all, it is a business like any other and must be treated in the same firm way to ensure profitability remains stable and sustainable. If you’re concerned your business may have incurred losses due to missed or waived charges, a periodic audit of patient files (a sample of 30 to 40 should give you a fair idea) can be useful to track patterns and potential oversights. You could also ask your office staff to keep an eye out for missed charges from veterinarians and follow up about the specific situation.

Discounts can hurt other vets If you have a clinic with several veterinarians, and only one offers discounts, clients may be inclined to


see the practitioner who offers cheaper services. This naturally creates an uneven playing field, may cause unfair pressure on other vets to reduce costs to stay competitive, and undermines the fee structure of the practice. This is why a clear written policy is important from the start for both staff and clients.

Calculate your costs “A bit of a misunderstanding with vets is about how profitable a vet clinic is going to be and how much it actually costs to run a practice,” says Dr Russell. “You may perceive that wages make up the majority of the costs but they might make up 50 per cent, and then there’s factoring in medications and so on.” The Australian Veterinary Association provides resources for practice management, which will help to give you a defined guide before launching your clinic, and keep it running smoothly. BOQ Specialist offers tailored financial advice for veterinarians that can save you having to retrospectively solve profitability problems—from managing cash flow and choosing the right accounting software, to preparing for unexpected expenses— ensuring you keep your clinic in good shape to continue your good work.



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Ready to build or renovate? Before you begin the journey, consider feedback from veterinarians at the other end of the spectrum—and the teams who helped them get there. By Gillian O’Meagher

top tips when building or renovating your practice Meet the clients

DR NIGEL THOMAS engaged Elite Fitout to redevelop and expand Park Ridge Veterinary Hospital in Queensland, while continuing to operate through the construction and refurbishing process. DR PAUL MAY chose Crosshatch Studio to design and project manage the construction of Wallan Vet & 24 Hour Hospital in Victoria, after outgrowing the previous clinic location.

1. A good relationship with your team Elite Fitout managing director Rod Phillips tells clients to take the time to understand what they’re getting. Place the concept plan on the kitchen table for a week or so before giving final approval, to give yourself some thinking time. “It’s easy to have a quick look at something and say, ‘Oh, that looks okay’ but then two days later you’re doing an activity and you think, ‘If I’m doing this in my new layout, and I turn to my right, is the shelf that I want there?” Mark Allan, Crosshatch Studio’s co-founder with Jaime Diaz-Berrio, says part of the success

of the Wallan project was a mutual respect as professionals, and a mutual level of trust between Crosshatch and Dr May. He says that by the end of any project, success is relative to the team.

2. The waiting game Ready to leap into it? Permits and plan approvals can take six to 12 months—or more. “It was a long process where it was put on the backburner for 12 months because council wasn’t going to allow it,” says Dr Thomas. “That was the most frustrating part— the process and cost of council approval.” He emphasises it was worth the perseverance, but was not easy or straightforward. Dr May describes the process as taking an exceptionally long time. “I think it was 270 days for us to get our permits through, and that was permits with zero objections.”

3. Don’t shy from a second opinion If the plan you have doesn’t really fit your needs or budget, consider another expert’s input. Dr Thomas came to Rod Phillips with a clinic



“The hospital was always going to be this 24-hour open facility, so you had to design a building that was not only going to look good during the day but that would also be approachable from the night.” Mark Allan, co-founder, Crosshatch Studio

someone designed that was not only too expensive, but also abandoned the original building. “I said if we could use the old build and extend it, would that interest you, as well as being close to your budget? He said yes, and that’s ultimately what happened.”

4. Consider the visual aesthetic Look at fusing functionality, and the visible. Keeping in mind the residential nature of the Wallan site, Crosshatch created a design specific to the location, and respectful of the area. “The big thing was the hospital was always going to be this 24-hour open facility, so you had to design a building that was not only going to look good during the day but that would also be approachable from the night,” Allan says. The spacing of the timber facade glows up the building at night, but then creates a solidity during the day.

5. Listen, trust and let go Once the planning is done, you should be able to focus on your practice knowing the building or refurbishment is in good hands. Dr May says there were zero changes to the design or fitout to the clinic once construction commenced due to rigorous prepping, from looking at samples to 3D walk-throughs. “All that planning meant that I could then step back and continue to do my work while Crosshatch did the actual implementation.”

6. Prepping is imperative From the weather to finances, uncontrollable elements may come into play. Avoid reacting in a way that transforms a relatively simple process into a stressful one. With regards to

what you can control: plan. That’s the advice from Dr Thomas, especially if renovating, as you want to trade through the period as much as you can. “You need to limit that downtime and the impact it has on your business, so its important to make sure it’s well planned and organised.”

7. Maintain your clinic with planning Ensure you and your project manager have organised a detailed way to work as efficiently as possible throughout construction and renovation. “You really have to plan your staging, so you always have operational areas to run your business without shutting down,” says Phillips. “With Park Ridge, we built the new space first because that gives more room, and then ideally we look at what can be put in or transferred to the new space to maintain the business while the original premises are being refurbished. “You’ve got to be conscious of what space you need all the time, and make sure that the essential rooms are always available—i.e. build them in the new area and covert the old spaces when needed so the clinic can continue to function effectively.”

8. Adapting to the unexpected For Dr May, phone lines proved a speed bump. It took close to three months for services to be installed and working properly, “purely down to issues of the transition of the area between Telstra and NBN at the time that the installation was meant to be happening.” He says there were a lot of communication issues between


the two in regards to whose job it was to do certain bits of the work, including upgrading parts of the actual infrastructure. The hospital team got through the frustrating period utilising diversions to mobiles, wi-fi doppler and special software. Conditions were still extremely limiting, but Dr May says in the end, people get used to it. “After a while you know it’s only for a period of time until things get better.”

9. Short-term fix vs long-term goal The issue you address today may cost in the future if you don’t take into account potential renovations at the five- or 10-year mark. Elite Fitout’s Rod Phillips advises using foresight. A short-term fix might be your current focus, but does it also increase your operational ability, as well as work into long-term goals? Or are you creating issues for your practice in the years to come? He says drawing up the grand plan can be very beneficial. “So you know where you’re going to be in 15 years. We do a percentage of it now so it’s very easy to extend into it later.”

10. Focus on the end game Having double the area to work in, Dr Thomas considers the build and renovation of Park Ridge Veterinary Hospital very rewarding. “It creates a happier workplace for your staff and a better workspace for clients and patients.” Now with the ability to provide aroundthe-clock critical care at Wallan Vet & 24 Hour Hospital, Dr May says the space works brilliantly. “The staff absolutely love it; it’s very light and airy.”


Relationships can be difficult at the best of times so is it a good idea for couples to work together in the same practice? By Frank Leggett

Couples that work

Drs Peter Lee & Natasha Bilous Vets who own and run Two By Two Veterinary Hospital in Balgowlah, NSW. Peter and Natasha are the classic veterinary love story. They went through university together in the same graduating year, started dating and ended up married as newly qualified vets. While they always intended to own a practice together, they first gained veterinary experience in different situations. “As an employed vet, you reach a certain level of experience and feel like you’ve plateaued,” says Peter. “We both reached that point and then decided it was time to work for ourselves.” Unfortunately, most existing practices were overvalued and beyond their price

range. So they started Two By Two from scratch. “It was really jumping in the deep end,” says Natasha. “The day we opened our doors, we didn’t have a single client.” As the business grew, Peter took on the business side of things and acts as the practice manager. Happily, the married vets regard working together as positive. “We complement each other,” says Natasha. “Pete loves orthopaedic surgery whereas I can take it or leave it. We can be honest with each other and that allows us to play to our strengths.” “It’s also great when sharing cases,” says Peter. “When I see one of Natasha’s cases, I introduce myself to the client as Natasha’s husband and there’s an instant acceptance.” So, are there any disadvantages to their situation? “We often communicate like husband and wife rather then

Photography: Josephine Bilous

MARRIAGE IS A COMMITMENT to each other that sees you living together, holidaying together, building a life together and maybe raising children together. But is it a good idea to work together? For many people there’s a clear demarcation between their home life and their professional life. While it’s true that many couples meet at work, it is rare that they continue to work together after marriage. So when a couple work together in a veterinary practice—as either two vets or as a vet and a practice manager—is it a good thing? Will their relationship survive so much closeness? Will the business suffer from their over familiarity? Is it just too much time together? We talked about the pros and cons with three married couples who work together. Spoiler: they all think it’s a positive situation for their business and their relationship!

Drs Natasha Bilous and Peter Lee of Two By Two Veterinary Hospital.



Dr Michel Doney & Wayne Doney A vet and a practice manager at Margaret River Vet Hospital, WA. As soon as Michel was accepted to vet school, the couple’s goal was to own a vet practice and work together. They bought an existing business in WA while living in California and flew halfway around the world to set it up. While Margaret River Vet Hospital has gone from strength to strength—they have recently opened a second practice in Augusta—there was an period of adjustment in the beginning. “Some of our earlier difficulties concerned defining our roles and having staff respect those roles,” says Michel. “I’m the leader in the hospital environment so team members would come to me and ask for a day off. I’d grant it and not tell Wayne even though he was the one doing the rostering and staffing. Now we are consistent in that I make the medical decisions and he makes the business decisions.” The couple also find that they are constantly taking work home. “We always

talk about work at home,” says Wayne. “This business is our baby and we want to make sure the best decisions are made.” “Besides, we’ve been married for 21 years so it gives us something to talk about,” says Michel, laughing. On the plus side, the couple love being a team and having a partner who understands what you’re going through. “Veterinary work is an incredibly challenging and stressful job,” explains Michel. “I think it is so beneficial that we experience the good times and the bad together.” So is it a good thing for a couple to work together? “It’s probably a cliché but we’re best friends and we want to spend as much time together as possible,” says Wayne. Michel adds, “If you choose to work together, you have to be solid as a couple. Decide on your roles and stick to them. Talk about policies. Talk about staff issues. Talk about client issues. Be consistent on your decisions and back each other up.”

“If you choose to work together, you have to be solid as a couple. Decide on your roles and stick to them. Be consistent on your decisions and back each other up.” Dr Michel Doney, co-owner, Margaret River Vet Hospital

Dr Louise and Jason Lehmann of Clare Valley Veterinary Service with their kids.


Dr Louise Lehmann & Jason Lehmann A vet and a part-time practice manager who both own and run Clare Valley Veterinary Service in SA. Louise, who is Scottish, travelled to Australia for an 18-month working holiday in 1997. This turned into a four-year stint before she returned to the UK with Jason in tow. There, they married, had their first child and returned to Australia, purchasing the clinic where Louise had been working when they met. Clare Valley Veterinary Services opened on April Fool’s day in 2007, just after Louise discovered she was pregnant with their second child. For the first three years, Jason worked full-time in the practice but when he was accepted into the fire service, he dropped back to part-time. Now he handles all the financials and behindthe-scenes organisation. “We always bring work home but as it’s our own business, we don’t mind,” says Louise. “I like the fact that we work together,” says Jason. “We can openly discuss all aspects of the business and that is very positive.” “Essentially, our financial future relies on the success of our practice,” says Louise. “Taking work home is not such a big deal.” Over the 11 years they have run the practice, there has been good times, bad times and tough financial times. Working together lets them celebrate their successes and emotionally support one another when times aren’t so good. “As I’m the principal vet, if we are having financial worries then I take it personally as I am the one who is bringing in the money,” says Louise. “We’ve had the odd work-related argument over the years,” says Jason, “but that’s going to happen with all business partners, whether they are married or not.” Louise and Jason have managed to maintain a healthy relationship, raise three kids, heal a lot of animals and grow their practice. Initially, Louise had one part-time vet to assist her. Now it’s a four-vet practice with two branch clinics, one in Jamestown and a recently opened one in Balaklava. The three Lehmann kids have been raised surrounded by animals and immersed in veterinary procedures. Unfortunately, none of them appear to be following in Mum’s footsteps. “They’re terrific kids but they’re just not interested,” says Louise. “Maybe I took them on too many call outs!”

Photography: Maddison Baker, Call Me Maddi Design

colleagues,” says Natasha. “I will quite happily tell Pete that he is doing something wrong but I would never say that to another veterinary colleague. Neither of us is shy about giving advice to the other.” “One big drawback of married vets working together is that it’s almost impossible to take holidays,” says Peter. “We can hire locums but it’s very difficult when the two principal vets are away. Apart from everything else, our clients expect to see one of us when they walk in.”


Whether she’s saving an emergency patient on the Gold Coast, speaking at a conference in Melbourne, or lobbying government officials in Canberra, AVA president Paula Parker is across the small details and the big-picture implications of what’s going on. By Heather Vaile

CALM UNDER DR PAULA PARKER was just 22 years old when she accepted her first veterinary job, 1800 kilometres away from her home in Brisbane. It was at a big practice in Leongatha, a small rural town located in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria’s South Gippsland region. “When I moved down to Leongatha, I moved to a totally different town, in a different state and I was working in a busy dairy practice,” she says. “I was seeing clients who’d been farmers for 30, 40 or 50 years. So, you have to gain their trust and their respect and do the job. That was stressful but I think that experience of working as a dairy vet has helped me the most as a clinician. “I didn’t always get it right. I got kicked my fair share of times and I had my fair share of injuries, but it helped me develop the ability to be calm under pressure and work through problems in a methodical way.” Another thing that helped Dr Parker was being a member of the AVA. “I didn’t know anybody at Leongatha except Melissa Rogers, who’d been a fifth-year student when I was in first year at uni, and we became friends. “There are a couple of big practices nearby and the Gippsland branch of the AVA is quite an active and

very social branch. We’d go to social functions and do continuing education there as well, and those people were an enormous support network, especially when you’re a young vet and you’ve moved to a new town. “They were supportive in a professional way. I could give them a call and ask any question about vet stuff, but the part that was most helpful to me was that we were a group that just supported each other as people too.” Fast forward 10 years, and Dr Parker has now worked as a mixed practitioner, small animal clinician, emergency and critical care (ECC) vet, ECC education consultant, and a veterinary director at an animal hospital. She has also earned a clinical master’s in small animal practice, membership of the Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in emergency and critical care, and is completing her MBA this year. Her term as AVA president began in June last year and although it’s a full-time position, Dr Parker still works weekend shifts at the Animal Emergency Service (AES) hospital on the Gold Coast when she can. Also at the AES is Dr Rob Webster. He is a director of the hospital and a specialist ECC vet. Dr Webster has


Photography: Richard Mortimer


The new AVA president, Dr Paula Parker, keeps a close eye on the latest technology changes.



“She never skips over a problem, she never misses the importance of a problem and she approaches her cases in a very holistic way. She doesn’t get tunnel vision, which is a problem for a lot of vets.” Dr Rob Webster, director, Animal Emergency Service

known Dr Parker since 2015 and says they work together on the most difficult cases that come in over the weekends— those patients that require life support or emergency surgery. He describes her as “brilliant, determined and conscientious”, and adds that “she pays great attention to detail and that’s invaluable when you’re working with complex cases which have a number of different problems. “She never skips over a problem, she never misses the importance of a problem and she approaches her cases in a very holistic way. She doesn’t get tunnel vision, which is a problem for a lot of vets.” It did not surprise him in the least when Dr Parker became AVA president. “Once

she was voted in as a director of the AVA, I could see she had a very clear vision for the organisation. I was almost certain that she would become the AVA president because she was working from a platform of youth, inclusion and technology. And that’s what the AVA really needs. “Because Paula comes in as a young female, she better represents most of the young female veterinarians out there and she can engage with them. And she also brings the ability to access technology and social media in a way that no-one else on that board can. “Yet because of her strong background in management, she can also represent practice owners and can certainly see their perspective as well. We’ve now got one of the most driven


and dedicated veterinarians that I’ve ever met in charge of the AVA—and she’s still got another 20 years to go before her career even peaks.” There’s no doubt Dr Parker is proud of the AVA’s role in helping vets to reach their full potential. “A lot of what the AVA does is about facilitating people to thrive,” she says. “And for some people that’s about education; for some it’s about collegiality in their community; for some it’s about having a tool or a system that will help them; for some it’s about us promoting the profession out there in the community; and for others, it’s getting the messages out that people care about and advocating on their behalf to the government.” She sees this advocacy role as hugely important and spends about half of her time working with the AVA’s media and advocacy team on federal policy and advocacy issues in Canberra. She also supports the state divisions and leaders of the special interest groups in their advocacy with state government on big issues, or where the AVA needs more resources directed to particular issues, such as the Hendra virus. The other half of her time is pretty much taken up chairing the board and liaising closely with the CEO on operational matters that support the AVA’s five strategic priorities: improving animal welfare, planning an effective veterinary workforce, ensuring economic sustainability, better regulation and fighting antimicrobial resistance. While Dr Parker cares deeply about all these priorities, she says the issue that’s closest to her heart is the financial health and wellbeing of AVA members. “I worry that a lot of people in our profession are not at a point of economic

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“Amazing things are happening with imaging and clinical pathology using new technology, which is exciting and great for practices. And the capability of the business software that we have now is just phenomenal.”

comfort and particularly as our profession becomes more feminised. “The financial model in our industry previously was that you were a young vet and you earned a pretty meagre wage and then you became a practice owner and your income went up from there. But as more practices have become corporatised, we haven’t seen that lift in wages come through. And that’s reflected in the fact that more and more vets will be employees throughout their working lives.” However, she points out that there have also been a lot of positives that have come with increased corporatisation within the industry too— and one of those is that it’s enabled more people to work part-time. That said, the wages issue still concerns her on a number of fronts. “Everybody

Dr Paula Parker, AVA president


acknowledges that the remuneration in our sector is not where we would like it to be and that could be a threat to us on many levels. Having a reasonable level of economic comfort is not only important to people’s mental health but it’s also important for our industry globally so that we’re sustainable and that we retain talented people in the industry. But there’s not a magical panacea as to how you solve that situation. “One of the most common things we colloquially hear from practice owners is that ‘we would love to pay our vets more but the business doesn’t quite have the profitability to make those changes sustainable’. And that puts the business, and everybody who’s employed by that business, at risk. “So, one of the things we need to do is to improve the profitability of vet businesses. That will then allow a greater amount of revenue to be allocated to wages.” When asked if she has any business advice for other practitioners, she says, “I think the biggest thing is just the power of having a plan—not making it too complicated, but doing it monthly, weekly and daily. And regularly checking on that plan.” Dr Parker is also keeping a close eye on another significant workplace issue for vets—the rapid pace of technological change. “Technology is a great one to dig into because it creates a lot of opportunities and there are so many things that we’re doing better and faster and more often now than we ever have before. “It involves some really cool stuff. Amazing things are happening with imaging and clinical pathology using new technology, which is exciting and great for practices. And the capability of the business software that we have now is just phenomenal. “Quite often, a lot of people are using only the top 10 or 20 per cent of the capabilities of their practice software and it can do so much more. So, it’s a really exciting time for us in terms of how the AVA can help people to leverage those different technologies to make their lives easier, make their practices better, make their business more profitable and ultimately, just do a better job— which is what everybody wants.”


AVA 2018 Annual Conference

Discover world-class veterinary talks, workshops, equipment and social events—all on 13-18 May



AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

What’s on at the AVA Conference Discover world-class presentations, the latest equipment and technology, and health and wellbeing programs at this stellar Brisbane event

The Australian Veterinary Association’s (AVA) 2018 Annual Conference is back at the Brisbane Exhibition & Convention Centre on 13-18 May, bringing together Australia’s largest gathering of veterinary professionals. The conference features world-class presentations by luminary international and local speakers. There will be over 200 scientific sessions and an array of practical workshops, complemented by an exceptional social program and vibrant trade exhibition. An average of 1200 veterinary professionals attend on any given day of the four-day event, making this the largest veterinary event and trade exhibition in the southern hemisphere. Exciting new initiatives will inspire innovation, promote professional pride and enable attendance. ‘VetEd’ talks is a new series of eight 10-minute talks by veterinarians, all sharing inspirational stories or food for thought with their peers. The AVA Poster Competition, with four generous cash prizes, will promote

the research or clinical work of veterinarians. All members can apply. Visit and look for ‘What’s New’ under the ‘Program’ tab. In keeping with AVA’s family-friendly values, the AVA is pleased to introduce the Carers Pass. This will assist delegates who require a carer to accompany them. And, within the body of the scientific program are two mini-workshops on wellness and resilience which are free to delegates. Capacity is limited, so book early! As always, the plenary sessions will share cutting-edge science and promote lateral thinking. • Jordan Nguyen, NSW finalist for Australian of the Year 2017 and virtual reality engineer, will discuss the boundaries between human and technological evolution and intelligent technologies • Dr Jennifer Whelan, an expert specialising in corporate diversity, inclusion and innovation will talk about unconscious gender bias and what can be done about it • Dr Jenny Brockis, an expert in brain


fitness, will discuss the science of highperformance thinking, sharing sciencebased strategies for thinking smarter, innovating more and working more effectively to achieve work/life balance. AVA’s renowned scientific program will allow delegates to choose from eight streams in a range of subject areas, while the workshops and field trips will facilitate practical skills development and the opportunity to earn further VetEd points. Of course, AVA members will continue to enjoy generous discounts on registration. New graduates (up to 3 years out) receive additional discounts, and nurses and practice managers can now join AVA as associate members. New members who join now can also save on the cost of conference registration and enjoy extended membership until 30 June 2019. Joining now could save new members up to $1885! Email or phone 1300 137 309 to join AVA now. Visit to register and see what’s on offer in this year’s extensive scientific program.

From left: Delegates discover the latest products; state-of-the-art equipment and materials are on display; the Australian Veterinary Orchestra performs; the VetEd talks are entertaining and inspirational.

Visit the Wellness Stand Many visitors are drawn to the AVA Annual Conference by the scientific program, but it’s also an opportunity to evaluate your health and wellbeing—and learn how to support colleagues. This year at the Wellness Stand, you can undertake a health check, enjoy a 10-minute massage or make an appointment to speak to a counsellor from EAP Converge on the Wednesday of the conference—all for free. AVA Mentoring Program Manager, Monika Cole, will be stationed at the Wellness Stand throughout the week. She says, “The health and wellbeing of the veterinary profession is very important to all of us at the AVA. We are

proud to continue the work of Dr Helen Fairnie and the AVA Benevolent Fund who established this initiative.” If you are a mentor or mentee, it’s a great opportunity to catch up at the ASAV recent graduate dinner or talk to Monika at the Wellness Stand. This year, the scientific program includes the first interactive wellness workshops, which delegates can register to attend. Rosie Overfield, AVA’s Mental Health First Aid Instructor, will be leading the resilience workshop, developing protective thinking and practices to sustain a healthy vet career. Psychologist Naomi Bickley will facilitate the

veterinary health workshop where delegates will learn what it means to flourish in the profession. This year the AVA will be trialling its new, blended learning Mental Health First Aid module, with delegates completing an online component before a face-toface workshop on 18 May. You can support colleagues by attending the Australian Veterinary Orchestra (AVO) Charity Concert on 16 May at 7.30pm, at the Brisbane Exhibition & Convention Centre. Members of the AVO will be supported by the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra. “Some vets involved come to the AVA Conference just


for the chance to perform in the orchestra,” says AVO founder Dr Mike Woodham, of Sugarland Vet. According to Woodham, “Veterinarians face isolation, working away from family, long hours, compassion fatigue and lack of social connection. The AVO provides an outlet, a connection with colleagues with similar interests and access to the benefits of music on wellbeing and mental health. A good measure of your support network is to ask, who could I call at 3am in a crisis? Many in the AVO are at that level of friendship.” To view the extensive social program at this year’s Conference, visit conference.


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 94-97

Put yourself in their paws Experience life as a pet partner at Hill’s Global Pet Nutrition Center in immersive 360° virtual reality tour For the first time ever, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, has opened the doors to all pet lovers for a virtual reality tour of their Global Pet Nutrition Center in Topeka, Kansas, US. We are opening the doors of the Global Pet Nutrition Center to share our passion and commitment to improving pet health and nutrition. With the Hill’s new virtual reality tour, you can experience the Pet Nutrition Center just like our pet partners do! Hill’s Global Pet Nutrition Center is a 180-acre state-of-the-art facility where a team of veterinarians and scientists conduct groundbreaking nutritional research and new product development. More than 900 dog and cat pet partners live in Hill’s Global Pet Nutrition Center. The main responsibility for many of them is to participate in taste preference evaluations. Dogs and cats are offered different choices of food and can select whichever one they prefer. When they are not ‘working’, the pets can play with their caregiver

or roommates, or relax at will. The housing areas are designed to allow our pet partners choices in how they spend their day; they can play in an outdoor bark park with their caregiver and roommates, nap in the sunshine or rest indoors in their den. Hill’s believes that the ability to choose and have flexibility in how they spend their free time is important to their overall health and wellbeing. The virtual tour includes visits to the dining and housing areas. It also explains how the pets help Hill’s scientists create food that delivers proven health and wellness benefits in a taste and form that the pets love to eat.

You can choose whether you want to be a dog or a cat, and then explore the facilities from a pet’s-eye view in an immersive 360° experience. Please join us on the tour and see what life at the Pet Nutrition Center is like for our pet partners. Don’t miss this opportunity to put yourself in their paws at the Hill’s stand (94-97).

Clockwise, from top left: Aeriel view of the state-of-the-art Hill’s Global Pet Nutrition Center; the cat sunroom; the dog exercise park.



yourself IN THEIR

paws Patsy

Age 2 years

Introducing the PNC Virtual Tour

Start Exploring the PNC

For the first time ever, we’re opening the doors to the PNC — and with our new virtual reality tour, you can experience it just like our pet partners do! You’ll get to choose whether you want to be a dog or a cat, and explore the facilities from a pet’s-eye view in this immersive, 360° experience.

Come to the Hills stand (94-97)


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 128-129

CH2 offers a range of value-added services

CH2 is Australia’s leading integrated distributor of pharmaceuticals, medical consumables, nutritional, equipment and veterinary products servicing the healthcare market. With a portfolio of over 50,000 products sourced from 700+ industryrecognised suppliers, CH2 operates across six core business units – Veterinary, Aged Care & Community, Hospital, Community Pharmacy, Primary Care, and CH2 Contract Logistics. Proudly Australian owned and operated, CH2 has a national footprint which combined with expert local knowledge, delivers scale and personalisation to our customers and supply partners. With a 79-year heritage in delivering outstanding healthcare supply solutions, today CH2 services customers located throughout Australian metropolitan and regional areas.

Our team & customer operations Our veterinary division has a specialised team of Business Development Managers that are educated and trained to understand and service our veterinary customers’ needs. With the needs of our customers front of mind, we offer a flexible service giving access to an industry-leading range of both human and veterinary medications. We offer our customers competitive everyday pricing as well as access to promotions.

value-added services to streamline and simplify the ordering process, regular product promotions and exclusive offers, and technical support for its proprietary technology. Proprietary Services – SolutionsFocused Approach

Our Business Development Team are supported by our Customer Service teams, who undertake ongoing product training and understand the critical nature of the veterinary industry. We will truly partner with you to understand and meet your supply needs.

Fast and reliable delivery CH2 operates seven warehouses nationally and is represented in all states and territories. Supported by the national network, CH2 utilises local knowledge and local people to provide a service supplying a comprehensive range of pharmaceuticals, medical consumables and equipment to the animal healthcare market to meet your supply needs.

Superior it solutions With a core philosophy steeped in innovation, CH2 offers a range of

Ph. 1300 242 838 Fax: 1800 809 283 E:



CH2 is passionate about supporting local vets and the animal health industry. We recognise that flexibility is important and offer freedom of purchase with no lock in contracts. CH2 offer further flexibility with an extensive range of human and animal products available to our customers.

We are 100% Australian Owned 40,000 products


Extensive Product Range

Freedom of purchasing choice - No contracts

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National network of Distribution centres

Fast and reliable delivery

Easy online ordering

Strong relationships with key suppliers State-based key account managers with expert knowledge

1300 242 838


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 9-10

Welcoming an advanced standard of veterinary care: NVC’s Veterinary Training Centre The key to maintaining up to date skills and knowledge in this industry relies on advanced education and practical training. As the field of veterinary science evolves, through modern technology and new techniques, receiving up-to-date education and training becomes essential to all practitioners. To empower veterinary excellence and make this training easily accessible, National Veterinary Care has developed the Veterinary Training Centre. With over 70 workshops currently available, NVC provides the entire industry with the opportunity to improve their skills and ensure that they are working at the highest veterinary standard. The workshop topics available include Behaviour, Clinical Skills, Dentistry, Dermatology & Clinical Diseases, Orthopaedic Surgery, Radiology, Soft Tissue Surgery, Ultrasound, Anaesthesia, Emergency & Critical Care and Nurse Consultation & Nutrition. All workshops include a CPD value for vets. To complement the first facility opened in Queensland in March 2016, there has been a recent establishment of a second facility in Melbourne. Looking to the future, New Zealand will be home to another training facility. “The Veterinary Training Centre has been a key project for not only our business but the industry as a whole,” says NVC’s CEO Tomas Steenackers. “Seeing a gap that affected all practitioners, there was a

Latest equipment improves students’ technical skills.

real need for an advanced training facility. Vet professionals needed support through training opportunities, to secure the most advanced standards of care in clinics all over the world.” An important aspect of these workshops are the small class sizes, that guarantees one-on-one tuition for participants. Industry leading professionals facilitate the workshops and are at the height of knowledge in their specific area of interest. Newly learnt skills are perfected through using the latest technology, and cultivates the confidence needed to transfer their progressive skills into the clinic environment. Respected veterinarian Dr Shibly Mustapha,

All workshops include a CPD value for vets.


co-owner of Monty and Minx Calamvale Vet Clinic, sent his team members to the Pet Dentistry workshop. His experience was one that confirms the impact these opportunities have on all aspects of your clinic; that with support and confidence your practice can excel and prosper. “The Dental course was a fantastic investment for the team. We sent 8 team members in total, over 4 consecutive workshops. We already had dental X-rays in place and had been offering a fairly high standard of dental care in the clinics. However, after spending a day in the VTC Dentistry Workshop, it has enhanced the teams’ confidence and technical skills. “We are now much better at educating our clients and, in turn, booking in dental work. The team is also more efficient at obtaining diagnostic images and extracting problematic teeth. Great outcome for all – clients, patients, staff and business!” At the core of the Veterinary Training Centre is the desire to grow the industry together and welcome in the innovative methods that are being developed. As a united and advanced veterinary community, the quality of care, knowledge and techniques will be at the forefront of healthcare standards worldwide. Find out more at Veterinary-Training-Centre

Are you looking for new practical training opportunities for your team? Register & pay for a workshop during the AVA conference and you are eligible to receive 50% OFF any second workshop booking.*


The 2018 Veterinary Training Centre workshop program seeks to advance the practical skills of vets and vet nurses, to ensure they remain suitably skilled as the field of veterinary science evolves, technology advances and new techniques are introduced. During 2017, the NVC Veterinary Training Centre held over 54 practical training workshops, educating over 1,000 participants across the veterinary industry. Building on this success, the program has been expanded to include a range of new workshops covering • Orthopaedic Surgery • Soft Tissue Surgery • Advanced Ultrasound • Clinical Skills • Anesthesia • Emergency & Critical Care These workshops will complement the topics that are already offered including • Dentistry • Pathology • Radiology • Ultrasound • Nutrition

Our workshops offer the perfect opportunity to upskill your team with practical knowledge and advanced skills which can be immediately applied in the consultation room or surgery. For more information on the workshop schedule and inclusions, educators and pricing,

visit: Alternatively you can call 1300 682 838 or email *Terms and conditions apply


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 116-117

Jurox medications are ideal for anxious and painful patients If you have ever been in for even a minor surgical event, you will no doubt be aware of the anxiety you felt toward the impending procedure. Despite highly trained doctors and modern monitoring technology, stress still builds and we often find ourselves needing reassurance that all will be okay. Now imagine that you weigh 5kg, you have just had a car ride – something that almost never happens – and your owners are walking you to a new building. You may start feeling nervous. When you are then bombarded with the smells and sounds of other anxious animals, you may start to wonder whether there was danger you needed to prepare for. Any pain or sickness that you may have been feeling will start to weigh a little more heavily on you. Often a parallel is drawn between the pre-operative period for our veterinary patients and that of people presenting for surgery, but the lead-up period for our pets can be significantly different. Dr Brad O’Hagan, Director of Veterinary Services at Jurox Animal Health, points out: “The stresses that a pet feels when presented to a veterinary practice for surgery are often masked by the animal’s instinct to hide fear and weakness. Despite a calm exterior, the physiologic responses of stress are still there, in the form of a primed sympathetic nervous system, preparing the patient for flight or

fight. A patient in such a primed state are not ideal candidates for the homeostatic rollercoaster of anaesthesia. “We often forget the fact that people can be talked down much more readily than pets can,” says Dr O’Hagan. “This is one reason that chemical premedication of our veterinary patients in the 20 to 30 minutes prior anaesthetic induction is common practice. Modern medications have excellent anxiolytic properties. If the patient is painful or is likely to be postoperatively, then administration of opiate medications will have an additive effect to an alpha-2 agonist and result in the decreased requirement for more potent anaesthetic induction and maintenance drugs,” Dr O’Hagan adds. Jurox has a suite of medications targeting the perio-operative period. A range of opiate medications – Bupredyne, Methodyne and Butordyne – offer the ability to tailor


the analgesic to the procedure. Medetate Injection – medetomidine – provides titratable and reversible sedation, and Reliven Injection – meloxicam – with its anti-inflammatory effects can help smooth out the recovery period. However, Dr O’Hagan points out, “We have great medications for anxious and painful patients but calm, quiet, reassuring and confident handling by staff is vital to a successful patient experience.” “Returning to our own experiences as patients, safety, comfort and reassurance are what we would expect from the staff that are looking after us. We should aspire to the same things for our veterinary charges, and to achieve this, because they are non-verbal, we need to view the experience through the animal’s eyes, ears and nose to get a full understanding of what they are experiencing. “Only then can we start to address pain and stress effectively and give our veterinary patients the type of care that we would expect ourselves,” says Dr O’Hagan. If you would like to know more about the Jurox range, please come visit us at Stand 116-117 during the 2018 Annual AVA Conference.

The Jurox anaesthesia & analgesia family. Manufactured in world class Australian facilities, to international standards. Supported by Jurox, the makers of Alfaxan®, Australia’s number one anaesthetic. Customer Service 1800 023 312

® Registered Trademark of Jurox Pty Ltd


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 84

Have you heard of the Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE) and our membership benefits? Do you know what makes our CPD different? Now is your opportunity to find out who we are, what we do and, most importantly, why we do it. Make time to visit us at Stand No. 84 to speak to our friendly staff. Last year a number of CVE members stopped by to say hello and they ended up doing our work for us! They took the time to speak to veterinarians who were new to the CVE. For example, some veterinarians wished to find out more about a particular Distance Education program and CVE members were able to discuss their personal experiences with balancing quality but demanding continuing professional development. CVE membership is affordable and provides significant and relevant benefits. 7 member types: Recognising that the veterinary landscape has changed considerably over the past decade, the CVE overhauled membership in 2014 to offer a range of membership categories to suit the stage of your veterinary career. Part-time Membership was introduced for busy veterinarians balancing work and family and our Practice Membership was significantly ramped up. It makes economic sense to join as a Practice Member if 2 or more veterinarians are employed in the same practice. Vet nurses and allied professionals also enjoy the many benefits. This year, 16 of our TimeOnline courses are nurse-friendly.

Take advantage of our AVA Conference specials and go into the draw for your chance to win a voucher for $1,000! Spend it on CPD of your choice – 76 CPD courses available. We invite everyone, members or not, to visit our stand to learn about our AVA Conference specials. The more options you take up, the more entries in the draw. The options are: l 4 TimeOnline courses for the price of 3 (offer valid until the end of 2018) l Enrol in a CVE course or register for a CVE event l Join the CVE community in the membership type of your choice.


You’ve got to be in to win! Visit us at Stand No. 84. Need more information? Contact us at: Centre for Veterinary Education, Veterinary Science Conference Centre, L2, B22, Regimental Drive, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006. W: T. +612 9351 7979 F: +612 9351 7968 E:


Established in 1965* by a group of forward-thinking veterinarians led by Director Tom Hungerford, the Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE, then known as the PGF) was the world’s first and leading membership-based organisation dedicated solely to providing post graduate veterinary education.

Continuing to lead the profession, the CVE provides a range of innovative continuing professional development. As a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation, the CVE has earned a deserved reputation for being a trusted organisation committed to excellence. Visit to view the range of courses on offer, delivered by world-renowned experts. *Tom Hungerford OBE BVSc FACVSc HAD, first Director, coined this phrase

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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 136-139.

Science behind Royal Canin Satiety

Maintains stable body weight after weight loss Once their target bodyweight is reached, pets enter a critical weight stabilisation phase, and weight rebound after weight loss is a frequent issue(5,6). The long-term use of ROYAL CANIN® SATIETY® can significantly limit weight regain in the follow-up period. The post-slimming period of 33 obese dogs was studied(6). For weight maintenance, 16 dogs were switched to a standard




80 70 60 50 40 30 20

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20



Meal 1

0 Meal 4


Meal 3


Meal 4



Meal 3


Meal 2

Comparison of voluntary energy intake over four successive meals



Meal 2

Reduces voluntary energy intake In cats and dogs, the effect of ROYAL CANIN® SATIETY® diets in reducing voluntary energy intake was assessed through several comparative studies with commercially available diets formulated for weight loss and mainly differing in their protein and fibre contents(3,4). Among the tested diets, the best satiating effect was obtained with ROYAL CANIN® SATIETY®, with significantly lower energy intake compared to competitor diets (17% and 28% less energy consumed on average in cats and dogs, respectively)  (See figure 1).


Meal 1

Reduces begging Three out of five owners find their pet begs all the time, or often. The satiating effect of ROYAL CANIN® SATIETY® diets was confirmed in obese pets undergoing weight loss. In a three-month weight loss field trial in 413 cats and 926 dogs(1,2), a significant improvement of begging behaviour was perceived by the owners over the course of the study, despite calorie restriction. On an individual perspective, at the end of the study, 82% of cat owners and 83% of dog owners considered that the begging behaviour of their pets was stable or even reduced compared to baseline.

Mean Energy Intake (Kcal/kg)

The largest, multicentre clinical trial to date (1,2) showed that during a three-month period, SATIETY delivered weight loss in 97% of pets. Significant weight reduction was recorded after just two weeks.


Figure 1. Reducing voluntary energy intake

maintenance diet and 17 continued with their ROYAL CANIN® Weight Management diets. Dogs that continued with their weight-loss diet were 20 times less likely to regain weight than those switched to a standard maintenance diet. ROYAL CANIN® is a scientific leader in the field of obesity research Beyond providing veterinarians with the most adapted diets to face the issue of obesity, ROYAL CANIN® has provided 97 scientific communications related to obesity since 1999. 1. Flanagan J et al. ‘Success of a weight loss plan for overweight dogs: the results of an international weight loss study.’ PLoS One (2017) 12(9):e0184199. 2. Hours MA et al. ‘Factors affecting weight


loss in client owned cats and dogs: data from an international weight loss study.’ Proc of 16th Ann AAVN Clin Nutr and Research Symposium; Denver (USA); June 8, 2016. 3. Weber, M et al. ‘A high protein, high fiber diet designed for weight loss improves satiety in dogs.’ Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (2007) 21;1203-1208. 4. Hours MA et al. ‘Comparison of voluntary food intake and palatability of commercial weight loss diets in healthy dogs and cats.’ BMC Veterinary Research (2016) 12:274. 5. Deagle, G et al. ‘Long-term follow-up after weight management in obese cats.’ Journal of Nutritional Science 3, (2014). e25. doi:10.1017/ jns.2014.36. 6. German, A. J. et al. ‘Long-term follow-up after weight management in obese dogs: the role of diet in preventing regain.’ Vet J, 192, 65-70.


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 33

Country veterinarian buys clinic after completing Massey University postgraduate degree An opportunity to step into her boss’ shoes led Dr Nicola Pattison to Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) in New Zealand and she’s never looked back The New Zealander signed up for an MVM course at Massey when the owner of the vet clinic in Victoria, Australia, asked Dr Pattison to take over while she was overseas. “When my boss went to the UK for three months and asked me to cover for her while she was gone, I thought I’d better do an orthopedics course so I could fix broken bones,” says Dr Pattison. She initially chose the orthopedics course at Massey as it appeared to offer the best value and gave her the opportunity to return to her Kiwi homeland, but ended up enjoying the experience so much, she went on to complete the MVM. “I did the soft tissue surgery course, followed by neurology and an epidemiology course. With an interest in farm dogs, I then did a dissertation on working farm dogs so I could complete the whole thing. “With Massey, you’re actually working towards a degree, not just a certificate, which increases the course’s value. You can do one of the courses for about the same cost as attending a conference, and you get a lot more out of it,” says Dr Pattison. As a busy working mother with a young family, she appreciated the flexibility Massey University offered. “I gave birth to two children while doing it, already had a two-year-old and was working part-time. “When my third child came along, my husband was working as a fly-in fly-out oil field worker and I ended up in hospital. It was a fairly hectic time in my life, but I was able to work through it with Massey’s help, and complete the course without too much drama” says Dr Pattison. The educators and support team at Massey University were another plus. “All of the admin staff are really good and I couldn’t say enough great things about my supervisor.

Dr Nicole Pattison says that the MVM course made her a better vet.

“She was always available to me during my dissertation, and made extra time towards the end of the year so we could analyse the data and work on statistics together. They really do go above and beyond,” she says. Dr Pattison also valued the handson nature of what the Massey MVM offers and says, “This is for real world vets, you’ll learn stuff you can take into your practice and use straight away on a daily basis.” She has since gone on to buy the


country vet clinic in the town of Casterton in Victoria in January 2017 and attributes the postgraduate degree in helping to give her the confidence to do so. “Without question, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now without the MVM. It gives you the confidence to step outside your comfort zone. It’s made me a better vet. The MVM has been brilliant and even though I’ve finished the degree, I’m probably going to do more courses in the future, just for fun,” says Dr Pattison. Find out more at


With leading lecturers and fantastic work/study flexibility, the online Master of Veterinary Medicine at Massey will have you in hot demand. PLACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR JULY 2018 EMAIL US NOW ON MVM@MASSEY.AC.NZ OR VISIT MASSEY.AC.NZ/MVM TO FIND OUT MORE


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 104-105

Delivering accurate results in minutes A state-of-the-art VetScan VS2 Chemistry Analyzer was the solution to a difficult problem faced by a Queensland veterinarian It was a great moment for Dr Ian Trueman when he opened his second veterinary practice. His first practice, Esk Veterinary Services in Esk, QLD, was going from strength to strength and the time seemed right to expand his reach. So, Fernvale Vet Surgery, in the nearby town of Vernor, became a sister practice early last year. Dr Trueman and his team care passionately about the health and welfare of animals. Currently the Fernvale clinic operates a VetScan VS2 Chemistry Analyzer to supply quality laboratory results within 12 minutes. This stateof-the-art analyser was the solution to a difficult problem faced by the practitioner. Dr Trueman always planned to run both haematology and biochemistry machines at the Fernvale clinic. However, when he sat down and did a cost analysis of running blood tests on a number

VetScan VS2 Chemistry Analyzer

of different brands of machines, he received a bit of a surprise. “It was simply not cost effective for us to purchase and run those machines,” he says. “A hefty maintenance and service contract was attached to all those units. The maintenance scheduling required weekly, fortnightly and monthly flushes along with general cleaning. No practitioner can run any diagnostic machine at a loss.” Fortunately, he found a solution with the VetScan VS2 Chemistry Analyzer. This powerful piece of equipment is a chemistry, electrolyte, immunoassay and blood gas analyser that delivers accurate results in a short period of time. These results can be achieved with just two drops of whole blood, serum or plasma. “The cost analysis of using the VetScan is very favourable,” says Dr Trueman. “The running costs were such good value that I’m able to offer my Fernvale clients a full suite of testing options. It’s also very easy to use. When you have a variety of team members with differing skill levels, training them how to collect a blood sample and run the blood sample through the machine can be very time consuming. “But the VetScan is so easy to use that staff can learn the process quickly and achieve consistent results every time. Generally, they feel very comfortable using the machine within a couple of shifts.” Dr Trueman was also happy with the level of maintenance required by the VetScan. “The maintenance schedule is very light compared to other analysers on the market,” he says. “This means staff spend much less time cleaning and calibrating. This machine is a very well designed and incredibly durable piece of equipment.” Dr Trueman was also impressed with the support available from REM Systems. “REM Systems has a great team of people


Dr Ian Trueman

here in Australia,” he says. “It’s easy to ring up and get local support about any issues or questions you may have. Whether you need technical support or a service person, the issue is resolved very quickly—usually within 24 hours.” Dr Trueman’s new clinic at Fernvale is busy with their large—and expanding— client base. The VetScan VS2 Chemistry Analyzer is an essential part of their diagnostic service, and clients appreciate the fast results that the machine supplies. “The VetScan VS2 is an integral part of our clinic,” says the practitioner. “I’ve been using REM Systems and its Abaxis machines since 2006 so I was familiar with the high-quality support and efficiency of the equipment. I couldn’t be happier with this beautifully design analyser.”

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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 106

The PAW by Blackmores story All PAW by Blackmores products are formulated specifically for pets, taking into consideration their health needs and requirements, and drawing on Blackmores’ expertise in quality natural ingredients to provide the best of care for your pet. Originally created by veterinarian Dr Alister Webster, the PAW by Blackmores natural healthcare range continues to be developed by Australian vets to deliver clinically proven products that give you the solutions needed for your pet’s health. PAW by Blackmores ranges consists of: l High-quality, evidence-based nutraceuticals, created by vets to meet the many challenges and needs faced in everyday clinical cases. l Unique and innovative dermatology products, created utilising our awardwinning PAWderm technology. Nutraceuticals As our patients are living longer and becoming a more integral part of the family, our clients are seeking more long term, health supportive solutions for their pets. Just as many of them are taking nutraceutical supplements themselves, they are often wanting to be able to support their pet’s health in the same way. PAW by Blackmores provides the most comprehensive veterinary range of evidence based nutraceuticals to support your patient’s needs. Our range includes solutions for: l Joint health l Natural anti-inflammatory solutions l Digestive health l Senior care l Behavioural support l Cardiovascular health l Clinical dermatology l Liver health l General wellbeing. Dermatology At PAW by Blackmores, we have developed a range of unique shampoos, conditioners and topical products, designed to both clean and nourish the

skin and coat, as we support the treatment of many clinical skin conditions. Uniquely our focus is always on helping to support the natural function of the skin to be able to function as a barrier. The health of our skin and the management of many skin conditions is often linked to how well the skin is able to perform its barrier function. A healthy skin barrier helps to regulate the moisture content of the skin, while helping to protect against allergens and infections. Unfortunately, many ingredients commonly found in shampoos can damage this important barrier and reduce its ability to perform this function. At PAW by Blackmores we developed our award-winning pawDerm® technology, which we use in all our topical skin and coat treatments. It enables us to meet the needs and wants of pet owners, while maintaining and supporting healthy skin. Our products include: l Everyday grooming range l NutriDerm shampoo – soothing wash for itchy dogs l MediDerm shampoo – a unique nonstripping, non-toxic medicated shampoo l Both MediDerm and NutriDerm conditioners – soothing, nourishing and barrier supporting conditioners/creams. Product highlight: MediDerm Shampoo Recent advances in veterinary dermatology and epidermal (skin) barrier function have significantly improved the ability to treat skin conditions. Traditionally, control of microbial colonisation and proliferation, and reduction of pruritus and inflammation has been the main focus for the treatment of skin infection. Recent studies have identified that preservation (and replenishment) of the skin barrier is now a crucial factor in managing skin infections, as barrier dysfunction or deficiency results in increased susceptibility to skin infection. MediDerm is the first Piroctone Olamine based medicated shampoo for dogs available in the Australian market.


PAW MediDerm® Gentle Medicated Shampoo is an effective low-irritant antibacterial and antifungal shampoo that is gentle on the skin. Combining Piroctone Olamine with pawDerm® sulphate-free technology, PAW MediDerm Shampoo: l Effectively treats pyoderma and seborrhoea, and pruritus associated with these conditions l Controls Staphylococcus intermedius and Malassezia pachydermatis l Preserves skin barrier function l Removes scaly skin and grease l Manages recurrent skin infections. Safe, faster, gentler It is also able to do this in a safer, faster and gentler way than other products available in the market. Safer: PAW MediDerm Shampoo contains the veterinary active ingredient Piroctone Olamine and pawDerm® sulphate-free cleansers for a low-irritant shampoo that is gentle on a pet’s skin. Piroctone Olamine is not scheduled and does not require irritancy safety directions for human skin, or the use of gloves and goggles for the user. Faster: Only a five-minute contact time required; allowing for a faster, more convenient dog-washing time and improved treatment compliance. Gentler: PAW MediDerm Shampoo is a low-irritant shampoo that uses pawDerm® sulphatefree technology to minimise the impact on skin barrier function. This makes PAW MediDerm Shampoo ideal for long-term management of recurrent skin infections. Ideally, use PAW MediDerm Shampoo in conjunction with PAW NutriDerm Conditioner with CerasineTM, the innovative skin nutrient complex: with ceramides and essential fatty acids (omega oils) to intensively moisturise the skin for optimal skin hydration and a healthy skin barrier.

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Gentle Medicated Shampoo For pets with: • Skin conditions causing recurrent skin infections • Pyoderma • Seborrhoea • Pruritus associated with these conditions


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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 134-135

VetPartners: Join us, stay you

VetPartners provides a flexible approach—discover an exit strategy tailored for you

With 110 practices in the VetPartners portfolio, the company is a true success story in the Australian veterinary landscape. It offers business owners who wish to sell their practice an opportunity to partner with a group that lets them stay as involved as they like. “We now have 110 leading community veterinary practices and they all operate differently,” says Kristy Murphy, Acquisitions Director at VetPartners. “Every hospital’s needs are unique so the level of support we provide is customised to their individual needs. This allows us to stay true to our vision of ‘Join us, stay you’.” Murphy has been the Acquisitions Director for the past 16 months and is responsible for the growth of the organisation. When a clinic chooses to partner with VetPartners, she takes them right through the acquisition process, covering everything from the initial conversations, due diligence and evaluation process until handing over to the Integrations team who are responsible for onboarding the clinic into the VetPartners family. “I like to meet everyone face to face,” says Murphy. “It’s a really good way to get a feel for each individual practice and to build a relationship with the people involved.” When owners are thinking of retiring or even if you just want to be relinquished of some management duties then they need to have a succession plan in place while ensuring the legacy they have built is protected. “We stay true to our philosophy, of ‘Join us, stay you’,” says Murphy. “We make minimal changes to the practice. We stay true to your vision and brand, celebrate your culture and respect the way you practise medicine. We protect your staff, maintaining their entitlements, wages and conditions. We aim to ensure your legacy will continue long into the future.”

There are obvious benefits when a practice joins VetPartners. Often veterinarians want to be relinquished of administration duties such as payroll and accounts payable so they can focus more time on being a vet. “We also have numerous support functions that all our practices have access to such as Marketing, Recruitment & Retention, Human Resources, Learning & Development, and IT. VetPartners support services are opt in and we are available to assist you with as much or as little as you would like.” Every VetPartners clinic is supported by a Regional Operations Manager. They are the first point-of-call for any hospital needs. Their role is to ensure the Kristy Murphy of VetPartners clinic is supported and they are utilising the support services as needed. Murphy says: “VetPartners is passionate “Our senior management team have about positioning themselves as an an open-door policy for all VetPartners employer of choice within the industry, employees,” says Murphy. “We maintain focusing on developing their vets and an ongoing and open relationship with our practices. They understand the importance vendors, working in partnership to ensure of a good lifestyle balance and provide a the ongoing success of each practice.” range of options for vets who join the group.” For vendors who are thinking It’s never too early to explore your about succession planning strategies, options—the AVA Conference is an they’re more than welcome to visit the ideal opportunity to have a confidential VetPartners stand at the AVA Conference conversation and gather accurate information and have a chat with Kristy Murphy. Derek about all aspects of the process. Del Simone, the Recruitment Director, will also be available at the VetPartners Meet the VetPartners team at Stand 134stand for veterinarians who are looking for 135 during the AVA Conference. For more exciting opportunities in the industry. information, visit


Join VetPartners and do what you do best, practice medicine. Every veterinarian has a different reason for choosing VetPartners Dr. Jason Bassett & Dr. Scott Rogers of Montrose and New Norfolk Vets have joined the growing number of veterinarians who have sold to VetPartners, with no change to their brand, culture or heritage. Andrew Nicoholson set up two clinics in 1978 with Jason and Scott becoming partners 14 and 12 years ago. Jason and Scott have been looking for a succession plan to allow Andrew to transition into retirement, while still remaining partners. They needed someone to look after the “back office” duties of the clinic, rather than taking on more responsibilty if they became two partners. VetPartners allows you to practice your best medicine, while they help to look after the daily running of your business.

“VetPartners were very clear from the outset, defining what VetPartners stood for, and what they could bring to the table.” “VetPartners are supportive, and always checking if they can help in anyway.” “VetPartners are always there to help and our staff are now getting more support.” - Dr. Jason Basset & Dr. Scott Rogers

For a confidential discussion call Kristy Murphy on 0411 292 299 or send an email to


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 74-77

Antinol® PCSO-524® Antinol® is the latest advancement for a multimodal approach to managing arthritic signs in dogs, offering veterinarians an effective, safe and versatile long-term option. Randomised controlled trials have demonstrated the efficacy of Antinol®. A major benefit of Antinol® is that safety studies have shown no side effects for long-term use. There are no contraindications* for Antinol®, so it can be combined with NSAIDs, cartrophen and other osteoarthritis medications for enhanced case management options and patient mobility outcomes. The active ingredient of Antinol®, PCSO-524®, is a unique marine lipid concentrate extracted from the native New Zealand mollusc, Perna canaliculus. Although it comes from a natural source, decades of published peer-reviewed research firmly establishes Antinol®

as superior to other natural joint support products. The quality of Antinol® can be attributed to the patented extraction and stabilisation processes used to produce PCSO524®. Production is tightly monitored by both government and internal protocols with full traceability from raw material to finished goods. This proprietary process ensures Antinol® is free of contaminants, such as heavy metals, toxins and pesticides. Antinol® is 100% lipids, so there are no seafood proteins that may result in allergies. It is also salt free, and free of other controversial

ingredients such as shark cartilage. Antinol® gives veterinarians an effective, safe and versatile option when it comes to best practice management of their patients suffering arthritic symptoms. *Not tested in pregnant and lactating dogs.

How smart is your laser? The K-laser Platinum 4 therapeutic laser is the FIRST smart laser on the market. With a detachable touchscreen interface that runs on Android platform, and an improved liquid-cooled diode,

the K-laser Platinum 4 now delivers an even higher dose of energy in a shorter amount of time. The improved cooling of the diode also reduces diode degradation over time and stops fluctuation in power. The new Platinum 4 model comes standard with 3 handpieces (flat lens, convex lens and ENT attachment) and a smart setting in the laser recognises which attachment is connected and adjusts the laser output to suit the front attachment. It also contains intuitive pre-programmed protocols for common conditions, and features handy “how-to” videos that can be watched straight on the device! Laser therapy can be used in over 80% of your patients, increasing circulation, reducing pain and inflammation and improving tissue regeneration and healing. Common conditions that can be treated include arthritis, postsurgical wound healing, trauma, otitis, cystitis and lick granulomas.


The latest release now also includes a performance tracker, offering real-time revenue and performance tracking. The performance tracking app indicates the number of treatments provided by species and condition, and the app allows the clinic owner to set the revenue generated per treatment, allowing a snapshot of revenue generated in a specified timeframe. There have been ample studies showing the efficacy of laser therapy in treating and addressing different conditions. The question is no longer “Does laser therapy work?” but rather “How can I integrate it into my practice and make it work for me?” Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will use no medicine.” We believe the doctor of the future will use a K-laser – are you ready to be a doctor of the future? For more information, contact Cenvet Australia on 1300CENVET or visit

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Dependable DR panels configured your way D-EVO flat panel detectors easily convert your existing x-ray equipment into DR. Includes Fujifilm Patented ISS technology with a 3 second image preview. With the unique trickle charge option, you can protect your investment by not having to change the battery on a daily basis.

Be Smart – Fujifilm DR technology has evolved to now include: Smart Protection for increased durability and waterproofing. Smart Mobility with an ultra-light weight panel that has internal panel image storage. Stores up to 100 images. Smart Quality – To achieve higher DQE by ISS (Irradiated Side Sampling) + SuperGos or CsI combined with a noise reduction circuit. Be Smart - Call us today for your on-site demonstration.

Datalys V5 & V7 Patient Monitors A new way to approach ultrasound scanning Vet specific algorithms make diagnostics easier. Patient files, reports, annotations, specific measurements, are all adapted to veterinary practice. Features ECHOTouch, ECHOVoice and ECHOPad. Now available: EXAPad mini.



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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 102-103

“The iM3 Vet-Tome offers a paradigm shift in the way we, as veterinarians, extract teeth in our patients”

“I got to use the Vet-Tome for the first time last week. I was extracting a lower canine in a Staffy dog—the nemesis for most practitioners. Normally, I would raise flaps on both the lateral and medial sides of the tooth. I would also remove bone on both sides of the tooth, and then with the use of luxators and elevators and a fair amount of angst, I would extract the tooth with the fear of fracturing the lower jaw in the back of my mind. The dog would then be left with a fairly big hole as well as bone loss from the surgical extraction and the flap would then be sutured over this cavernous hole. I figured that hopefully in the future, something would arrive that would take away the fear, the sweat and sometimes the tears that have been associated with difficult extractions. The future has arrived. The Vet-Tome is

a mechanical periotome with 1-10 power settings that follows and cuts the periodontal ligament. It can be used 360 degrees around the tooth. The idea is that you normally do not need to remove alveolar bone, but the Vet-Tome creates a space around the tooth and will loosen the tooth. In my hands, I then use elevators to elevate the tooth out of the socket, finally allowing for extraction forceps to finish the job. The hole that is left is much smaller than in a surgical extraction. The Vet-Tome gives you the ability to perform a truly minimally invasive extraction, which means more rapid socket healing and less pain for the pet. In my humble opinion, the Vet-Tome will be a game changer for the veterinary profession.” By Anthony Caiafa BVSc BDSc MANZCVS.


Above left: Intraoral radiograph of tooth 404 (right lower canine) showing complicated crown fracture and lysis at the apex of this tooth, associated with pulp necrosis and apical periodontitis. Above right: : A post-operative radiograph is taken to confirm complete removal of the tooth with no iatrogenic damage to surrounding structures. Below: Vet-Tome in use.

– The Veterinary Dental Company New from iM3, introducing the


The Vet-Tome improves the tooth removal process for both vets and their patients by providing greater control during extractions. The Vet-Tome is an automated periotome that offers extremely precise tooth extraction with minimal or no alveolar bone loss. The surgery is often flapless so the animal experiences reduced pain and swelling. This translates to less time spent extracting teeth and faster recovery time for the animal.

iM3 Pty Ltd - The Veterinary Dental Company 21 Chaplin Drive, Lane Cove, Sydney NSW 2066 Australia p +61 2 9420 5766 f +61 2 9420 5677 e

Th e Ve te r i n a r y D e n t a l Co m p a ny


AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 90-93

Oralade: The first choice for acute gastrointestinal issues

Early nutritional support is essential for a successful outcome in many acute gastrointestinal diseases. Here are highlights from an article by Jörg M. Steiner, PhD, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, AGAF

One of the physiological principles that plays an important role in the gastrointestinal tract is that alimentation of the gastrointestinal mucosa is achieved both by supply of nutrients through the blood, but also through direct absorption of nutrients from the intestinal lumen. Many patients with acute gastrointestinal diseases, such as acute pancreatitis or acute haemorrhagic gastroenteritis show vomiting and/or anorexia. This in turn leads to an overall decrease in the uptake of nutrients that can be digested and absorbed. The lack of nutritional support of enterocytes and thus the intestinal mucosa has an impact on intestinal barrier function and could lead to bacterial translocation and even sepsis. This overall lack of supply of nutrients and energy is contrasted by an increased demand for nutrients and energy. Many acute gastrointestinal diseases are associated with damage to enterocytes in the lining of the GI Tract. Naturally they must be replaced by new tissue, which requires nutritional building blocks as well as energy. Because of this imbalance of nutrient and energy supply and demand during acute gastrointestinal conditions, these conditions are often associated with a loss of body mass and other complications. There are some important guidelines for the nutritional support of dogs and cats with acute gastrointestinal diseases:

Early nutritional support for improved outcomes Nutritional support should be initiated as early as possible in dogs and cats with acute gastrointestinal disorders. Using resources from the body for repair places additional demands on an animal that is already experiencing major stress from acute illness and this can have a negative impact on outcome. However, providing nutritional support can reverse this imbalance and thus have a positive impact on outcome. Nutritional support of a patient with acute gastrointestinal disease During the acute phase of GI disease, it can be difficult to find a suitable diet, which is readily consumed by the patient and does not place additional stress on the intestinal mucosa. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) may be a great choice.

It is important to note that patients who are moderately to severely dehydrated do require intravenous rehydration, but ORT products contain small quantities of nutrients that can easily be assimilated, and these will usually be preferred over water by most patients and can be offered alongside IV fluids, and as they are withdrawn. One example of such an ORT product is Oralade. It has been shown to be well consumed by both dogs and cats. ORT has an added benefit that it stimulates overall oral intake of patients that are anorexic, which may stimulate food intake. ORT may alleviate the need for a feeding tube. When the animal has returned to a normal appetite, the suitable GI diet should be chosen with the specific characteristics, depending on the gastrointestinal disease at hand. To request the full article by Dr Jörg M. Steiner, contact DLC or download now at

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l Nutritional support should be initiated as early as possible, l Enteral alimentation should be chosen whenever possible, and l The condition of the patient must be considered when choosing a diet.


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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 60

The advantage of veterinary content marketing THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE 1. How veterinary content marketing is different to advertising 2. What clients are actually buying from you 3. What sets your clinic apart from competitors Veterinary content marketing is different to advertising, even if the ultimate aims are the same. You want people to bring their pets into your clinic because you want to help the pets, and because that’s how you make a living. You know what you’re selling, and you use ads to sell those products and services. The content approach is different, though, because it focuses on what people are buying. They’re the same thing, though, aren’t they? Well, no, they’re not. If you look at your practice from the outside, and compare it to your nearest competitor, you’ll probably look the same. Your signage, your staff uniforms, the layout of your waiting room … they’ll all be pretty similar. What’s more, if someone runs in with a vomiting dog or a cat with a broken limb, you’ll probably treat the problems in a similar way to the vet up the street. From a customer’s point of view, then, you’re offering a commodity. How could they distinguish between what you do, and what the vet up the road does? It would be like standing in the supermarket, comparing different brands of orange juice. They’re all orange. They’re all juice. May as well go for the cheap one because there’s no other difference between them. Your services aren’t a commodity— they just look like one. There’s a small part of me that hopes you’re a little insulted by that last paragraph. Because I know, and you know, that you are different from the vet up the road. Your knowledge and authority comes from years of study, and a gruelling and underpaid apprenticeship, and your

own lifetime of fascination and love for animals. No other vet has the same mix of experience and passion that you do. Even if they have the same degree. They haven’t lived your life, or learnt the things you’ve learnt. But instead of sharing that with people, you’re buying ads to sell pet grooming, or other company’s flea and tick treatments. There’s nothing wrong with selling that stuff. They’re among your products and services. But if they are the only things you promote about your practice, you’re on equal footing with everyone else who is selling the same thing. When you look at the really successful and admirable vets in the profession—the Howard Ralphs and the Rod Straws and the Rick Fennys of the business—they’re (mostly) selling the same products and services as you. But the thing that makes them stand out is their authority. The veterinary content marketing advantage. The content marketing approach to promoting your clinic can be done


well or poorly. When it’s done well, the content on your website—the articles and videos and whatever else—uses your unique knowledge and experience to help people recognise problems. Your content tells good news stories that no-one else knows. When done badly, by the way, it just talks about stuff people can buy from you. Veterinary content marketing is a process of sharing useful, entertaining, interesting content with people who, in return, give you their trust. You can’t cram that kind of information into a two-line Google Ad or a tile of a Facebook post. You can’t demand trust and authority from people. And it’s foolish to expect it. It can only be given to you. But you can use your knowledge and expertise to help people give you their trust. And following on from that, they will give you their business. To learn more about how we can help, visit or come to the Vet Practice Stand 60 at the AVA conference.

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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 70-73

A true marker of GFR IDEXX SDMA® offers some distinct advantages that every veterinarian should understand In April 2018, IDEXX SDMA® has become available on the Catalyst Chemistry as an in-house test. Here we review its advantages and interpretation. SDMA (symmetric dimethylarginine) is a reliable biomarker for assessing kidney function, because it has been established as an accurate marker of GFR. Produced during the metabolism of Arginine, SDMA is released into circulation when intracellular protein is broken down. Once in circulation, it is almost exclusively eliminated by the kidneys. Like any other parameter, SDMA should be used as a complement to other renal markers and interpreted considering the patients’ history and physical exam. Crucially, it does offer several advantages when compared to creatinine as the most common marker used in practice: 1. SDMA is more tightly related to GFR than creatinine*. 2. SDMA increases earlier than creatinine as GFR falls (reliably at 40% loss of renal mass, and as early as 25% loss as opposed to 75% loss for creatinine)*. 3. SDMA is more specific than creatinine, as it is not affected by alterations in lean body mass*. Because of these advantages, it is vital that you DO NOT ignore an increased SDMA result, as it reflects a reduced GFR and requires investigation. In the majority cases it is indicative of kidney disease. While this can IDEXX SDMA® now available on the Catalyst Chemistry Platform.

IDEXX SDMA® is an essential part of the modern chemistry panel.

often be explained by chronic kidney disease, an elevated SDMA result can also occur with pre- or post-renal disease. It is important to remember that a persistently increased SDMA level represents an opportunity to evaluate a patient to determine if there is something affecting renal function which can be managed. The physical examination is valuable in these cases as it facilitates the identification of dehydration or signs of post-renal disease. The next step with an elevated SDMA result should always be a complete urinalysis to look for other signs of urinary tract disease. In patients with a mild increase in SDMA (15–19 ug/dL), no clinical signs of kidney disease and unremarkable urine, repeat the SDMA test in 2-4 weeks time. If the SDMA remains increased, or there are clinical signs of disease, or the increase in SDMA is more marked, further investigation is warranted. This includes blood pressure measurement, a UPC ratio, possibly a urine culture or leptospiral testing, and perhaps an abdominal ultrasound. Significantly, the International Renal Interest Society has incorporated


IDEXX SDMA® into its diagnostic, staging and management scheme for CKD. IDEXX SDMA® will allow practitioners to more simply identify kidney disease, including IRIS Stage 1 CKD. This diagnosis will allow practitioners to take steps to manage these patients appropriately, protect the kidneys and potentially slow disease progression. Management should include treating anything found during the investigation, free access to water, and the use of a highquality diet with appropriate phosphate levels. It is important to take care when using nephrotoxic drugs – these may still be indicated in some cases – such as a CKD dog or cat with osteoarthritis. Where NSAIDs are required for quality of life, use the lowest dose possible and potentially a combination with other drugs. Care should be taken with anaesthesia to ensure patients are hydrated and hypotension is avoided. In cases with kidney disease identified, more frequent monitoring may be required. Ultimately, creatinine is one of the most commonly tested analytes in small animal medicine. So if you are going to include creatinine in your biochemistry panel, why not include IDEXX SDMA® as an essential part of the modern chemistry panel? Contact IDEXX on 1300 44 33 99 or email * Data on file at IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, Maine

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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 108-109

ILIUM BUCCALGESIC OTM alleviates pain in sheep and cattle during routine husbandry procedures Pain is commonly experienced by all animals whether it be acute or chronic. Pets brought into the clinic to be de-sexed, an aged racing horse with arthritis or routine on-farm livestock husbandry procedures are all instances where a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is needed to relieve pain and in inflammation. Treatment of pain can be challenging as signs can differ between individual animals, even animals within the same species. The behavioural changes need to be monitored by your clients so you can tailor the best pain-management program for their animal. The responsibility in clinic is to ensure that the animal’s wellbeing is maintained once discharged or in recovery. Due to induced

hypersensitisation and neuroplasticity, pain is more difficult to control once it occurs. Administration of ILIUM MELOXICAM before surgery—i.e. at the time of premedication—maximises and extends its efficiency, reduces the overall analgesic requirement, eases patient handling and reduces post-surgical morbidity. ILIUM MELOXICAM has the most approved uses across registered species in Australia with multiple delivery methods making it a market innovator for NSAIDs in Australia. ILIUM MELOXICAM is available as an injection and oral suspension for dogs and cats, an oral suspension for horses and foals, an injection for cattle and pigs and a solution for oral trans-mucosal (OTM) absorption

for sheep and cattle. ILIUM MELOXCAM is proven to alleviate both acute and chronic musculoskeletal disorders and to reduce post-operative pain and in inflammation. The newest member of the ILIUM MELOXICAM family is ILIUM BUCCALGESIC OTM, for the alleviation of pain associated with routine husbandry procedures on any occasion where the animal will benefit from pain relief including mulesing, castration, tail docking, lameness, surgical procedures, and injuries sustained during shearing. The routine husbandry procedures performed on livestock are necessary—not just for ease of handling and convenience of the veterinarian and farmer, but for the productivity and longterm welfare of the animal.

AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 85

Therian design solutions for your practice Meet architect Bryan King who’s happy to discuss design elements for your veterinary practice at the Therian stand. Bryan King has seen a lot of changes in veterinary practice design. The US-born architect has been in business for nearly 30 years, specialising in veterinary hospital design for the past 16 years. “One of the big changes is the way practices operate,” says King. “They are either becoming more generalised or moving towards more specialisation. Many practices are very sophisticated these days.” As a design leader at Therian, a firm that specialises in the design and construction of pet-care facilities, King has seen the growth of large specialty practices and the conglomeration of lots of different specialty services. “There has been a real change in the way practices use diagnostic imaging

and X-ray equipment,” he says. “Dark rooms don’t exist anymore as everything is digital. However, every room and every workstation has a computer. This must be anticipated and planned during the design stage.” Companion animals have a very big place in families now and that comes with an expectation of a higher level of care. This means that first impressions are vitally important. “Pet owners invariably equate the quality of care with the design of the facility,” says King. “An expectation of a high level of care translates to an aesthetic that shows the same high quality.” The use of an expert design team when undergoing a refit ensures the process goes smoothly and the end result ticks all the

boxes. “When most vets decide to take on a project, they need to consider time and budget, and get the Bryan King process started early. “They also need to know what they’re trying to achieve and which services they want to provide. Once they have a vision, we plan and design their new practice with the most efficient use of space and an aesthetic to impress. It’s an exciting process!” Visit

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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 123

ARO Systems tailors solutions ARO Systems is focused on helping veterinary practices access the latest high-quality, vet-specific imaging equipment. With over 20 years’ experience in medical and veterinary technology, our team has the expertise to recommend the perfect solution, to deliver it and the support to ensure it keeps working. We began addressing the needs of vets at a time when the landscape was dominated by adapted medical tools poorly suited for veterinary use. We are proud to have been part of the early push for vet-specific imaging equipment and continue to help vets modernise their practices and ready

themselves into the future. Well aware that each practice has unique technology needs, we work closely with owners and veterinarians to tailor a solution that maximises value for their practices and patients.
We offer our clients the best digital imaging solutions available by partnering with industry leaders. This year we’d like to introduce our new partner: Inovadent and our DICOM Veterinary Cloud Service.

How we can help you with imaging solutions in your practice • Veterinary DICOM Cloud Storage Solutions • In-house Image Storage Solutions (PACS) • Radiation Safety Consulting and Design • Radiation Room and Equipment Certification • Radiation Protection & Positioning Equipment • Fixed and Portable X-Ray Equipment • Computed Radiography Systems • Digital Radiography Systems • Fundus Cameras • Customised Website Solutions Backed by a Team of Experienced Onsite and Remote Support Specialists

AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Stand number 21

Parnell’s new vision

Parnell has set the bar high with its new innovative plant in Sydney Forward-thinking Parnell Pharmaceuticals manufactures sterile injectable products for animals and is capable to manufacture these for humans, and medicated chews for pets. Its new facility has the full range of approvals (FDA, EMA, APVMA and many others) and is dedicated to high-quality, stringently controlled manufacturing processes. In January this year, Brad McCarthy was made CEO after a long career with Parnell. He joined the business as CFO in 2010 where he orchestrated the raising of over US$70 million in debt financing and an IPO in 2014. He also took on the role of chief operating officer in 2012 to facilitate the successful FDA approval of the manufacturing division. “We are not range sellers at Parnell,” says McCarthy. “We are experts in three areas— reproduction, mobility and manufacturing. We are also very successful in all three areas.” A lack of reproduction is one of the greatest causes of economic loss on a dairy farm. If a cow’s not in calf, she won’t be milking and

the owners are unable to get a return on that asset. “At Parnell, we employ reproductive experts, many with artificial insemination backgrounds, to help farmers, producers and veterinarians get a better reproductive outcome,” says McCarthy. “Their expertise is complemented by our reproductive products, GONAbreed® and estroPLAN®, and our business intelligence tool, mySYNCH®.” Parnell are also experts in osteoarthritis in companion animals and how it affects mobility. Two of their products have had success improving the quality of life of afflicted animals. GLYDE is a chewable treat that can be given every day. ZYDAX is a set of four injections administered by a vet. Together Zydax and Glyde form Parnell’s DUAL JOINT CARE mobility program which is the “Gold Standard” for osteoarthritis protection and restoring youthful mobility in your patients. The manufacturing arm of Parnell is creating a range of sterile injectables along with treats and chewable products. Its new

Brad McCarthy, Parnell CEO

facility also has approval for the manufacture of highly potent actives under an aseptic process. Additionally, Parnell has embarked on contract manufacturing out of its facility. “There are few facilities in Australia focused on providing contract manufacturing opportunities for animal health for the global market, especially with FDA & EMEA approvals,” says McCarthy. “We can manufacture a batch from 10 litres up to 1000 litres and are very open to talking with veterinarians or people who have products in development or as a concept.”

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AVA 2018 Annual Conference guide

Human factors in problem management Dr Nathan Koch, veterinarian and pilot, looks at the philosophy of problem management. See how vets and nurses can implement this into their practice from an anaesthesia perspective.

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When he was growing up, Nathan Koch was torn between being a veterinarian and a pilot. So he did the only sensible thing—he became both. After graduating as a vet, he worked in a mixed practice and began flying lessons at a small local airfield. He spent years juggling veterinary work with his climb up the ranks of pilots. Today he flies for Qantas. The marriage of these two careers has given Dr Koch a unique insight into the way human factors affect both veterinary surgery and flying. Human anaesthesia, for instance, has been explored in this field, drawing inspiration from aircrew training. “It’s rare that accidents occur in aviation but while causal factors could include faulty airplanes or equipment, the human element has to be considered,” says Dr Koch. “So pilots are acutely aware of the importance of communication, leadership and team work.” After completing a Graduate Certificate of Technology (Aviation Human Factors), Dr Koch used his training to explore the human factor in the veterinary world. “Decision-making and communication are at the heart of good veterinary procedures,” says Dr Koch. “It’s all about the entire team knowing what’s going on and everyone being on the same page. All staff must feel comfortable in speaking up if they feel the need. “The other important elements are leadership and followership, especially in emergency situations. When it comes to operating and managing anaesthesia, too many cooks running around is a recipe for disaster.” Dr Koch reiterates the importance of having the whole team up to speed and involved—everyone from the kennel staff and receptionists to the veterinary surgeons and owners. “A simple way to address the problem of the human factor is to have a short briefing about each case,” says Dr Koch. “By encouraging open communication, everyone feels empowered to speak up and information is freely shared. There are four elements that minimise the negative impact of the human factor—decisionmaking, teamwork, leadership and communication.” For more information on Advanced Anaesthesia Specialists, call (02) 9808 1844.

Tel: 02 9808 1844




This month, our vets review an anaesthesia monitor, a heated breathing unit, a wireless X-ray system, and much more. .

of the

Canon CXDI – 701C wireless X-ray system by Dr Emma Billing, New England Veterinary Service, Armidale, NSW When we first opened, we had an antiquated CR system and the quality was poor. It was non-diagnostic and we couldn’t use it with anything over 10kg. We needed to upgrade and decided to go top of the range with the Canon CXDI-701C wireless. What’s good about it The wireless system is great when working out in the field. If a horse stands on one of the cords, that’s it for the day. This portable unit is great for use in the surgery or out on a call. It just requires the plate, the laptop and an X-ray generator. The software is already loaded on the accompanying laptop and the images are superb. You can do a lot of things with each image such as taking measurements and angles, and adjusting magnification and contrast. The images are easy to export and can be stored on a server. It only uses one plate that fits all situations. The software crops the image down and formats it. If you want to take three chest views, you choose a right lateral, a VD and a left lateral and the software lines it up. The image appears on the laptop and if you’re happy, the software moves to the next view. I can take three chest views in a minute. The plate itself comes with two batteries that last about five hours each. All in all it’s an exceptionally convenient system.

Cardell Touch Monitor by Kelly Byrne VN, Maldon Vet Clinic, VIC Even though we generally use this monitor when an animal is under general anaesthetic, we sometimes use it during consultations because it can easily measure blood pressure. It also monitors a range of other parameters such as oxygen saturation and heart rate. It’s a very handy piece of equipment. What’s good about it The Cardell Monitor is attached to the animal by a probe that clamps onto the animal’s tongue. This gives a reading for the heart rate and oxygen saturation. An inflatable cuff measures blood pressure. Its readings are very accurate. We do trust it fairly heavily but I still double-check it with a stethoscope and by monitoring the visuals. Invariably, the readings are correct. The display screen is small but easy to read. A quick glance is all you need to access the information. We’ve been using this unit constantly for the past few years and never had any issues with it. You just have to ensure it is charged before going into surgery. The clamps are not autoclavable but can be easily cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol.

What’s not so good The software that comes with this system is not veterinary specific—it is designed for humans. It’s a minor issue but annoying when trying to navigate around initially. Where did you get it DLC (

What’s not so good The only negative I’ve noticed is that when doing a dental on a dog, their tongue can get a bit slippery and the clamp sometimes slips off. If there was an attachment that held it onto the tongue a bit better, that would be great. Where did you get it VetQuip (




of the

Ossability Stifle System by Dr Andres Townsend, Fitzroy Veterinary Hospital, VIC Cruciate ligament disease is one of the most common causes of hind limb lameness in dogs. There are over 10 different types of surgical procedures to address this problem including those that replace the affected ligament and others that render the ligament redundant by changing the biomechanics of the stifle. The new Ossability Stifle System achieves this. What’s good about it This system comes with a 3D printed wedge that is used to advance the tibial tuberosity. The material is a titanium mesh that’s biocompatible. It doesn’t react like a foreign material and integrates very well to the bone. This system is designed so that the procedure is more repeatable and there are less chances of subjective human error. It also provides a measuring guide that is hooked on the bone and determines the correct location for the osteotomy. It’s virtually foolproof. The other advantage this system provides is the opportunity to receive specialist assessment of a particular case. You can send your radiographs to a board-certified specialist surgeon prior to surgery. They will review the case and send back a report on how to successfully complete the surgery. This is helpful for surgeons who haven’t had much experience with this type of procedure. In the hands of a capable surgeon it’s a quick procedure and the results are great. I’ve been very happy with this system.

Darvall Heated Breathing Circuit by Dr Cindy Si, Karrinyup Small Animal Hospital, Gwelup, WA This heated breathing unit is a circuit that delivers anaesthetic gas and oxygen to the animal. It warms up the air that’s inspired by the patient to keep the animal’s temperature regulated. What’s good about it We’ve used this system with many dogs and cats, and it regulates their temperature much better than just inspiring cold air. Patients lose heat very quickly when under anaesthetic and it has always been a battle to keep them warm. It can be easily used on dogs and cats of all sizes and is extremely effective at maintaining their temperature. It has a sensor that is inserted into the oesophagus of the patient. This sensor feeds back to the unit so if the patient is heating up too much, it switches off the heating. It comes with two different sized circuits and an adapter so it can also be used in exotic animals and birds. We’ve been using it regularly for the past eight months and the results have been fantastic. In fact, we are considering purchasing a second unit for our practice.

What’s not so good The wedge is not secured to the osteotomy in any way. However, the wedge is a porous titanium mesh that creates a lot of friction with the bone and that serves as a way of stabilising it in place. Where did you get it Knight Benedikt (

What’s not so good The temperature probe that goes into the animal has a plug that tends to get a bit loose. Sometimes you have to push it back into the unit to get the temperature feedback. At any given time, the temperature is displayed as three different readings that are between .2 and .4 of a degree apart. You need to do a quick calculation to gauge the average. Where did you get it Advanced Anaesthesia Specialists (


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On the grapevine

“My husband and I were keen to get away from Perth and raise our kids in the country. We both have a decent love of wine so it seemed fairly logical to buy a vineyard. We were imagining a small place that would produce wine for family and friends. “It didn’t turn out that way. We ended up buying a 50-acre property with 23 acres under vines. It was an established vineyard with a pretty decent name that had been run down. We had no background in wine-making—or any kind of farming—but threw ourselves into it. “My dad is an amateur winemaker so I picked his brains. We also leant on our neighbours who were in the same position as us 15 years ago. I watched many YouTube videos, did a lot of reading and learnt by trial and error. “Unfortunately, the day our property settled was the same day as the biggest local bushfires in history. The fire came within 10 kilometres of our vineyard and we lost the whole crop to smoke taint. Not a great start to our new venture. “I was still working part-time as a vet and my husband is a FIFO [fly-in fly-out] worker so we put the money we earned

back into the vineyard. Twelve months later, it all came down to a couple of days of harvesting. “We sold most of the grapes and made a small amount of wine. The wine was delivered nine months later and needed to be left for a week before opening. We lasted about an hour. I’ll never forget drinking that first glass of our own wine. “These days we sell 50 tonnes of grapes and turn five tonnes into wine that we market under the 10 Chains label. We have a pretty little cellar door that looks out on a karri forest but we mainly distribute to bottle shops, restaurants and a couple of hotels in our area. Our wine is also available online at our website.


“I’m still working part-time as a vet but when the kids are at school and my husband is at work, I love being out in the vineyard with my dogs. It’s so peaceful. A walk among the vines is a great way to unwind. “It’s very satisfying to produce something you're happy to present to people. I’ve never been a particularly good salesperson but people buy our wine and then come back for more. “It's not a necessity; they just like it and are happy to purchase it again and again. That’s a really nice aspect of wine-making.” You can purchase Kate’s selection of wines at

Interview: Frank Leggett

Dr Kate Woods of Manjimup Veterinary Clinic in WA is robust, independent and of strong character—just like the wine she makes.

An after hours number? That’s an idea we pinched from you We’ve been designing products and services for the medical profession for over 25 years and we’re well aware that your working day doesn’t always end when everyone else goes home. So, we’ve taken a leaf out of your book. In case you need us and our office is closed, we’ll make sure you have a number you can call. It’s not just for emergencies. Our client service centre here in Australia is open round the clock, so we’re always ‘on call’ to provide help when you need it.

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The MOST complete protection against fleas, ticks, heartworm and intestinal worms, in one tasty chew





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See product label for full claim details and directions for use. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. Level 1, 78 Waterloo Road, North Ryde NSW 2113. ABN 53 071 187 285. ®NEXGARD SPECTRA is a registered trademark of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. All rights reserved. SPEC-181035

Vet Practice April 2018  
Vet Practice April 2018