Page 1

JULY 2018 $6.95 GST INCL.


How your brand can improve your business page 19


5 ways to improve staff meetings page 16

SLOW RELEASE Is the non-surgical alternative to castration a costeffective option? page 12


Hi-tech uniforms that offer stretch and style page 23

KEEP CALM Why Dr Andrew and Sarah Hemming are firm believers in the Fear Free technique

See the ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference’s action-packed guide on page 31

page 26

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Contents July 2018

Cover story

Fear factor


Meet the vets practising a Fear Free approach in their clinics to help reduce pets’ fear, anxiety and stress.

News + events

The latest in the veterinary world



Scholarship to remember leading researcher; WSAVA World Congress 2018; APVMA celebrates 25 years; a new vet app launches in Perth; and more.


Your world Let’s talk about sex


Surgical castration used to be the only option but now a non-surgical implant offers an alternative to dog owners.

Your business Come together


Here are five tips to help you ensure your staff meetings are time well spent. On face value



Quality branding and marketing are an investment in your vet practice you definitely want to make.


Dress sense


A consistent uniform policy gives your practice professionalism and credibility.


Product guide


Discover who’s exhibiting in our ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide. Tools of the trade


Reviewed by vets around the country.

Your life

Counting the beat


50 Associate Editor Editor Kerryn Ramsey Kathy Graham

PRACTICE For all editorial or advertising enquiries: Phone (02) 9660 6995 Fax (02) 9518 5600 info@vetpracticemag.com.au

Art Director John Yates

Digital Director Ann Gordon

Sales Director Adam Cosgrove

Contributors Louise Baxter, Meg Crawford, Frank Leggett, Rachel Smith, Sarah Thomas, Heather Vaile

4,750 - CAB audited as at March 2018.


Dr Mark Schembri, an Australian Turf Club vet in NSW, conducts an orchestra with passion and joy.

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

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Cath Beer launches the Jetpets Rescue Awards 2018.

Prizes for pet rescue The inaugural Jetpets Rescue Awards 2018 recently launched in Sydney to celebrate and recognise the achievements in companion animal rescue nationwide.  Animal lovers from rescue groups, animal shelters, pet businesses, the veterinary industry and the media gathered at the Coal Loader Sustainability Centre in Waverton where the awards categories and judges were revealed. The event was hosted by awards founder and pet rescue advocate Cathy Beer of Pets4Life, an

independent education resource for cat and dog owners and those thinking of getting a pet. “I’m excited to launch the Jetpets Rescue Awards 2018,” Beer said. “Companion animal rescue and sheltering has come a long way and it’s time to celebrate their achievements!” This year, Jetpets is the Platinum Rescue Hero and naming partner. The judges are animal welfare veterinarian Dr Anne Fawcett, Village Vets’ Dr Anthony

Bennett, and Dr Michael O’Donoghue, a small animal veterinarian and co-founder of People and Pets, a nationwide pet loss counselling service. Entries close midnight on 31 August. To enter—and for updates on the awards program—visit rescueawards.com.au.

Hi-tech invention Vepalabs, a veterinary point-of-care diagnostics distribution company and M3DICINE, a medical device platform company, have signed a distribution agreement to sell the world’s first veterinary digital AI-enabled stethoscope. The agreement covers sales in Australia and New Zealand and marks the first time a digital AI-enabled stethoscope has been focused on improving the experience and efficiency of acquiring, storing, sharing and diagnosing animal vital sign data. Animals often have a ‘flight or fight’ reaction to seeing a traditional stethoscope, resulting too often in the vet being scratched or bitten. One of


the many benefits of Stethee Vet (above) is that the device can be used by the pet owner with the vet listening and capturing the pet’s vital signs wirelessly or on their mobile device. The animal’s vital signs are instantly uploaded to the cloud where intelligent AI software analyses and compares millions of related vital signs to help the vet make informed diagnostic decisions.


In memory

Australian speaker Dr Lisa Smart

Leading thinkers to speak in Singapore Don’t miss this year’s WSAVA World Congress, a unique gathering of more than 2000 companion animal veterinarians, which takes place from 25-28 September in Singapore. Highlights of this year’s WSAVA World Congress include: l The launch of the WSAVA’s new Global Guidelines for Companion Animal Welfare l A series of outreach programs to enable veterinarians who wish to volunteer their services to gain new experiences and support animal welfare in countries in which companion animal practice is still developing l A ‘Donation Drive’ run by local host,

the Singapore Veterinary Association, to help veterinary students and developing associations in South-east Asia by asking sponsors and delegates to donate equipment; and more! WSAVA World Congress will feature pre-congress workshops on aquatic medicine and practical dentistry and a packed scientific program in which global veterinary and business experts, including a number from Australia, will explore cutting-edge thinking in all aspects of companion animal veterinary care. State-of-the-art lectures from some of the WSAVA’s 2018 Award winners are also included on the program. Visit wsava2018.com.

Celebrate wellness This year the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia would like to encourage everyone to show how much they value vet nurses by becoming an intricate part of the VNCA’s 2018 wellness campaign. Vet nurses bring a high level of energy, focus and professionalism to their work, which can take an emotional toll over time. Like other care professionals, vet nurses are often faced with traumatic

and stressful situations in their jobs. The services they provide to patients and client require empathy and compassion. By making a small online donation at tinyurl.com/ybxhbbwy you can show your support of vet nurses and have your photo appear in the 2018 Vet Nurse Day promotional poster featuring 2017 Vet Nurse of the Year Trish Farry (right) and 2017 Student Vet Nurse of the Year Alice Eade.


The Australian animal health industry has rallied behind the call to establish a scholarship celebrating the memory of Kristina Hacket, one of the country’s most accomplished livestock scientists. Hacket, who passed away last November aged 50 after a year-long battle with brain cancer, was principal researcher at Elanco. Her endeavours resulted in the commercial release of several innovative technologies that improve the health, productivity and welfare of animals in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America. To honour Hacket’s dedication to research in the animal health sector, her many friends and colleagues are raising $140,000 to establish a meritbased scholarship for women studying agriculture, veterinary or animal sciences at the University of Sydney. Elanco and Virbac Australia have each donated $30,000 and are joined by not only individual contributors from Hacket’s wide circle of family and friends, but also member companies of the Veterinary Manufacturers & Distributors Association. Donate to the Kristina Hacket Memorial Scholarship at crowdfunding.sydney.edu. au/project/9117.

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Dr Louisa Fenny, a Pawssum vet, with her dog Ernie.

Pawssum is awesome A new app that enables vets to make home visits and then refers cases needing surgery to selected partner vet clinics recently launched in Perth and will soon launch in Adelaide—after initially setting up in Sydney in 2016. It also operates in Melbourne and Brisbane. Pawssum founder Guy Sharabi said the group was experiencing success, with the technology being embraced by vets looking for more flexibility in their career. “The vet industry is already seeing a casualisation of the workforce with a rise in locum vets, the majority of whom are women, opting to work as locums because of the opportunity to choose their working hours and earn better rates of pay,” Sharabi said. “Services such as ours are sparking the next transformation of the industry

because we offer vets needing a better work-life balance a new level of career personalisation. On top of being able to work only when and where they want to, and to be remunerated at a higher rate, they can opt to only do certain types of vet work, to not work with specific animals or breeds and the like. “The consumer is obviously a crucial factor in this too,” Sharabi added. “They are getting on board because in this day and age where you can order virtually anything online and get it delivered to your door, they want to see their vet—on demand and at home too.”

If readers are interested, they can join the platform as an independent vet or a clinic by contacting vets@pawssum.com.


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Cosy corners Australian pet owners could be coughing out up to $249 million over the winter months from leaving the heating on for their four-legged friend for hours each day, according to comparison site Mozo. Its nationally representative survey into Australia’s winter heating habits found that one in 10 Australian households are leaving the heating on for hours every

day to keep their furry friends cosy and warm while they’re out. Mozo’s research found pet owners aged between 18 and 24 years old were three times more likely to leave the heating on for their pets throughout the day compared to those aged between 54 and 65 years old. “Aussie’s penchant for running the

heating for their pets while they’re not at home could be adding up to $263 to their winter energy bill,” Mozo director Kirsty Lamont said. “Throwing in an extra blanket, hot-water bottle or snuggle disc on those chillier days could go a long way to keeping your pet warm without blowing out your household energy bill,” she added.

Happy anniversary,APVMA The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Originally established in 1993 as the National Registration Authority (NRA), the APVMA has a proud history of scientific expertise and innovation as a national regulator of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals in Australia. APVMA chief executive officer Dr

Chris Parker said the agency’s history as a regulator shows a track record of achievement and 25 years of productive collaboration with other Australian and international regulators. “Our international collaborations have produced solid results for Australian industry, such as the first approval of a new active constituent in 2007 through a joint review with the United


States and Canada, and the first ever trilateral review of a veterinary medicine (Metacam for use on sheep) in 2016,” Dr Parker said. “Our regulation has responded to the demands of a changing climate, new technology and shifting industry practice to keep people and animals safe and support productive agricultural industries.”



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sex Surgical castration used to be the only option but now a non-surgical implant offers an alternative to dog owners unsure if a permanent reduction of testosterone is best for their pet. By Sarah Thomas

Let’s talk about DESEXING IS ONE of the core elements of preventive treatment procedures within any practice. Reasons to opt for surgical castration include population control, medical considerations such as reducing the risk of testicular cancer or prostate problems, and behavioural issues such as aggression, roaming and urine marking. However, not all pet owners feel good about the procedure, citing changes to their dog’s physical appearance and potential health risks as cause for concern. Fortunately, there are alternatives available that don’t have to mean an irreversible procedure. Suprelorin is a reversible nonsurgical castration method developed and launched in Australia in 2007 by Peptech Animal Tech, which was taken over by global animal health pharmaceutical company Virbac in 2011. It’s an implant containing deslorelin, a slow-release gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist which suppresses testosterone. It comes in two formats: a

4.7mg implant which lasts six months and a 9.4mg implant which lasts 12 months. It’s inserted under the skin between the dog’s shoulder blades, without the need for anaesthetic or surgery, and eventually disintegrates over time so it doesn’t need to be removed. Virbac’s senior technical product manager Dr Michelle Murdoch says it’s a quick and simple procedure vets can offer to pet owners, and it doesn’t involve pets being left at the clinic for the day. “It’s also useful for dogs where owners or the vet are concerned that castration may not be best for that particular animal,” she says. “They can use it for a trial to see if reducing testosterone will improve the situation or not, and if it does, they can go on to have surgical castration at a later point.” Dr Jenni Green, a small animal veterinarian from Uni Vets Camden in south-west Sydney, says that it’s an option she discusses with pet owners from time to time when dogs are in


a controlled home environment. “It would usually be for breeders that might have a young bitch coming on but be holding the stud dog and we don’t want accidental mating. We would be able to temporarily castrate him for that,” she says. “It also allows vets to provide an alternative to owners who really don’t like the idea of their dog not having testicles. We can say, ‘Look, it doesn’t have to be surgical; there is another option which doesn’t involve removing testicles’. You can then open up a discussion with people who may have been completely against desexing. “It just brings to the table another method for desexing if that’s something we need to do,” says Dr Green. Implant use on an ongoing basis has potential benefits for businesses in ensuring pet owners have to keep coming back for top-ups, but Dr Green says it’s not particularly feasible as cost is almost always the dominating factor in any


“We can say, ‘Look, it doesn’t have to be surgical; there is another option which doesn’t involve removing testicles’. You can then open up a discussion with people who may have been completely against desexing.” Dr Jenni Green, vet, Uni Vets Camden

preventative or health treatment for dogs. “In my experience, we’re trying to get owners to think about desexing their pet permanently,” she says. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sense in paying [more]; you’d be talking about doing it 10 times in the life of a dog and it’s virtually 10 times more expensive than desexing it surgically. But it gives a bit more control around the situation without making that fairly dramatic decision.” Dr Green says another factor is that the duration is quite variable for each animal. “It’s a little bit more vague in terms of when fertility ends and begins, if you need these dogs to be absolutely not breedable. I think for working dogs and for show dogs, there is a place for them to have this opportunity. But relying on this as a general desexing option…I’m not sure what I would do. I like it as another opportunity for people who, for


whatever reason, are concerned about a more permanent desexing.” Small animal veterinarian and animal behaviour specialist Dr Paul McCarthy from the Brunker Road Veterinary Centre in Newcastle, NSW, agrees that cost and duration are restrictive factors in implant use. He says the clinic treats about two or three dogs a year with the implant on a case-by-case basis, such as for breeder work or for behavioural issues where owners want to see if it will make a difference before committing to full surgery. “Generally, the problem is that it’s expensive compared to a normal sterilisation—no-one has done this because it was cheaper. People have used it for a particular purpose,” says Dr McCarthy. “Also, breeders have been a little nervous about the fact that there’s been so much unpredictability as to how long the dog will be unable to breed. I think that’s played a role in its popularity with breeders. I think breeders are more or less now keeping their male dogs separate, rather than looking at using anything that might hamper the dog’s fertility for a time period.” There are wider uses on the horizon for Suprelorin, however. Research has been done into population control for brumbies, grey kangaroos, tammar wallabies, koalas and brushtail possums, although Dr Murdoch says this isn’t an area Virbac is actively pursuing. “There will always be lots of interest in those off-label usages because of the nature of the way it works,” she says. “There are lots of potential uses for the product in lots of different species, from wildlife through to other domestic species, but there’s not an active area to develop a market or to look at increasing registrations in some of those other species at this point in time.”  For vet clinics, however, it remains an option that’s out there. “Generally, on the topic of desexing, I think it’s hard to be cut and dried about whether you should or you shouldn’t,” explains Dr Green. “The nice thing about this is it does give you a little bit more opportunity. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say this is the answer but it does enable a conversation to be had.”

“There are lots of potential uses for the product in lots of different species, from wildlife through to other domestic species.” Dr Michelle Murdoch, senior technical product manager, Virbac


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together People complain about staff meetings but you can’t run a business without them. Here are five tips to help you ensure that your team powwows are time well spent. By Meg Crawford

WE’VE ALL EXPERIENCED it before: when meetings are good, they’re very, very good but when they’re bad, they’re horrid. However, with some careful planning and appropriate review, staff meetings can be the cornerstone of a well-run practice. Indeed, the Australian Veterinary Association’s president, Dr Paula Parker, doesn’t see any call for dispensing with staff meetings just yet. In her view, one of their key benefits lies in their unique capacity to clarify expectations. “I think— although it’s probably true of all workplaces, but certainly true in vet practices—that conflict in the team often comes down to miscommunication or having unclear expectations,” she says. “Clarifying those


expectations is fundamental to getting a team communicating well and functioning together, and staff meetings pose the perfect opportunity to do it.” With that in mind, Dr Parker shares some of her key tips for running more efficient meetings.

1. Be clear about roles and purpose If people aren’t clear about the purpose of a meeting and the role of attendees, confusion and dissension are almost inevitable. Dr Parker suggests practices consider both issues well in advance of meetings. For instance, determine and make sure people understand whether the team has a role in decision-making,


or whether you are simply looking for feedback. “That’s important because if the team thinks that decision-making is by consensus, but that’s not the case, staff will become disengaged,” Dr Parker observes.

2. Consider whether a meeting is the best way to tackle an issue It’s not uncommon for people to complain, sometimes validly, that a meeting was a waste of time on the basis that it wasn’t strictly necessary for them to attend. Accordingly, it’s wise prior to a meeting to think carefully about who needs to attend, as well as the objective of the meeting. For instance, if the aim is to convey information, consider whether a meeting is the best place to do that. Would it make for a more efficient use of staff time to disseminate the material first, and provide a forum for asking questions or providing feedback later?

3. Prepare staff so that their input is valuable Commonly, meetings in a veterinary practice fall into two categories. First, there’s the lean, generally quick meeting to discuss that day’s activities or what’s planned for the week, in which case a schedule will generally suffice in terms of the information required to enable staff to participate. The second type of meeting is where the team is brought together for the purpose of considering the practice’s plans, including direction, resourcing and skill development or requirements. “It’s really important to have information prepared for those second types of meetings,” Dr Parker explains. “Everyone takes in information in a different way and everybody is busy, so you don’t want to give them a ridiculous pack of information that’s too much. But at the same time—to make the best use of everyone’s time—you need people to come informed to the meeting.”

4. Be clear about your expectations for conduct From time to time, things get heated in staff meetings. That’s why it is important

to clarify from the outset how you expect people to behave in a meeting. This sets a benchmark that encourages good behaviour, as well as provides a yardstick against which you can judge if disciplinary action needs to be taken later. “If you make those expectations clear, we can hold ourselves and each other accountable—we can say, ‘Hey, this is how we agreed that we would behave, and we’re not behaving in that way’,” explains Dr Parker. She also encourages practices to run meetings more formally, especially when serious issues need to be addressed. This might entail, for instance, appointing someone to chair the meeting, having an agenda, asking that participants raise their hand before contributing, and taking minutes. “It helps people to put themselves into the mode of, ‘Okay, we aren’t joking around here’. It’s also useful where everyone in a practice are friends, and have such good relationships that they sometimes slip into a mode where things get heated because they forget they’re at work.”

5. Don’t use staff meetings to manage performance If an individual has a performance management issue, good human resource practice dictates that it be dealt with outside of staff meetings. “This is critical for a leadership team. You can’t use meetings to shame people,” Dr Parker stresses. “If there’s a problem with a person, you must deal with it in a format that’s outside of the whole team meeting. Never shame or embarrass someone in the meeting. There may be a time where you need to circle back to the whole team about the issue, but it’s doing that only after you’ve had those discussions with those people, and there’s a resolution or a plan in place.” Likewise, if there’s conflict between two people, that needs to be dealt with outside of broader staff meetings.


In order


• Know who is attending. Make sure everyone has the relevant • material and is properly prepared in order to participate.

Conduct the meeting in an appropriate • space, which includes setting it up in a place where you can see all attendees and, ideally, they can see each other.

Stop people from having ‘side • conversations’ . Make sure you are mentally prepared and • clear yourself of distractions. Have • everyone put away their phones. Get input from everyone at the table, • especially introverted attendees, and don’t let more vocal staff members commandeer the meeting.

Have a strategy for obtaining input from • people who think aloud; e.g. ask them for some initial comments then say that you’ll come back to them.

It may be necessary to make some • opening comments. However, it’s

sometimes preferable to hear from other staff members about an issue first. When the leadership team speaks first, it can discourage attendees from speaking out if they have a different view.

• Have breaks during long meetings. Ask people questions throughout. This • discourages attendees from tuning out. Be mindful of timing—make sure that • you are not scheduling meetings at

inconvenient times, at peak busy times, or when staff are likely to be less attentive, such as just after lunch.

After the close of the meeting, reflect on • what worked and what could be improved, and attend to next steps promptly, including distribution of minutes.

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As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Quality branding and marketing is an investment in your vet practice and a representation of the way you do business. Louise Baxter reports

ON FACE VALUE WHEN YOU’RE SEEKING professional services, such as a plumber or GP, how do you decide which business to go with? Say you’ve narrowed them down by location, specialty and any other personal requirements, and have two options left. One has a polished logo and website, while the other has a dated design using five fonts and pixelated photos. Which would you choose? “Modern, professional branding is an extremely important investment,” says Vet Branding graphic designer Jessica Mabilia. “It’s the face of your business. “There is so much competition these days, especially online, so you want to present yourself as best as you can. There are many outdated-looking vet clinics so this is a way to put your best foot forward. First impressions count. If yours isn’t up to standard, people might risk not going with your business simply based on a Google search.” Nyree Lobsinger, owner of Veterinary Stationery Supplies, says consistency is key to creating a streamlined look for your business. Her company provides tailored branding and marketing products for vet practices, from name badges, letterheads and sympathy cards, to fridge magnets, drug labels and presentation folders. “Branding is your visual mission statement,” she says. “With the congruent use of logo, colour and font, your printed stationery can be pulled together to reflect a trustworthy, organised and professional veterinary practice. Our clients



“With the congruent use of logo, colour and font,your printed stationery can be pulled together to reflect a trustworthy, organised and professional veterinary practice.” Nyree Lobsinger, owner, Veterinary Stationery Supplies typically want branding to be clean, precise and easy to reproduce in one colour (there’s not always a big budget for colour). “Vets are medical professionals so their branding needs to project that.”

Getting your vision right Nyree says the first port of call is to know your area and demographic so your design can be developed accordingly. “A veterinary practice in a sleepy beach community is going to have a different set of clientele than, say, rural Queensland. Will you be providing services mainly for mums with family pets or farming communities?” she says. “When you go to a graphic designer, take a brief of the look and feel of what your clientele would like and ask them to come up with a logo. They usually give three different choices. It’s really

essential to get branding guidelines done— which is something we can do—of what your logo and brand needs to look like in different mediums such as a letterhead compared to your website. “What’s it going to look like on a black background, in sign format, large or small font? If all of that is done well in the branding guidelines, the designers can’t go too far wrong. “Keep it simple. Some of the most famous logos in the world are one colour. Make sure nothing is clashing with the interior of the practice. For example, if you have a bright green building exterior, it would be silly to do a navy blue logo to go on that. “Also, be careful of logo buildup—you don’t need it everywhere. We suggest less embroidery on uniforms, for example, because you’ll have letterheads, business cards, signage and it might become too much. “Check images against any visual patents, too. Find out if you’re able to use it before spending money on design, printing and manufacture.”

Don’t be afraid to research Dr Kristina Hulme, director and veterinarian at Northcote Animal Hospital, says she and her business team had a clear vision for their services and the type of image they wanted to portray in the casual but stylish inner-Melbourne suburb of Northcote. The practice’s branding is clean and minimalist with soft tones of green and white. The logo includes a simple line


drawing of a tree with a dog, a cat and a bird, and the hospital name is shortened to the acronym ‘nOah’—a play on Noah’s Ark. “We had a few considerations when coming up with the look,” Dr Hulme says. “Number one was community: we wanted to slot in and appear in similar style to cafes and restaurants in the area, the same sort of aesthetic. “For the practice we went for exposed brick walls, and wanted the feeling of the waiting room to be warm and inviting. People comment that it feels like sitting in someone’s lounge room. We put a lot of thought into the logo—we chose green because it’s a good, subtle colour for health and wellness, and also reflects that we try to be as eco-friendly and recyclable as possible. That’s how the tree came about in the design. “We did some psychology research for the logo, too; for what would be eyecatching. That’s why we capitalised the ‘O’ in the acronym. We engaged an artist to draw the logo: Jane Reiseger who did the Royal Children’s Hospital design. We really liked her work.”

Beware of false economy While it’s helpful to have a definitive vision for your branding, Jessica Mabilia advises enlisting reputable professionals for its execution. Saving money in the short term on cheaper services may end up being a false economy if they don’t align with your standards and industry-specific needs. “If you’re going to pay the money, you will want to go to an experienced professional,” she says. “A service provider you’ve found online may not be the quality you’re looking for. At Vet Branding we specialise in the veterinary industry—we know who the target market is, how to market your business. “I’d encourage practices to have a vision and mission statement and then base their logo around that. I’d start with a consultation and from there, go into logo development. Once we’ve got a logo finalised we’d carry that across to flyers, business cards, letterheads, presentation folders, etc. “Keep it consistent, professional, friendly and welcoming. Two of the biggest things my clients ask for are professional and family-oriented.”

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That moment when you help best friends reunite There’s nothing else like that moment. That moment when the patient is headed home, and you know his family will follow through on your treatment plan. Because they read it already on your website. They’re the stories you’d like to tell every day.

And you can tell them, if you have the time. A regular blog post for your business can tell that story to new and existing patients. It gives you a chance to counter the wild opinions of Dr Google. And more than anything else, it helps new patients find you.

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A consistent uniform policy gives your practice professionalism and credibility. Here’s how to make sure you and your staff are on point. By Rachel Smith

Dress sense 23


A BIG PART OF RUNNING a veterinary practice is creating a brand clients can identify and connect with—and ideally, one that’s dependable and professional. “Who would you trust to do a complicated orthopaedic procedure on your pet? A vet in casual jeans and sneakers, or a vet in well-ironed professional attire: business pants and collared shirt with their name and logo embroidered onto it? First impressions count so uniforms really matter,” says veterinarian Dr Claire Stevens (@theinstapetvet). Danielle Bliim, nursing manager at SASH Vets, Central Coast, agrees. “A bit of dog hair here and there is acceptable, but unhemmed uniforms or those that are ill-fitting or stained show there’s a ‘no care’ attitude at that practice. And consistency is key.”

Uniform policy: do you have one? If you’re allowing staff to wear mixed scrubs of different colours and styles, oversized scrubs that look like pyjamas, or garish patterns, your practice could do with a more consistent uniform policy, suggests Dr Stevens. She suggests reception staff who don’t have a nursing role are in a professional, branded corporate blouse, and uniforms for nurses and vets should be in colours consistent with the medical professional, such as blue or teal, with scrubs for invasive surgeries. “I believe nurses and vets should have different uniforms, even if it’s just the colour. I’m a young looking vet, and a few times I have been asked, ‘When will the vet be joining us?’”  Bliim adds that colour-coding uniforms for different departments can also be helpful markers for pet owners. “You may have vets in scrubs of a certain colour, while nurses and animal attendants are different again. At SASH we have different colours depending on the department: medicine is blue, surgery is pink, oncology is purple (the nationally recognised colour for chemotherapy), and ophthalmology is green.”  

What’s new in fabrics?

The trend for blue scrubs is changing thanks to a host of new, hi-tech fabrics designed for added comfort, durability and resistance to fur, says Denise Cutajar

your clinic, says Cutajar. “Doing this for staff gives them a sense of belonging [to the practice], and for clients, knowing staff by name can help them build up a rapport with that person and feel more connected to the practice.”

Colours versus prints

“A bit of dog hair is acceptable but unhemmed uniforms or those that are ill-fitting show there’s a ‘no care’ attitude.” Danielle Bliim, nursing manager, SASH Vets

A quick Google search for vet uniforms pops up a lot of animal print. Should you go there? Dr Stevens says they can work for events like a fun run, RSPCA walk or puppy pre-school class. “But I do think novelty prints should be avoided in a clinical setting,” she explains. “We’re performing serious procedures such as CPR and euthanasias, and so bright pink scrubs with love hearts and bunny rabbits are inappropriate in my opinion.” Cutajar, however, believes that a more casual print may help break down barriers between vet staff and clients, especially more vulnerable pet owners. “If an owner wants to open up and cry their heart out and they feel the vet or nurse is a bit more approachable because of how they’re dressed, that’s a good thing.”

Making uniforms compulsory of Medeleq Pty Ltd. “Materials have evolved over the past year and a half and the new uniforms available now are very low maintenance, with a small percentage of spandex and stretch in them so they’re shaped to fit your figure and move with the body. The new materials coming out are also a lot more professional in appearance.” The Cherokee brand Medeleq sells has several collections that are particularly popular with veterinary clinics, thanks to soft stretchy fabrics and moisturewicking technology that help wearers stay cooler. “The Revolution collection offers a really modern look, with durable but soft fabrics and a two-way stretch that doesn’t shrink, fade or usually need ironing,” says Cutajar. “Another collection we’re often selling to veterinary practices is the Luxe range, which has flattering styles and durable low-care fabrics.” Should you have your logo and the names of staff embroidered on their uniform? Of course it depends on your budget, but it can be a nice touch in creating a more approachable vibe at


For a credible, cohesive brand strategy, it’s important to make sure all staff are on board with the uniform policy. One mistake vet practices often make is not outlining the policy in detail with staff— and also not consistently upholding those policies, says Dr Stevens. “Problems can arise when you have to address the self-presentation of a staff member and they feel unfairly targeted. After a particular experience with a staff member in my practice, I’ve always made sure that uniform policies were clear to all staff from the first day of employment and this standard is consistently maintained,” she explains. At SASH, the uniform policy is made by owners and managers—with input from staff, says Bliim. “They have to wear it too, after all! But we have uniforms for a reason and expect the staff to wear them. There isn’t any point of having matching uniforms if they are bleach-stained, or the staffer is wearing a holey sloppy joe over the top or has their lunch spilt down the front. Consistency in the uniform reflects the standard of the whole hospital.”

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If you’re worn out by having to deal with frantic pets and their frazzled owners struggling to get them through the door, maybe it’s time to consider the Fear Free approach to veterinary care. By Heather Vaile


Practice owners Dr Andrew Hemming and practice manager wife Sarah are enthusiastic advocates of the Fear Free approach to vet care.


Fear Free is win-win for everyone: happy animals equal happy clients equal happy vets and their staff.

IN THE CITY OF IPSWICH south-west of Brisbane, a young vet called Dr Andrew Hemming and his practice manager wife Sarah have just opened a $750,000 new practice called Ripley Veterinary Hospital. It is the couple’s second veterinary business; they also own Flinders View Veterinary Surgery about 4km away. It’s an impressive achievement for the pair who made their first move into practice ownership six years ago. Dr Hemming attributes their business growth and expansion to attention to detail, high clinical standards, selecting highly skilled and efficient employees, and says the secret of their success is putting lots of training into their staff. Both practices also proudly offer a Fear Free environment for pets. Fear Free is the trademarked name of an initiative, often described as a movement, founded

by high-profile American vet, Dr Marty Becker. It grew out of the low-stress handling techniques pioneered by animal behaviourist gods in the industry, Dr Karen Overall and the late Dr Sophia Yin. The Fear Free approach is based on looking after animals’ emotional wellbeing as well as their physical health, by providing what animals perceive to be a calm and safe environment, tasty treats where appropriate, and using gentle control techniques, if required. In recent years, Dr Becker and his team have been very successful in bringing the Fear Free philosophy to a much wider audience, including a growing number of Australian vets and animal lovers. They now offer a range of in-person and online training for vets, trainers, other pet professionals and pet owners under the Fear Free banner. Dr Hemming says he and Sarah


first heard about Fear Free from some colleagues at a veterinary conference in Sydney in 2017 and it immediately resonated with them. “I think we’ve been practising a degree of Fear Free for a long time, just not officially and without knowing that there was a term for it,” he says. “I guess that’s why it appealed to us, because it was similar to what we were already doing. “We were already taking more time to work through problems with animals that most vets do. We have a standard 30-minute consult time and probably in the industry, the average is about 15-20 minutes. But if I have half an hour, I have more time to talk to the owner and while I’m talking to them, nothing ‘bad’ is happening to the dog. It’s relaxed as well. “I think having that extra time, our vets are less stressed, and when our vets are less stressed the animals are less

“The days of ‘brutacaine’ where we forcefully held down animals and got more and more people to hang on to them are long gone.” Dr Kersti Seksel, veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine, Charles Sturt University

stressed. And hopefully the nurses too! “Our staff members ask clients on the phone if they’ve got an anxious pet before they come in and for those that do, they talk through ways they can bring them in in a less stressed way. “We use pheromone sprays for dogs and cats, so if we know a very anxious cat is coming in, I’ll probably get the owner to pick up some pheromone spray before the consultation and to spray it on to a towel and put it over the cat’s cage and have it on the cage in the car as well. “We also encourage clients to bring in their pets for ‘happy visits’, just to say hi and get treats. The practice also has a large waiting room area so clients and patients have room to breathe and move, and it has soundproofing between consult rooms to create a quiet, calmer environment. And the vets use fluffy memory foam mats on the consult room tables, so it’s more comfortable and less slippery for the animals. All the staff at both Ripley Vet Hospital and Flinders View Surgery are Fear Free certified and Dr Hemming says the staff were enthusiastic about the training from the get-go. “The team was keen straight away, as soon as we brought it up. We talked about it on a Saturday afternoon and they started it on the Monday. “We are all totally committed to Fear Free,” he says. “We’ll be doing it forever.” Dr Kersti Seksel is a leading registered veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine based in Sydney. She’s also a past president of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), an adjunct associate professor at Charles Sturt University in NSW, Fear Free certified, and she’s in Dr Becker’s Fear Free advisory group. “The days of ‘brutacaine’ where we forcefully held down animals and got more and more people to hang on to them are long gone,” Dr Seksel says. “We can’t use brutal force on these animals any longer. “I’m not convinced we can make everything totally stress-free but we can certainly do a better job than we’re doing. It horrifies me that vets are still scruffing cats and holding dogs down for basic husbandry procedures such as nail


trims. She shares three simple ideas for vets who want to make visits easier on nervous or frightened animals. “The first thing I’d say to vets is to ‘walk in their paws’! Think about what they see, what they hear, what they smell. It’s because animals perceive the world very differently to us. Their sense of smell’s a thousand times better, their hearing’s more acute, so look at it through the animals’ eyes, ears and noses. “And once you’ve done that, you’ll find there are some pretty simple things you can change or do—the type of music you play, having pheromones in the practice, the cleaning products you use, the lighting—nothing majorly expensive, it’s just understanding the world from the animals’ perspective. “The second thing I’d do is make sure you’re up to date with behavioural medicine, the newer medications and things you can do to make a fearful or anxious animal’s life happier because if you have a happier animal, you’re going to have a happier client and you’re going to have happier staff. These days we have many medication options that can help fearful/anxious pets. They should not be traumatised anymore. “The third thing is learning to read body language. If you can read body language, you can tell when it’s time to stop, slow down or go. We use the traffic-light system a lot. If the animal’s cool, calm and collected, it’s in the green zone—you can keep working with it. But when it gets to that orange or amber traffic light, slow down and take a step back, and if it’s in the red zone, stop.” Another eminent registered veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine is Dr Jacqui Ley, who is based in Melbourne. Dr Ley is the current president of the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group (AVBIG), the AVA’s Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group, and she is also Fear Free certified. Dr Ley shares many of Dr Seksel’s views on Fear Free veterinary care. “We know that animals that are stressed and frightened are much, much harder to examine and it’s much harder to get good baseline information on them. “We also know that animals that are coming in stressed and having


Ripley Veterinary Hospital's Dr Andrew and Sarah Hemming encourage pet owners to bring in their pets for ‘happy visits’.

“We know that animals that are stressed and frightened are much, much harder to examine and it’s much harder to get good baseline information on them.” Dr Jacqui Ley, president, Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group

anaesthetics, their anaesthetics are harder to do, they need more to keep them asleep, they have rougher recoveries and they need more pain relief. “And then you’ve got to factor in the risk to staff. If you’ve got 40 to 50 kilos of dog that’s frightened, that’s potentially a big danger. “If a dog is being aggressive in a clinic, it’s because they’re frightened or worried. Now Fear Free techniques are not going to completely remove that but we know we can be smarter—we can use medicines that relieve anxiety before the animal comes into the clinic and we can do things in the consult room to make life easier for the animal. “Little things like encouraging owners to teach their dog to wear his own muzzle, so he comes in wearing


something that’s familiar and safe— something that doesn’t smell like everybody else who’s been inside it and been frightened can really help.” The final word goes to Dr Janice Lloyd, an award-winning researcher, teacher and associate professor in Veterinary Science at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville. Dr Lloyd teaches students in all years of the JCU undergraduate veterinary science degree program and she is passionately committed to making veterinary experiences easier on patients. Final-year vet students at JCU are taught in small groups about low-stress handling of animals, and as part of their assessment, are tested on what they have done to mitigate stress for their patients. She agrees that it doesn’t have to be difficult for veterinary staff to incorporate low-stress ideas and techniques into their practice. “With a few simple approaches, you can actually make huge headway in a small space of time. And it  saves a lot of time later. “Often people don’t realise that anxiety is accumulative and so an animal that is anxious is going to be even worse next time it visits the vet. So, it’s worth taking a bit of extra time with animals. They make mental associations with bad experiences incredibly quickly and they remember.” In April 2017, Dr Lloyd published a fascinating article called: ‘Minimising stress for patients in the veterinary hospital: why it is important and what can be done about it’. It appeared in the journal Veterinary Sciences, 4 (2). pp. 1-19 and is freely available online. The article contains a wealth of information and practical tips for veterinary staff, pointers to other helpful free resources available online, and a comprehensive list of references. Dr Lloyd sees the low-stress approach as not just the right thing to do for animals but also a valuable business opportunity for practice owners. “It is a very sound business decision. Clients see that the staff are caring, which can go a long way to retaining your clientele. So, you’ve got a low-stress environment, improved health care and you’ve got loyal satisfied clients who are much more likely to come back. It’s much safer for the staff and the bottom line is healthier too. It’s good for everybody.”


ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide An exciting array of exhibitors reveals the latest equipment, tools and products on display at the conference, all at the Melbourne Convention Centre on 12-16 August



ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

Endogard treats and controls intestinal worms While many cats and dogs are treated with anthelmintics, a significant proportion of owners are not correctly following treatment guidelines. Of those treated with an allwormer, research shows only 11.8% of dogs and 5.5% of cats were treated along the recommended protocol.1 Failure of pet owners to adhere to prescribed worming protocols is a leading cause of ineffective parasite control, potentially compromising animal and human health. Pet owners turn to the expertise of veterinarians and nurses to understand the ever-increasing and complex parasiticide options available. So, why aren’t pet owners following veterinary advice? It is a key role of veterinary health professionals to educate owners, yet a poor understanding of the clinical implications and zoonotic risks of intestinal worms, particularly to children, is not the only factor contributing to poor protocol adherence. There are a number of additional barriers, and these may include financial constraints, forgetfulness, communication

issues, product confusion or challenging animals. Understanding these underlying reasons for non-compliance is crucial for implementing strategies to overcome them. There is a clearly identified need for a simple, easy-to-use and highly efficacious broad-spectrum intestinal worming protocol, as preventative treatments that are easy to administer,2 with proven palatability3 have been shown to positively influence treatment compliance. Endogard treats and controls intestinal worms in cats and dogs with a single, palatable dose of highly efficacious praziquantel and oxibendazole. These potent active ingredients have a proven efficacy of 100% against clinically significant hookworm and roundworm, with no indications of resistance— unlike products containing pyrantel. The real liver flavouring of Endogard is mixed through the entire tablet, ensuring it remains palatable to even the fussiest of pets when fragmented. In addition to demonstrated high-level

efficacy and palatability, Endogard offers clinics more than an Allwormer. Detailed client and in-clinic materials are available to aid in worming education, alongside client reminder tools to effectively aid in increasing compliance. Ongoing in-clinic education ensures consistency in the advice provided, preventing confusion and enhancing understanding on the importance of Allwormers. Nurses are ideally placed to proactively influence clients as they visit the practice due to the trusted relationship they share. The involvement many nurses have with clients while in clinic allows them to be influential in encouraging owners to follow prescribed treatments and further identify barriers to compliance. Achieving owner compliance to worming protocols is multifaceted and can be achieved through appropriate product selection, client education, on-going staff training and the clinic working together to best understand and address client needs.

1. Matos, M, Alho, A, Owen, S, Nunes, T, de Cardalho, L, 2015, “Parasite control practices and public perception of parasitic diseases: A survey of dog and cat owners”, Preventative Veterinary Medicine, Issue 122, 174–180. 2. Talamonti, Z, Cassis, C, Brambilla, P, Scarpa, P, Stefanello, D, Cannas, A, Minero, M, Palestrini, C, 2015, “Preliminary Study of Pet Owner Adherence in Behaviour, Cardiology, Urology, and Oncology Fields”, Veterinary Medicine International, Vol. 2015. 3. Winnick, S, Lucas, D, Hartman, A, Toll, D, 2015, “How Do You Improve Compliance?”, Paediatrics, Vol. 11, Issue 6.


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ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

Welcoming an advanced standard of veterinary care: NVC’s Veterinary Training Centre The key to maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge in the veterinary industry relies heavily 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 for all veterinary professionals. To empower veterinary excellence and make this training easily accessible, National Veterinary Care (NVC) has opened two Veterinary Training Centres in Queensland and more recently in Victoria. Looking to the future, New Zealand will be home to another training facility. With over 70 workshops currently available, NVC provides the entire veterinary industry with the opportunity to improve their practical skills, and to be able to deliver the highest veterinary standards. 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 also include a CPD value for veterinarians. “Since NVC’s debut, the Veterinary Training Centres have been a key deliverable for not only our business but for the industry as a whole,” says NVC’s CEO Tomas Steenackers. “Seeing a gap that affected all veterinary practitioners,

NVC workshops improve vets’ practical skills.

there was a real opportunity in the market for advanced training facilities. Veterinary professionals need training opportunities, to develop their practical skills and confidence so they can deliver the most advanced standards of care in their clinics.” An important aspect of these workshops are the small class sizes, creating the opportunity for one-on-one tuition with educators. This ensures participants can confidently practise and master their new skills. All educators are leaders in their chosen field and have been carefully appointed so workshop participants get the best training experience possible. Newly learnt skills are practised, using the latest All workshops include a CPD value for vets.


technology, cultivating the confidence needed to transfer these new skills immediately into the clinic environment. Respected veterinarian Dr Olivia Dyer BVSc (Hons) from the Taringa Vet Surgery recently attended a Dentistry workshop. Dr Dyer’s experience demonstrates that through growing self-confidence in her practical and theoretical work, some of the overwhelming stress that plagues everyday clinic life begins to disappear. “I have been to two dentistry seminars run by NVC this year and have been extremely impressed by both days. Dr Aaron Forsayeth and Dr Anthony Caiafa were not only very knowledgeable but had an appreciation of general practice so the information they conferred was highly relevant. The seminars were well run enabling us to cover a large amount of content while still having ample ‘handson’ time. As a result of these seminars, I feel  confident that I will be able to provide more thorough dental care to my patients and be less stressed myself.” The objective of the Veterinary Training Centres is the desire to grow and develop the vet industry. As a united and advanced veterinary community, the quality of care and knowledge will see us at the forefront of pet healthcare standards worldwide.

Are you looking for new practical training opportunities for your team? BOOK A VET WORKSHOP AND RECEIVE A FREE NURSE WORKSHOP* Speak to our team at the ASAV Conference about this offer.


Our two-purpose built, industry leading Veterinary Training Centres in Queensland and Melbourne have been established to support not only NVC clinic employees, but also UVG members and the entire veterinary industry. The facilities and equipment used in these centres are brand new and state of the art, providing the ultimate learning environment. All educators are leaders in their chosen field and have been carefully appointed so that workshop participants get the best training experience possible. The workshops are delivered in small groups, creating the opportunity for one-on-one tuition with educators, ensuring participants can confidently practice and master new skills. The result for you is that your team members will return to your clinic and can immediately implement their new skills in the consultation room or in surgery.

Our 2018 workshop program covers the following areas of interest • • • • •

Dentistry for Vets & Vet Nurses Nurse Consultations & Nutrition Pathology & Radiology Orthopaedic Surgery Dermatology & Clinical Disease

• • • • • •

Soft Tissue – Wounds, Lumps and Bumps Soft Tissue – Abdominal Surgery Emergency & Critical Care Foundation & Advanced Clinical Skills Behaviour Ultrasound

The cost of each workshop includes all materials, documentation, consumables, equipment, as well as morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. For all practical sessions, surgical gowns, gloves and masks will be provided

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 workshop schedules, inclusions, educators and pricing: nvcvets.com.au/veterinary-training-centre | 07 3063 0900 | training@nvcltd.com.au *Terms and conditions apply


ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

S+OX SHIELD™ seal provides you with additional confidence Managing patients with multiple disease conditions can be challenging. In order to help you choose the most appropriate food for your patients, Hill’s has developed the S+OX Shield icon. This icon will be appearing on most Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ dry food packaging over the coming months. The S+OX SHIELD™ seal provides you with additional confidence when recommending the appropriate Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ foods. The foods containing the S+OX SHIELD™ seal meet specific nutrient standards shown to promote a urinary environment that helps reduce the risk for struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. The nutrition profile is based on standards developed through feeding tests in dogs and cats that use relative

supersaturation (RSS), the calcium oxalate titration test (COT)1 and urine pH as endpoints. The Hill’s COT test measures the likelihood for calcium to precipitate in

the urine. The COT test is based on the human Bonn Risk Index (BRI) which can correctly segregate 70% or more of those people likely to form a second stone from those that do not.2 Because whole urine is used in this test, it takes into consideration all of the inhibitors and promoters present in urine that may affect calcium oxalate crystal formation. Together with RSS, this test has allowed us to gain a more complete understanding of the saturation and stability of urine and the risk for calcium oxalate crystal formation. While the S+OX SHIELD™ seal is a helpful tool for identifying urinary appropriate foods for pets with other specific nutritional needs, we still recommend feeding our urinary foods (Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ c/d™ Multicare Canine and Feline, Metabolic + Urinary Feline, etc) when the pet does not have any other underlying medical condition. These foods have additional features such as struvite dissolution and EPA and DHA from fish oil. Additionally, the nutrition of Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ c/d™ Multicare Feline has been shown to reduce the rate of recurrent FIC signs by 89%.3 Hill’s Pet Nutrition has over 60 years of experience developing urinary foods that help promote a healthy urinary environment. For more information on S+OX Shield or the Hill’s Prescription Diet range, come by at the upcoming ASAV Combined Conference for a coffee and a chat with our staff.

1. Davidson SJ, MacLeay JM. “The calcium oxalate risk index: A new method for determining the propensity for formation of calcium oxalate uroliths.” J Vet Intern Med 2014; 28:1083. 2. Laube et al. “A New Approach to Calculate the Risk of Calcium Oxalate Oxalate Crystallization From Unprepared Native Urine.” Urol Res 2000; 28: 274-280. 3. Kruger JM, Lulich JP, MacLeay JM et al. “Comparison of foods with differing nutritional profiles for long-term management of acute non-obstructive idiopathic cystitis in cats.” J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015; 247:508-517.


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Formulated to help reduce the risk of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ foods have not changed. And many have the added benefit of being formulated to promote a urinary environment that reduces the risk of developing struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, in addition to managing the primary condition. We’re introducing the S+OXSHIELD™ seal to help you quickly identify these foods and make it easy to communicate this benefit to clients. To learn more about our foods, please talk to your Hill’s representative. ™‘s owned by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. © 2018 Hill’s Pet Nutrition Pty Limited. HIMA-HB-170F4934

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ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

The iM3 CR7

It’s the range of plate sizes and superior image quality that makes the difference! Not all CR Dental X-ray systems are equal. The CR7 Vet has the largest range of high-resolution image plates including sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The size-5 plate measuring 5.7x9.4cm is the largest high-definition dental plate available and is a great addition for veterinarians requiring high-definition images for extremity or exotics. This large plate means fewer radiographs are required to take a full mouth and the large size means less retakes as you don’t miss the tooth you are trying to radiograph. The CR7 Vet is a vet-specific dental X-ray system designed and manufactured in Germany and distributed worldwide by iM3. The excellent quality and superiorresolution images are a result of the

high-resolution 25 lp/mm, Laser spot 12,5um, 1270dpi. The CR7 is easy to operate thanks to the veterinary-specific dental software, and the in-clinic training provided by iM3 on the use of the system and X-ray positioning means the clinic will be competent in its use from day one. iM3 handles every aspect of the installation, training and support. With over 2000 systems being installed worldwide, it’s the system of choice backed by a two-year warranty and unlimited iM3 direct support.

Below: The CR7 Vet Dental X-ray Right: The unbelievable resolution of the CR7


Testimonial “We took enough income in the first two weeks of dental month from extraction costs alone to pay for the dental X-ray unit and I have never charged a cent for taking the radiographs!” says Dr Karen Teasdale of Angourie Road Veterinary Surgery in Yamba, NSW. “The increased revenue is simply from the increased work—the existing pathology that we were previously missing. I know that I sound like I work for iM3 now, but honestly, I am a complete convert,” continues Dr Teasdale. “My only regret is that I waited this long!”

Proudly Australian




iM3 is pleased to Launch its new website www.im3vet.com.au. Veterinarians now have the opportunity to order direct from iM3 via the website, view the latest product catalogue, subscribe to informative iM3 newsletters featuring case studies and learn more about the iM3 product range. Visit the iM3 website and register your email to receive more information.


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 sales@im3vet.com | www.im3vet.com.au


ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

A healthy gut is the centre of a healthy life As a vet, you can easily tell when a pet is living a healthy life. Among other things, the pet will be happy, energetic and affectionate towards its owner. When the gut is healthy, pets are able to live enjoyable and wholesome lives—full of the things that both pets and owners love the most. That is why a healthy gastrointestinal system is important for a pet’s all-round health. Gastrointestinal complaints can result in discomfort at best, but more often they lead to symptoms that are distressing to both pets and their owners. That’s why every year, gut problems account for the majority of visits to surgeries like yours.

“Perhaps no other organ system is so directly and immediately affected by nutrition than the gastrointestinal tract.”

As you know, nutritional solutions are often the simplest and most effective course of treatment for many gastrointestinal conditions. So it’s good to know that Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets offers a single range with scientifically formulated diets that can help you treat almost every major and minor gastrointestinal manifestation. The Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets gastrointestinal range is nutritionally complete and balanced, and clinically proven to be effective against all manner of conditions, including: gastrointestinal complaints, acute and chronic diarrhoea, gastroenteritis; food allergies and intolerances, IBD and EPI; and even hepatic conditions. Each diet has been specially formulated for high digestibility and palatability, with natural antioxidants.

Dr Nick Cave Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine, Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (New Zealand)


To learn more about the Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets range, visit Purina at the ASAV Conference on 12-16 August, at stand 51-52 or contact our Petcare Advice Team on 1800 738 238.


A proven solution to promote intestinal microflora, with additional benefits beyond GI health

Visit Purina at the ASAV Conference 12-16th August 2018, Stand #51-52 to find out more about our latest innovation.


ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

Veterinary recruitment for the future Recruiting and hiring in the veterinary industry has long been a hot topic for many practice owners. All over the world, practice owners and clinical leadership teams struggle daily to recruit highly qualified veterinary professionals. VetPartners is no different—the challenges we face with recruitment are the same as those that a solo vet clinic faces or that of a three-vet clinic. VetPartners has realised the significance of this problem and to meet the challenges, we are adopting creative and innovative recruitment strategies and solutions to assist in improving the hiring of veterinarians for our clinics. Developing future talent As an industry, it’s our responsibility to invest in our future and ‘grow our own’. Investing in the development of students and graduates will help ease shortages in the future; and reduce dropout rates. Students and graduates want to learn and strengthen their skills, and as employers and custodians of the veterinary industry, it’s our responsibility to educate and mentor students and graduates to ensure the industry has the best possible future. Many industries see firstyear graduates as a financial burden, and this is not the right view to have. Developing students and graduates not only gives them the best foundation to grow, it’s also an investment in the clinic’s future. VetPartners is already planning for the skills we’ll need in the future, not just as an organisation but also as an industry. Our Graduate Program has been designed to give back to the industry with the training and mentoring of a number of graduates every year. Attracting talent Attracting candidates to specific locations can be challenging for many clinics. To help overcome this, VetPartners has adopted a creative approach to enticing talent from

overseas. Our Vets Abroad recruitment Meet VetPartners’ campaign includes Derek Del Simone videos and social at the conference. media posts featuring recent examples of people who have relocated to Australia, and highlighting how the move has enhanced their lifestyle. We have had an excellent industry response to the campaign and have successfully attracted several veterinarians to our shores, including returning expats. In a further nod to the effectiveness of our Vets Abroad campaign, VetPartners has been announced as a Finalist for ‘Best Recruitment Campaign’ in the 2018 Australian HR Awards, with winners to be announced in September. employment and candidate experience Attracting candidates to that engages and creates interest. regional areas is another Since establishment in 2016, challenge that will be VetPartners has grown to be a network familiar to many clinics, but of over 120 clinics. Due to our ‘Join Us, VetPartners is working hard Stay You’ philosophy, this means we also to change that. have more than 120 different cultures Our view is ‘If you’re not and autonomous clinical standards. The from here, you just don’t know careers team ensures each clinic’s point how great it is’, so a key feature of our of difference is highlighted to give the recruitment strategy is to promote the talent pool the most information possible unique benefits of each area. so they can make an informed decision about their next step. Employer branding If you are attending the upcoming Today we are faced with two types of ASAV conference, feel free to stop by candidates, the Active Job Hunters our stand and say hello. and the Passive Job Seekers. The Passive Job Seekers are people who Derek Del Simone are not actively looking for a change Recruitment Director ANZ but can be enticed by a better VetPartners opportunity. As such, it is incumbent Derek.delsimone@vet.partners on us, the employers, to create an 0417 202 998



ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

Canine and feline dermatological issues: Which diet when? The dermatology decision tree ROYAL CANIN® offers vet clinics a modified decision tree to help guide clinicians through dermatology consults and identify the most appropriate diet. If parasites and infection have been ruled out, then a food elimination trial should be completed using Anallergenic diet. Utilising a revolutionary protein source (low molecular weight feather hydrolysate) Anallergenic is manufactured in such a way to eliminate ancillary proteins from key ingredients, and ensure the production of a truly hypoallergenic diet. Hydrolysed to such an extent, 95 per cent of the diet is less than 1kDa of molecular weight. If food allergy is diagnosed through the food elimination trial, Anallergenic can also be used as a long-term management diet for this condition. On the other hand, if food allergy is ruled out, then using the decision tree, it is clear that the ROYAL CANIN® Skin Support diet is indicated for three out of four disease processes—support for atopy as well as pets with parasites or bacterial infections. Offering the most comprehensive

dermatological range of diets, ROYAL CANIN® has you covered. ROYAL CANIN® knows nutrition Itchy pets often end up causing secondary


trauma to the skin barrier. The ROYAL CANIN® Skin Barrier Complex, consisting of B-group vitamins and an amino acid, has been heralded as one of the most effective ways of improving the quality and strength of the skin barrier. The skin barrier is like a ‘brick wall’—the epidermis is the outer-most layer of the skin and comprises specialised cells (i.e. bricks) surrounded by a specialised lipid matrix (i.e. the mortar between the bricks). Together, this forms the skin barrier and nutrition plays a significant part in its integrity. The ROYAL CANIN® Skin Barrier Complex is included within all of the dermatology range diets. In addition, the ROYAL CANIN® Skin Support Complex has been integral in supporting skin healing and regeneration. The combination of turmeric, aloe vera, taurine and lutein has been shown to inhibit seven out of eight bacterial species on canine skin, as well as promoting fibroblast migration which facilitates healing. The ROYAL CANIN® Skin Support Complex is a key component of the Skin Support diet.

TAKE A COMPLETE NUTRITIONAL APPROACH TO ALLERGIC DERMATITIS Only the ROYAL CANINÂŽ dermatological range offers the choice of extensively hydrolysed and partially-hydrolysed protein based diets for cats and dogs, allowing you to choose the level of hypoallergenicity. From diagnosis to long-term management, now there is a diet for every stage of your clinical approach.

General Enquiries phone: 1800 622 969




ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

Heard about keywords but not sure how they can grow your business? Keywords are words or phrases that people type in to a search engine to look for your products or services. Keywords aren’t things you can get right or wrong. There’s no central well of keywords that you draw upon. They are just a way for search engines, such as Google, to work out (and index) the page on your website. Every page on your website should be targeting some keywords. But which keywords you target are less important than how you structure them on the page. If you use those keywords, you are describing the content of the page to readers and search engines. You should use them in your page title, your headline, once or twice in your copy and as the name of any photos on the page. You want to target a different keyword (or keyword phrase) on every page on your site. If you target the same keyword on every page, you are competing with yourself for that keyword. To get the best possible search engine results, target a wide range of keywords across many pages. CHOOSING THE RIGHT KEYWORDS According to Google, 80 per cent of consumers use the web to research their problems. That’s before they even start to think about buying a product or service.

Help them with their problems. Then you are far more likely to be their service-of-choice when they’re ready to book an appointment. We’ve used Google Trends to work out the keywords we’re suggesting in our book, Keywords for Vets. They are not always the most searched-for phrases. Keywords that are very popular are often the subject of fierce competition. If you use a keyword that has a decent search volume, but fewer direct results, you have a better chance of ranking. We’ve noticed in our research that there are lots of pages online that deal with symptoms of illness in pets. But there is very little search volume for those keywords. Perhaps that’s because when a pet falls sick, people go straight to their local vet. You can still blog about that topic if you want. But don’t expect to end up on page one of a Google search for those phrases. Instead, promote those blog posts in a different way—through social media or in your newsletter. Want to get started with a year’s worth of blog posts developed for your vet practice by qualified journalists? Check out the advertisement below and kick things off today! Want to learn more? Email mark@engagemedia.com.au or visit yourblogposts.com.

Want to get the 100-plus keywords we found that drive Google results? Drop by and see the Vet Practice team on Stand 25 at the ASAV Conference in Melbourne for a FREE magazine. Just can’t wait to get started on your digital marketing, or not able to make it to the conference? Visit blog.yourblogposts. com/100-keywords-for-vets to download your FREE copy.

100+ KEYWORDS FOR VETS (and how to use them)


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ASAV, SCGV and AVBIG Combined Conference guide

Vepalabs invests in technology Vepalabs Veterinary Pathology has a versatile new product to offer in the form of Stethee Vet—the world’s first AI digital stethoscope specifically designed for veterinary use. This innovative product marks the first time a digital AI-enabled stethoscope has been focused on improving the experience and efficiency of acquiring, storing, sharing and diagnosing an animal’s vital sign data. Animals often have a ‘flight or fight’ reaction to seeing a traditional stethoscope, resulting too often in the vet being scratched or bitten. One of the many benefits of Stethee Vet is that the device can be used by the pet owner with the vet listening and capturing the pet’s vital signs wirelessly or on their mobile device. The animal’s vital signs are instantly uploaded

to the cloud where intelligent AI software analyses and compares millions of related vital signs to help the vet make informed diagnostic decisions. Stethee Vet is beautifully designed, easy to use and inherently powerful. Engineered with uncompromising high-resolution digital acoustic hardware to capture and filter heart and respiratory sounds with incredible clarity. M3DICINE worked with veterinary cardiologists to create a bank of specially designed filters which can be selected at the touch of a button, to enhance the subtle nuances of cardiac sounds for feline, canine, equine, bovine or more exotic patients.

Discover Stethee Vet (above), the world’s first AI stethoscope for vets, where animals’ vital signs are instantly uploaded (right).

To secure your Stethee Vet, contact Vepalabs Veterinary Pathology on 1300 837 252.

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of the

This month, our vets review an X-ray machine, a phone system, an online booking program and a dog treat.

Avaya PABX by Dr Michael Kidd, Hurlstone Park Veterinary Hospital, NSW Even though our existing phone system was fine, the NBN cabling was being placed in our street. It’s going to be a while until we can connect but I thought we’d better get ready. The Avaya PABX system is NBN compatible.

Genoray Port X2 by Kasey Coeland VN, Lower Plenty Veterinary Clinic, VIC The Genoray Port X2 is our first dental X-ray machine and we’ve only been using it for a few months. It’s very helpful in deciding whether a tooth needs to be extracted and at revealing any underlying disease below the gums. What’s good about it This digital unit is portable, generates a low dose of radiation and is very small and lightweight. I’ve used other dental X-ray units in the past and this one is much easier to operate. The plate is small which makes it easy to fit in the mouth and position. The plates are also multiple use—they just need to be covered by a small piece of disposable plastic with each patient. It takes very little time to generate a detailed X-ray. The plate is run through the processor and the X-ray is created in less than a couple of minutes. If a full mouth of dental X-rays is required then the processing takes about five to 10 minutes. The unit is so small and portable that it never gets in the way. The previous one I used was huge and bolted to the wall. The Genoray is a fast, efficient and easy-to-use system.

What’s good about it This system does the job and we are happy with it. We have two lines coming into the surgery with the capacity to expand to four lines. There is a central unit at reception and handsets throughout the building. It allows us to talk to each other through the handsets and to access the answering machine from any extension. When the phone rings, anyone can answer it and there are two hand-free receivers included with the system. When the NBN is finally completed, this system will be able to connect immediately. The technician will be able to make the connection offsite and there should be no imposition on our business. The customer service associated with the system is very good. When we first set it up, there was one small problem that was resolved quickly. All in all, we’ve been happy with this phone system and look forward to being connected to the NBN quickly and without fuss. What’s not so good I was a little concerned that the help and service desk was only available during business hours. If something went wrong with the phone system over the weekend, it would be a disaster. So far, it has all been fine but it’s still a bit of a worry. If someone calls the practice, they hear the phone ring three times before we hear the call. The system is trying to read the caller ID and that creates a bit of a lag for the person making the call. Where did you get it Members Telecom (www.memberstelecom.com.au).

What’s not so good It would be great if the images appeared on the computer screen without needing to be run through the processor. I guess that is technologically in the future. It’s also important to wear the attached strap around your neck. You really don’t want to drop the unit. Where did you get it iM3 (www.im3vet.com).


Barkaroo by Dr Peta Railton, Pet Medical, Milsons Point, NSW Barkaroo is a healthy treat for dogs made from dehydrated kangaroo fillets. We are an accredited low-stress handling clinic and have found theses treats are a great way to relax dogs and get them used to the environment in our clinic.

Vetstoria by Georgie McCarthy VN, Mona Vale Veterinary Hospital, NSW Vetstoria is an online real-time booking program that our clients can use through our website. What’s good about it Vetstoria is integrated with RxWorks and allows our clients to see what appointments we have available in real time. They can even book nurse appointments too. It is very easy to set up and to allocate which appointments we want at certain times. You can also select not to allow bookings if particular phrases are used. If someone says their animal has a tick or they have a blocked bladder or trouble peeing, then the system will inform them to call the vet in person. For standard appointments such as health checks, skin checks and vaccinations, it’s very easy. The client just goes to our website and clicks on the link for online bookings. They enter their pet’s name, a phone number, and an email, and then choose their day and time. If it’s a new client or the phone number or email don’t match within RxWorks then it is flagged as an unmatched appointment. We then verify everything with the client prior to their appointment or when they come in. We’ve had the system set up for the past six months and it has worked fantastically well. It’s easy to set for no appointments during weekends or public holidays. Clients have been very positive about this system and the staff love it.

What’s good about it Dogs find this product absolutely delicious—I’m yet to meet a dog that won’t eat it. I use it to relax the animals and to help them feel more comfortable in the clinic so that when I examine them, their experience is a good one. Usually I give them a piece of Barkaroo as soon as they walk through the door. We don’t start an examination until the dog has eaten. We also use Barkaroo during puppy school and training but its main purpose is as a sweetener when dealing with dogs that are having treatments. From an animal’s perspective, a lot of what we do is invasive and sometimes painful. We try to marry that experience with a high-value treat that tastes amazing. A lot of people use roast chicken but that goes off quickly and must be kept in the fridge. Barkaroo can be kept on a shelf and is ready to go. When a dog visits the vet, it should be more that just being pushed around, prodded and stuck with needles. We let them settle, relax, have some treats and then do what we need to do. There is no doubt that the dogs we see are happier and easier to handle by going through this process. What’s not so good The only negative is that Barkaroo can’t be fed to some dogs that have dietary allergies. Where did you get it FurFresh (furfresh.com.au).

What’s not so good If you want to chat with the online support team, they are based overseas. When you email them, it might be overnight before they reply. We haven’t had any major issues since we installed Vetstoria but there were a few small technical questions we needed resolved. Where did you get it Vetstoria (www.vetstoria.com).



Counting the beat

The sound of music is Dr Mark Schembri's passion.

“I’ve always loved music and studied clarinet and trumpet as a school student. I did music for my HSC but vet science became my number-one passion at uni and music got pushed to the background—but it was never forgotten. “Over my working life, I’ve come across many vets who also study music and play a variety of instruments. Eventually a group of us put together a small ensemble that performed at parties, functions or whatever. It was just a bit of fun. “A few years later, I set up an orchestra that included members from all backgrounds. We had musicians from the Sydney Symphony and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, as well as high school students, veterinarians, architects, nurses and the like. Despite never naming the orchestra, we play pretty consistently

at various functions. Last Christmas we performed for the Archbishop of Sydney, followed by another performance for the Governor of New South Wales. We often play in local churches at Easter time. It’s not a religious-based group but word of mouth gets us gigs. “As the ensemble grew larger and larger we realised we needed a conductor. I just stepped up and took it over. I’ve been conducting the orchestra since 2004. Initially I used my basic musician skills to work out how to conduct and strived to get better with each year. “The orchestra has 50 members now and we recently performed with singers from Opera Australia. Many of our musicians who joined when they were young are now some of Australia’s more famous, qualified musicians.


“I compare conducting an orchestra to being a vet who’s just starting out. You know the basics and you can get through anything if it’s relatively simple but with more experience, you take on more challenging pieces. “The key to being a good conductor is to smile when things are going well and to pull a face of concern when things aren’t coming together. The musicians can read your face and adjust their performance until you’re smiling again. “The key to our orchestra is that it’s all about having fun and enjoying audience response. The only problem with being the conductor is that you have your back to the crowd. I can’t read the faces in the audience and have to wait for their response at the end to see if they enjoyed it. Thankfully, the usually have!”

Interview: Frank Leggett Photography: Giovanni Portelli

With 50 people following his every move, Dr Mark Schembri, an Australian Turf Club vet at Randwick, NSW, conducts an orchestra with passion and joy.

You slog it through the mud. We’ll wade through the numbers

We may not have walked in your shoes but, after 25 years of specialising in the veterinary profession, we certainly understand what you are going through. This experience has enabled us develop a range of products and services that have been designed to meet your specific needs. And in working so closely with you, we’ve learned to be nimble, flexible and innovative. It’s a partnership. While you’ve been honing your skills to help animals, we’ve been honing our know-how to help you.

Car loans | Commercial property | Credit cards | Equipment finance | Fit-out finance | Foreign exchange | Home loans | Personal loans | Practice purchase | Practice set-up | Savings accounts | SMSF | Transaction accounts | Term deposits | Vehicle finance The issuer of these products and services is BOQ Specialist - a division of Bank of Queensland Limited ABN 32 009 656 740 AFSL no. 244616 (“BOQ Specialist”).

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Visit us at boqspecialist.com.au/vets or speak to your local finance specialist on 1300 131 141.

HE’S GOT NO IDEA WHO’S BEHIND THE WORLD’S LARGEST VETERINARY CARDIOLOGY TRIAL IN HISTORY And that’s fine with us. Because we’d rather focus our energy and resources on promoting the health of animals, not ourselves. Take EPIC, an independently-lead trial conducted over 5 years, in 360 dogs across 11 countries, that’s changing the way we manage mitral valve disease with VETMEDIN®. Earlier treatment leading to longer, healthier lives. Even he’d agree, that’s truly epic.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. Level 1, 78 Waterloo Road, North Ryde NSW 2113. ABN 53 071 187 285. VETMEDIN® is a registered trademark of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. All rights reserved.

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Vet Practice July 2018