London Vet Show 2016… Excelled!

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This year London Vet Show had a change of location and was hosted from the ExCeL. The venue contained a vast number of exhibitors and several lecture theatres covering a plethora of subjects by fantastic speakers. The opening address was provided by the BVA President, Gudrun Ravetz, who I thought presented an excellent and inspiring speech on the theme of the ‘veterinary family’. Gudrun encouraged all members of the ‘veterinary family’ to catch-up with colleagues, make new contacts and have conversations that matter, for example, on the welfare of brachycephalic pets.

No Horsing Around!

I attended several equine sessions which were far from horse play. The first session I attended was presented by Philip Ivens on strangles. Philip presented a lot of practical advice for equine vets on this subject such as sampling cases, test selection, treatment and screening for carriers. Philip made an excellent point about communication with other practices who have clients on the same yard to ensure all vets attending the stables are singing from the same hymn sheet which I think is essential for owner compliance and avoiding confusion. I also attended Brian Patterson’s ‘Blinking Sore’ ophthalmology presentation, to be honest, eyes have always scared me a little but the systematic approach outlined by Brian was first-rate. He also reminded attendees of the importance of ‘hands off’ aspect of the ophthalmic examination for example, facial symmetry, globe position and looking along the eyelash line. From head to toe (well almost!), next I listened to Ben Jacklin who presented on proximal suspensory desmitis (PSD). Ben included evidence-based practical advice with the key take home messages being that forelimb PSD with conservative management has a good prognosis but chronic hindlimb PSD carries a poor prognosis.

My equine experience continued on Friday with Rob Pascoe and his presentation on periodontal disease who gave an overview of the anatomy before discussing diastema and Rob shared lots of images and videos to illustrate the trouble they can cause and how to treat them. In terms of dental examinations, Rob recommended the use of a bright head torch, mirror and good sedation are essential. Endoscopy can be expensive but useful for showing clients and in Rob’s experience, it can help to improve owner compliance. The final equine session I attended was with Malcolm Morley on the challenges of the collapsed horse. With clinical exams, it can be tricky when you are faced with a recumbent horse and safety is a priority. Malcolm suggested that having a neurological exam checklist can be really helpful. In addition, the use of a portable lactate metre can also help with respect to prognosis and therefore decision making in these cases.

It Was Raining Cats and Dogs

If ever I had the opportunity to be in more than one place at the same time, this would have been the day to do so! There was lots of choice in terms of companion animal sessions. Alasdair Renwick provided a presentation on “Fracture fixation – how to avoid the dreaded revision surgery”, a title which I am sure appealed to many surgeons in practice. The first golden nugget Alasdair shared was to ensure that any seemingly hidden injuries are identified first (e.g. diaphragmatic hernia, ruptured bladder) before repairing the fracture. When making decisions, think about patient factors and also owner compliance factors. Alasdair also had some advice for using implants: know the implants; know the rules and follow the rules!

Susan Little from Bytown Cat Hospital, Ottawa, provided an update on feline emerging infectious diseases including invasive Aspergillus infections, Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Streptococcus canis. Susan was an amazing speaker and her presentation was very interesting. From one amazing speaker to another, David Walker also provided a brilliant presentation based on the common medical queries he receives from vets in first opinion practice. During his presentation, David covered topics such as the Campylobacter positive faecal samples, the water deprivation test, cross matching, anaemia, interpreting liver enzymes and urinary tract infections. David’s presentation was jam-packed full of highly useful information for use in practice.

The final companion animal session I attended was provided by Ed Hall who gave handy tips for managing chronic diarrhoea and discussed whether taking a biopsy from these cases is warranted or not. With respect to performing biopsies, Ed recommended asking yourself, “will it change what I do?”  Ed also deliberated over the usefulness of the information provided by faecal cultures which echoed a message that was conveyed by David Walker earlier that day. However, Ed stressed the importance of obtaining a faecal sample in young dogs with diarrhoea to rule out Giardia.

A Brief Encounter…

Since I do not have the superpower of being in more than one place at a time (as previously discussed!) I only attended one of the farm presentations. Paul Wood discussed approaches to difficult calvings drawing on his experience and published data. In terms of decision-making of when to intervene during a calving, Paul explained that the advice for this has been updated. Intervening in the calving should be considered from 30-60 minutes after the appearance of foetal membranes or 60-90 minutes after the exposure of foetal membranes when dealing with a heifer.

Overcoming the Odds?

There was a session titled, “Overcoming the odds: how can we build a more resilient profession?” which I attended because I am very interested in the future of the veterinary profession and supporting my colleagues in any way I can. Jenny Moffatt explained the importance of resilience in the profession due a high incidence of depression, anxiety, burnout and suicide and how as a profession, we need to destigmatise seeking help for mental ill-health. Jenny explained that in her experience of the veterinary curriculum, out of 2,400 contact hours, ten hours had been allocated to self-care and resilience. One of the challenges identified is that vets tend to internalise their mistakes and often don’t discuss them with others. Whilst I was at the VetEd conference in Glasgow earlier this year, Greg Wolfus from Tufts University explained that at the end of each rotation week, vet students are asked to share a mistake with their rotation group. I personally thought that was a great idea.

Kathryn Ecclestone also presented during this session and expressed that in her opinion, society in general has become obsessed with mental health interventions. In addition, she was concerned that currently mental health interventions are being delivered on an ad hoc basis with limited evidence-base in terms of how effective such interventions are. What do you think? The Mindfulness Series hosted by The Webinar Vet was hugely popular and a second series is starting in February 2017 with Mike Scanlan. Mike and Jenny are also presenting webinars during our Pre-Congress for the Fifth International Virtual Congress on Friday 20th January from 7-9pm GMT. If you would like to take advantage of the FREE registration for the RCVS resilience session, please use the following link: https://www.theinternationalwebinarvet.com/stream/rcvs-pre-congress-day/

I think I fulfilled my role within the ‘veterinary family’ by having a laugh and catching up with my friends from uni, making new contacts and having conversations that matter on resilience in the veterinary profession and the future of veterinary CPD. How was your experience of London Vet Show? What did you think about the new venue? Did you visit our stand to try The Hololens and meet Sheba the dog? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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