Today is the 74th birthday of Jim Davis, the cartoonist who created Garfield the cat. His lasagne-loving, Mondays-hating feline has since spawned a legion of fans and holds the Guinness World Record for the most widely syndicated comic strip. It also spawned a terrible movie that nearly ruined Bill Murray’s career, but we don’t need to talk about that. In Marion, Indiana, where Garfield is from, there are several large statues of the orange tabby, and his likeness graces various plush toys, theme park rides, and giant parade day balloons. He also inspired an album of R&B and contemporary jazz songs called “Am I Cool or What?”; it peaked at number 23 in the contemporary jazz chart in 1991, before sinking into oblivion where it belongs.

As Garfield’s stated birthday is 19th June 1978, he is currently 41 years old (and yet he hasn’t aged a day). This means he is likely the oldest continually reappearing cartoon cat. However, he is not the oldest cartoon pet: Dennis the Menace’s dog Gnasher is about 68 years old, and a dog routinely appeared in the classic cartoon strip The Katzenjammer Kids, which ran for 109 years.

Interestingly, Davis first attempted to find his cartoon fame with a character called Gnorm Gnat, which followed the adventures of a gnat and his insect friends. He was advised to pick an animal that people would relate to better; his grumpy, lazy, egotistical cat immediately struck a chord with people who also owned grumpy, lazy, egotistical cats, which is to say, everybody who owned a cat.

Radiation safety and best practice

By Mike Herrtage

Going Live Thursday 1st August at 8:30 p.m.

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) came into force in 1 January 2017. The two most significant changes over IRR99 included the requirement for all veterinary employers who work with X-rays to register with the HSE and for the management of radiation safety to be based on risk assessment.

At the end of 2017, HSE inspectors carried out inspections at a number of veterinary practices. They identified a number of failings including:

Risk assessment: Many practices either had no radiation risk assessment or the risk assessment was, in the opinion of the Inspectors, inadequate. The Approved Code of Practice in the regulations give a clear indication of the matters that should be considered in a risk assessment.

X-ray warning lights: There is an expectation that any warning lights are ‘automatic’ and failsafe where this is practicable to achieve. If it is not practicable to achieve these standards then other options should be explored such as the use of a dual bulb system.

Managing x-ray servicing engineers: There should be arrangements in place to manage how service engineers comply with the regulations when they are working at a veterinary practice. There should be an exchange of information prior to the visit to set out how this will be achieved in practice.

Training: Many of the practices didn’t have a required training policy in place for the Radiation Protection Supervisors, others involved in taking the x-rays and other people on the premises who need to be aware of the radiation hazard. Such policies should include regular refresher training for relevant staff. Records of any training carried out should be made available.

This webinar will cover the requirements of IRR17 from a practical approach to help participants understand the requirements and the reasoning behind the requirements.



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