Sunday, October 17, 2010

Continuing Education and networking at SVA Conference 2010

Continuing education by attending seminars can provide useful knowledge in veterinary medicine and surgery as the speakers share experiences and latest knowledge in their field.


1. The Australian vet aged around 69 years old has a large cat practice in Australia. He shared lots of useful experiences about cat surgeries and anaesthesia, pain killers and dosages. I asked him whether he has a book about his lectures.

It is a pity he has no time to record his experiences with dosages and effects of drugs in cats in a book as he has better things to do. His presentation was not boring as he inserted humourous video clips so that the audience does not fall asleep. I took images of his slides for knowledge management. Many of his surgical info can be applied to dogs, rabbits, ferrets. He does not favour domitor. Prefers methadone, fentanyl patches and meloxicam for cat analgesia.

2. An American vet from Guam has set up a top vet hospital in Guam though he was the last to set up. He has a vet who goes around the islands to do sterilisations and treat animals. He treated 7 dolphins.

Most common case is dog bite wounds. The vet bill would be around US$400 as they are serious wounds. Sterilisation is around US$30-35 payable in advance and no refunds. There are 5 practices in Guam which has a population of 170,000 and includes 42 islands nearby. Two vet practices may be closing down. "Are they backwards?" I asked. "Yes," he said. "They don't have gaseous anaesthetic machines."

I think success in vet practice is not a given as there are many factors involved. As at Oct 2010, Singapore's 41st small animal practice will be set up, one Hills' representative told me when he visited me.

The American vet has a sense of humour. Dr James Tan and I had the impression of him as the stereotypical Harley Davidson biker zooming on the highways of Guam in leather jackets and helmets. He looked like one. White haired, pony-tailed, white beard, a big sized belly and a commanding presence. Dr Tan expressed his thoughts of him as a HD biker. "No," he said. "I don't ride bikes since I had falls when I was 17. It is too painful." He is in his 50s. I will like to visit Guam one of these days and see his hospital.

Once he performed a Caesarean on a cow in Guam. "I had not done Caesarean for over 43years. So I phoned my friend in the U.S for help. Then I tied the cow to the tree while I operated. As I cut, the cow moved sideways. Coconuts started to fall from the tree."

"No coconut fell on your head?" I asked.
"No, no," he replied. "My assistants held up two umbrellas while I operated."
Cow caesareans are traditionally done in the field with epidural anaesthesia during my internship in Scotland in the early 1970s. Anaesthesia may have changed. The incision is from the flank. It is non-sterile surgery but the cow usually is OK with antibiotics.

Attending local conferences can be very interesting if the vet bothers to get to know the foreign vets instead of sitting with their friends.

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