Decorated veterinarian made Companion of Charles Sturt University

Douglas Bryden, AM, was made Companion of the University of Charles Sturt University, in recognition of his role in the development of CSU’s veterinary degree.

Bryden was one of the early consultants called upon to develop the degree program – before most people knew about it.

As Bryden recalled, it was a bit like being asked to participate in a secret-service mission.

“I got a phone call one evening in 2002 from Wagga Wagga asking would I come down and discuss something,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what it was they wanted to discuss or why, but I knew from the questions they were asking that it was really important.” Continue reading Decorated veterinarian made Companion of Charles Sturt University

Organic farming: where are the vets?

An unexpected aspect of the growth in popularity of organic farming has revealed a lack of vets trained to treat organically farmed animals. This shortage was highlighted recently in the US, and has also been recognised in the UK. With growing public concern about intensively farmed animals, and a rise in demand for organically grown meat, similar challenges could soon face Australia’s organic farmers should their animals require veterinary treatment.

The results of a survey conducted in the US recently, that looked at the issue of veterinary care for organic producers, revealed herd health presented few challenges for most farmers, since they were generally able to handle most health problems themselves without consulting a vet.

The study was led by Jenny O’Neill, an Iowa State University graduate student in sustainable agriculture, and participants in the survey involved members of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association who work with food animals, and organic livestock producers certified by the US Department of Agriculture. Continue reading Organic farming: where are the vets?

Abstracts: Use of analgesic drugs for pain management in sheep

Awareness of pain and its effects is increasing within the veterinary profession, but pain management in food animals has been neglected. Sheep seldom receive analgesics despite various conditions, husbandry practice and experimental procedures being known to be painful, eg footrot, mastitis, vaginal prolapse, castration, vasectomy, penis deviation, and laparoscopy. The evidence supporting use of analgesic drugs in this species is reviewed here. Opioid agonists are of dubious efficacy and are short acting. α(2)-agonists such as xylazine are good, short-lived analgesics, but induce hypoxaemia. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ketoprofen provide long-lasting analgesia, but not as marked as that from α(2)-agonists; they should be more widely used for inflammatory pain. Local anaesthetics reliably block pain signals, but may also induce motor blockade. Balanced analgesia using more than one class of drug, such as an α(2) agonist (eg medetomidine) and N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist (eg ketamine), with the combination selected for the circumstances, probably provides the best analgesia for severe pain. It should be noted that there are no approved analgesic drugs for use in sheep and therefore the use of such drugs in this species has to be off-label. This information may be useful to veterinary practitioners, biomedical researchers, and regulators in animal welfare to develop rational analgesic regimens which ultimately may improve the health and welfare of sheep in both farming and experimental conditions. Continue reading Abstracts: Use of analgesic drugs for pain management in sheep

First the floods, now animal welfare issues

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPA) and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) have advised flood-hit communities to be prepared for animal welfare issues.

DPI Bourke’s veterinary officer Charlotte Cavanagh, said a number of ailments become more prevalent in wet conditions.

“When the floods are on, a lot of animals are standing in water, so hooves become softened, which can lead the way to foot abscesses, especially when access to stock becomes limited due to the water,” she said.

Cavanagh said the combination of flooding and warm weather could also pose problems. Continue reading First the floods, now animal welfare issues

‘Normal’ feline vomiting – is there such a thing?

A visiting feline specialist has challenged what he labelled as “the greatest of all feline myths”: namely that chronic vomiting in the cat is normal.

Gary Norsworthy, based the Alamo Feline Health Centre in Texas, says that all too frequently chronic vomiting in cats is dismissed as result of eating too quickly, anxiety, hairballs or the fact that the cat is “just a puker”.

But Norsworthy presented compelling data at the Centre for Veterinary Education’s annual Feline Medicine conference which suggests that vomiting reflects significant small bowel disease in the cat.

“The typical history of these cats is that they are lifelong vomiters, often with a recent increase in the frequency of vomiting,” Norsworthy said. “It might have been occasional for months to years, then one to three times a month, and now its daily but the cat seems well and has a good appetite.” Continue reading ‘Normal’ feline vomiting – is there such a thing?