ASAVA names 2014’s Practitioner of the Year

The Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association has announced that the 2014 Practitioner of the Year is Mary Porter, a clinician in Sydney.

The award did not surprise Porter’s colleagues, who applauded her diagnostic and psychological skills and said, “She enjoys complex cases, listens to her clients and likes to give emotional support to owners.”

Porter graduated from the University of Sydney in 1979 with first class honors and the university medal. Despite encouragement to pursue an academic career, Porter chose to work with Henry Hirschhorn and Graham Lester at Pittwater Animal Hospital. She worked with Hirschhorn and Lester for the next 8 years reminiscing that “their thoughtful encouragement helped develop my enthusiasm for general practice and surgery – they were wonderful.”

While still a young practitioner, Porter became a Member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Canine Medicine, now the Small Animal Medicine chapter.

In 1987, Porter moved to Canberra. She began research under the late Bede Morris at the John Curtin School of Medical Research on splitting lamb embryos and investigating their immunological disparities while working with David Pembrey at Wanniassa Hills Veterinary Hospital.

Although research proved successful, Porter found her passion lay in clinical practice.

In 1989, she returned to Sydney and moved to Chatswood Veterinary Clinic with Fiona Smith and a team of “wonderful supportive colleagues.” Continue reading ASAVA names 2014’s Practitioner of the Year

Outcry over new Victoria dog laws

Veterinary groups have been highly critical of Victorian laws which led to two dogs being euthanased.

The dogs, named Bear and Kooda, were destroyed in June under Victoria’s new dangerous dog laws following a legal battle to save them.

The dogs had not engaged in antisocial behaviour, but were put down after an officer from Moira Shire Council identified them as pitbull crosses, despite the owners’ claim that they were bred from a Staffordshire-ridgeback cross and a bull mastiff cross American bulldog.

Victoria toughened its dog laws following the fatal mauling of a toddler last year.

The legislation has procedures for councils on how to identify pitbulls based on indicators such as build and head profile.

The RSPCA, AVA and ASAVA have expressed concerns that new laws could punish responsible dog owners, who follow the law and have their pit bull or pit bull crosses registered, and let irresponsible owners slip under the radar. Continue reading Outcry over new Victoria dog laws