Business: Investment in new grads’ training

A new alliance between education business VetPrac and a small group of dedicated companies is ensuring new graduates have the chance to develop skills that will help them bridge the gap between theory and practice.

An investment of over $30,000 will be awarded to graduates in 2014 with help from Aesculap, IM3, Medical Plus and Norbrook.

The award . . . → Read More: Business: Investment in new grads’ training

Increasing graduate production in the UK

The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) is a grouping of UK veterinary surgeons aiming to support vets working in practice. One of their services is to provide members with an annual salary survey which takes into account the entire salary package paid to employees including: accommodation, vehicle and CPD allowance.

Results of the 2013 survey of 600 vets have recently been released which show a fall in the salaries paid to small animal vets for the second year running. The income of employed small animal vets has fallen by 2.4 per cent since 2010 from a median full-time package of £38,000 to £37,087 this year ($66,000 to $64,500). Meanwhile living costs have risen right across the board making employed vets considerably worse off in real terms. Remuneration in equine practice was static and somewhat improved in mixed and large animal practices, though these are now much smaller employers of veterinary manpower. Continue reading Increasing graduate production in the UK

Pfizer to close Sydney plant

Veterinary and human drug pharmaceutical company Pfizer plans to close its Sydney manufacturing plant in two years.

The company’s Perth plant will not close.

Pfizer Australia has announced a phased exit of its West Ryde plant, affecting about 140 employees.

The plant produces tablets and capsules for animals and humans.

Manufacturing operations director Justin Mathie said the decision had been . . . → Read More: Pfizer to close Sydney plant

New CEO, board member for PetSure

Shaun Leveton founder and shareholder of PetSure, Australia’s largest pet insurer and part of the Hollard Group, has announced the appointment of Alexandra (Alex) Thomas as CEO of PetSure (Australia) with effect from October 2013.


Thomas previously worked in various senior roles at Optus Business. Her last role was Vice President, Managed Services and Delivery. Prior to this role she worked in Optus transformation in the position of Director, Customer Experience. Thomas is also a Non-Executive Director at Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s Office.

Leveton said the appointment was a logical next step for the business.

“With the increasing demand for pet insurance, Alex brings to PetSure her vast technology experience as well as her strong customer focus and strategic thinking; we believe she is the right person to take this business to the next stage of what has been a phenomenal growth journey to date.” Continue reading New CEO, board member for PetSure

Echocardiography: a personal experience

IMG_4493 (Large)In clinical practice, cardiology is nowadays all about echocardiography. A physical examination, chest radiographs and an ECG will only get you so far. To make a definitive diagnosis, you need to be a master of echocardiography. And the best way to achieve that end is to do hands on training. Books will only get you half the way there; to get the whole way, you need one-on-one instruction with a gifted tutor using live animals.

The fastest way to make solid progress is to do basic course in echocardiography run by the CVE, and I recently enjoyed full weekend working with Niek Beijerink in Ross Pedrana’s practice in Dubbo. Ross kindly provided a venue, his own dogs and a range of canine patients with structural heart disease from his practice. John Marriot provided a range of up-to-date GE diagnostic ultrasound units, ultrasound cushions, ECG clips and abundant acoustic coupling gel. The whole weekend was devoted to teaching and learning, with equal emphasis on theory and practice. The first day was a “basic course” designed for people with limited experience with ultrasound. The second day was an “advanced course” for people who had some experience and expertise, but who wanted to take things “to the next level”.

Niek is a skilled presenter and a very effective communicator. The first day started with the theory of diagnostic ultrasound, explaining the physics that underpins the practice of echocardiography. This is hard to make exciting, but Niek drew pertinent examples form real life to explain why you need a certain transducer frequency to do one application, but another to do something else. This was a good talk to start the day with, as it was hard work, yet completely essential. He then moved on to how to drive the machine, and how to obtain standard right parasternal long and short axis views, the bread and butter of echocardiography. This was first done in a series of PowerPoint presentations, and then again in real time using a normal canine “volunteer”. The delegates then got about 90 minutes of hand on scanning, working in groups if two at 6 different workstations, with Niek, his Resident and myself (as adjunct tutors) working with the 12 people attending the workshop. As each of the dogs had different forms of heart disease, and different thoracic wall conformation (and hence acoustic windows), the delegates moved from workstation to workstation during the course of the day. After lunch, Niek continued with further didactic presentations on M-mode echocardiography and the finer points of measurement, skills mandatory for quantitative recording of echocardiography data. This was reinforced by further demonstrations by Niek and another 90 minutes of hand-on scanning. Finally, to finish the day Niek went through a series of clinical cases with the delegates. This was a full on day, and I was pretty shattered at the end of it (it’s a long day starting at 9 am and finishing at 5.30), but the people attending were satisfied and happy, and felt they had achieved a lot. This included people that already had some considerable experience in diagnostic ultrasound; they felt they had “broken through” and now could do things faster and more reliably than before, and with better insight and understanding. Continue reading Echocardiography: a personal experience