Committee contemplation

When should we advise euthanasia for a terminally ill animal rather than palliative care? Should we reduce or waive the fee to save the life of an ill patient? Would it be a good idea to insist that patients who need surgical correction for significant hereditary problems also be desexed to prevent genetic transmission? Might we refer people for grief counselling when they appear to be having trouble coping? In this day and age, should we be killing healthy, non-dangerous animals simply because the animal’s owner requests it?

Ethical questions like these crop up in ordinary veterinary clinics and hospitals. Vets and nurses handle these questions in, as it were, an informal manner – sometimes by consulting their consciences and occasionally also by discussing them with friends and colleagues. As we know, however, vets/nurses often lack time to discuss these issues. Very often, they will not have received much formal education in bioethics or animal ethics. Continue reading Committee contemplation

Bearing witness: Adele Mapperson

The bond between human and animal is increasingly recognised in published literature as unique, important and typically mutually beneficial. More veterinary schools are explicitly training veterinarians to recognise and acknowledge that bond. But what happens when it breaks down?

A US study involving 177 clients across 14 practices found that 30 per cent of pet owners experienced . . . → Read More: Bearing witness: Adele Mapperson

Lort Smith plans bushfire triage workshop

A bushfire victim.Fire-related injuries in veterinary practice are generally an uncommon occurrence – with the significant exception of vulnerable animals during bushfire season.

Bushfires are becoming an increasing threat to vulnerable communities across Australia, with veterinarians dealing with increasing challenges from the 2009 “Black Saturday” bushfires in Victoria to the current disasters in New South Wales.  A sound clinical approach in the triage, medical and surgical care of burns is crucial to avoid common complications, alleviate suffering and improve outcomes.

With bushfire season upon us, The Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne has decided to take a proactive stance towards bushfire preparedness. As the largest companion animal hospital in Australia, employing more than 30 vets and 50 nurses, The Lort will play a key role in any bushfire response and the clinical care of companion animals and wildlife, particularly in Victoria.

The hospital is developing its own Bushfire Response Plan, a 12-month project designed to establish a clear plan with regards to what role the hospital would play, and how this plan would be implemented in the event of another large scale fire.

Of the phases that transpire in disaster management, our strengths are in medicine and surgery, hence our activities would largely play out in the ‘response’ phase. Additionally, being a community-focused not-for-profit organisation, we would aim to assist people-in-need with the care of their bushfire-affected companion animals, as well as injured strays and native animals.

With the support of the Australian Veterinary Association (Victorian Division), the National Australia Bank and Vet Education, the project will deliver training to Lort staff  and is extending an open invitation to vets and nurses across government, private and not-for-profit sectors to participate. Training starts with a webinar on 21 November 2013 entitled The Medical & Surgical Management of Burns in Companion Animals.

To register, visit this page.

Continue reading Lort Smith plans bushfire triage workshop