The 2013 conference took place at Stirling Management Centre, University of Stirling on the 11th and 12th June.

Below are details of the talks given by the guest speakers. Click on the ‘+’ sign beside each title for a more detailed description.

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Small Animal Programme, 11th & 12th June

Plenary Lecture – Animal Welfare Issues by David Grant
I will talk about the spectrum of cruelty as experienced over a 45 year career but focussing on the last 25 years. This will encompass ignorance,neglect, irresponsible owners amd breeding, through to outright cruelty as seen within gangs. I will explore the underlying causes of gang membership in underpriviledged areas and explore those areas which need attention. Many of these do not figure in current proposed ‘solutions’ to the problem of dangerous dogs in particular. A lot of the material shows extreme cruelty and is shocking. However I do not think it is right to sanitise thse things.
An update on separation problems by Pippa Hutchison

The British workforce has less holiday entitlement and longer working hours than anywhere in Europe. As a result up to one million dogs are left behind while their owners are at work. Separation related behaviour represents a significant but largely unrecognised welfare problem. This presentation will review the behaviours that fall into this category of problems for the dog, and discuss strategies available to assist patients presenting with this complaint.

Appropriate levels of attachment will be discussed to encourage healthy relationships between an owner and their dog: this includes guidance on puppy choice; early development of behaviour and on-going awareness of potential triggers to separation related behaviour problems.

The relationship - human animal bond by Pippa Hutchison

Close relationships between people and animals date from the beginning of civilisation. This presentation will review work that illustrates the affiliative and therapeutic effect of human-animal interaction and the proven physiological benefits to both species.

Insight is provided into the varying intensities of interaction between owners and their animals reflecting differing relationships and levels of attachment, and why miscommunication often occurs.

It is important to have a basic knowledge of the possible psychological representation a companion animal has in an owner’s life. This assists owner compliance on approaches to treatment over the animal’s lifetime, and encourages continued pet ownership.

Diagnosing hyperadrenocorticism by Yvonne McGrotty
Hyperadrenocorticism often remains a diagnostic challenge for the small animal practitioner. The aim of this presentation is to discuss the myriad of tests available and to help decipher the results which can often leave the clinician with more questions than answers. The pros and cons of ACTH stimulation tests, dexamethasone suppression tests, basal cortisol measurements, urine cortisol to creatinine ratios, 17-hydroxyprogesterone assays, endogenous ACTH assays and imaging will be discussed. In addition, the difficulties of diagnosing hyperadrenocorticism in a patient with concurrent diabetes mellitus will be covered.
Getting the most out of your histopathology report by Jenny Helm

I aim to cover how the clinician can learn to interpret the full meaning of their biopsy results. I will discuss the types of biopsies that are appropriate for different masses; making sure that the tissue sample provided maximizes the chances of getting an accurate diagnosis. We will then look at examples of histopathology reports and make sure that the important questions are answered such as: Is a tumour present? Is it benign or malignant? What’s the histological type and grade? Are there clear margins?

Finally I will cover potential errors that can occur and how these can be overcome.

Cytology in practice by Ronnie Barron
First opinion practice has a wonderful resource of cytological wealth! The immediacy and the freshest of material are something that I can only envy!

The techniques which you use are often guided by what has been provided in the instruction leaflet contained within your rapid staining kit!
We will look at the tools you use and understand how to modify the techniques to suit different situations and samples.
There’s more than one way to cook eggs and there different options to deal with cytology preparation, staining and visualisation!
The talk will conclude with cytology cases involving differing preparation and staining techniques.

“I don’t have a referral hospital near me!” - Approach to the acute abdomen by Liz Welsh
Acute abdomen refers to the onset of abdominal pain, commonly associated with gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Signs can vary from mild and transient to severe and life threatening and these cases are always a challenge! A careful systematic evaluation of the animal is important to determine if the patient is cardiovascularly stable, to identify the underlying cause, and ultimately, to determine if the patient is surgical or not. This lecture will review the initial approach to and stabilization of these cases, but concentrate on the longer term case management decisions regarding the level of intervention and care required.
“I don’t have a referral hospital near me!” - Approach to the acute thorax by Liz Welsh
Patients presenting with an acute thorax may or may not have suffered trauma, but inevitably will be showing signs of respiratory and / or cardiovascular compromise. Careful systematic evaluation of these patients is essential for a successful outcome. This lecture will concentrate on those animals presenting with dyspnea following thoracic trauma (e.g., pulmonary contusions, pneumothorax) or as a result of pleural space disease (e.g., pyothorax). The essential techniques required to stabilize these animals will be addressed.
Chelonians by Alistair Lawrie
Chelonia encompass the common freshwater aquatic (terrapins) and various land-based, vegetarian members of the group (tortoises).
There are many different species from different continents seen in practice, and many are quite expensive so practitioners must not only be able to perform a thorough physical examination, advise on their correct husbandry and nutrition but also be able obtain and examine blood and faecal samples.
Common conditions and their treatments will be covered, including sedation / anaesthesia and basic surgery.
Nursing and pharyngostomy tube placement will be shown together with sites for fluid administration.
Delegates will learn how to confidently and successfully hibernate those species which should hibernate!
Small furries/pocket pets by Alistair Lawrie
Essentially a practical presentation for those practitioners who are less familiar with small furries.
First recognise your type of Hamster! Common conditions and safe handling will be discussed.
The most frequently presented problems and conditions in the other small rodents will also be shown together with treatment of the more problematical conditions.
Easy blood sampling techniques of all the small furries will be demonstrated so that diagnostic volumes of blood may be obtained!
Hormonal conditions of ferrets, methods of neutering/ control of breeding and the use of implants will be discussed.
Common presentations of illness in of Degus, Chinchillas, Guinea Pigs and African Pygmy Hedgehogs will be shown
Recognition of pain and decision making in small mammals will be described.
Update on the management of feline hyperthyroidism by Nicki Reed
Feline hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrinopathy of elderly cats. A number of treatment options are available for management of this condition, including oral medications, surgery and radioactive iodine. More recently dietary management and medical management with a transdermal gel have become available. Not all treatment options may be feasible with every case therefore being able to give clients appropriate alternatives is beneficial in the management of this disease. This talk aims to discuss the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of each of these treatments, thereby assisting in the decision-making process of how this condition may be managed.

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Production Animal Programme, 11th June

Plenary Lecture – Animal Welfare Issues by David Grant
I will talk about the spectrum of cruelty as experienced over a 45 year career but focussing on the last 25 years. This will encompass ignorance,neglect, irresponsible owners amd breeding, through to outright cruelty as seen within gangs. I will explore the underlying causes of gang membership in underpriviledged areas and explore those areas which need attention. Many of these do not figure in current proposed ‘solutions’ to the problem of dangerous dogs in particular. A lot of the material shows extreme cruelty and is shocking. However I do not think it is right to sanitise thse things.
Diagnosing and treating neurological disease in cattle and sheep by Phil Scott
The presentation will describe the common neurological diseases of farm animals using extensive video footage. The talk will adopt a logical neuro-anatomical approach and detail cerebrospinal fluid collection and interpretation in practice. The use of spinal anaesthesia in practice will also be described. The presentation will end using the principles described to investigate ‘unusual’ cases.
Poultry for the general practitioner by Jan Dixon
Jan Dixon from St David’s Poultry Team & Chicken Vet will be talking through the basic management of chickens together with the common ailments, diseases and treatments of domestic poultry. Chickens are presented in ever increasing numbers through the consulting room door and many vets have little experience in the treatment and diagnosis of chicken disease. The aim of this talk is to help to spread the knowledge of treating poultry around the UK.

Abdominal surgery in cattle by Karin Mueller
This presentation will give a brief overview of patient preparation, pre-and post-operative considerations, laparotomy closure, and the decision making process regarding surgical approach. The various options for correction of left displaced abomasum will be considered in detail, as will liver biopsy. Rumenotomy, rumenostomy and caecal dilatation / volvulus will be discussed briefly.
An update on Bleeding Calf Syndrome by Lottie Bell
Bovine Neonatal Pancytopenia (BNP) or Bleeding Calf Syndrome is a novel haemorrhagic disorder of calves that emerged in Europe in 2007 and in the UK in 2009. This talk will describe the clinical, haematological and necropsy findings observed in field cases of BNP. It will then present recent advances that have been made in our understanding the pathogenesis of BNP, including investigations into subclinical forms of the disease.
Digit amputation: getting it right for a productive future by Sara Pedersen
As a result of rising replacement costs and the emergence of non-healing hoof lesions, more digit amputations are being performed in practice. This presentation reviews the indications for digit amputations and the pros and cons of different amputation sites. It will cover in detail the optimal technique, including bandaging and aftercare. The results of a study analysing the effects of digit amputation on survival and performance in the herd will also be discussed.

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Vet Nurse CPD Programme, 11th June

Plenary Lecture – Animal Welfare Issues by David Grant
I will talk about the spectrum of cruelty as experienced over a 45 year career but focussing on the last 25 years. This will encompass ignorance,neglect, irresponsible owners amd breeding, through to outright cruelty as seen within gangs. I will explore the underlying causes of gang membership in underpriviledged areas and explore those areas which need attention. Many of these do not figure in current proposed ‘solutions’ to the problem of dangerous dogs in particular. A lot of the material shows extreme cruelty and is shocking. However I do not think it is right to sanitise thse things.
The nurse's role in managing acute wounds by Liz Welsh
  • Preparation of slides
  • How to look at slides: which lens/magnification?
  • What you expect to see
  • What you should not see (artefacts)

The veterinary nurse plays a critical role in the management of acute wounds in every veterinary practice. These wounds may range from simple, clean incisional surgical wounds through to contaminated traumatic wounds, or in some cases infected wounds where the initial presentation of the animal has been delayed. This lecture will highlight the veterinary nurse’s role in managing these wounds, providing tips and tricks for how to ensure that wound healing progresses in a timely manner while limiting complications.

Making the most of your microscope by Ronnie Barron
In first opinion practice, time is almost always of the essence. If you have to examine material, be it an ear smear or a skin tape strip or a blood smear, you need to be able to get the best image possible.
The quality of the light microscopes available to us has increased dramatically but if we do not use them to best effect then that benefit of improving optics and technology is lost. By optimising setup and tailoring that to each technique hopefully you can go back for another look at that monster in the back room or lab!
An overview of staining and an interactive session will conclude the presentation and hopefully give some assistance or technique tips.

Absolutely anything but rabbits by Alistair Lawrie
This lecture will concentrate on the first aid and nursing of some common small furries and pricklies.
Critical care, including syringe – feeding diets, blood sampling techniques and sites will be shown together with recognition of the signs of pain and illness.
Easy and foolproof (!) methods of sex determination and safe handling will be briefly mentioned as well as the special needs of some species.
Recognition of the species of patient is important with regards to hypo and hyperthermia.
The various types of Hamsters, Gerbils, Degus, Chinchillas, Guinea pigs, Ferrets and African hedgehogs and their common diseases will be mentioned as well as tips for helping them to survive surgery!
Behaviour and welfare of rabbits (and other small prey species) by Pippa Hutchison

It is now widely accepted that total health care involves both an animal’s physical and mental wellbeing. Whilst veterinary professionals traditionally focus on physical health making sure an animal is free from injury or disease, they also need to focus on mental health. By educating owners about the needs of animals in their care, states of fear or anxiety will be reduced for these prey species.

This presentation will cover the owner’s responsibility by law, together with the ethology and evolution of a variety of prey species; their behaviour needs and how the environment, particularly in which rabbits are kept, affects their behaviour repertoire.

Anaemia uncovered by Yvonne NcGrotty
  • Tests
  • The role of VNs in diagnosis
  • Making the most of in-house haematology

Anaemia is a common presenting sign in small animal practice. During this presentation we will discuss the logical approach to the investigation of anaemia; this will include an overview of the numerous in-house tests which are likely to be performed by the veterinary nurse, such as saline agglutination tests, blood smears and the use of haematology analysers. The use of in-house blood typing and crossmatching kits will also be covered. The role of the veterinary nurse in helping achieve a correct diagnosis will be discussed.

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Equine Programme, 12th June

Practical AI for the General Practitioner by Jonathan Pycock
Artificial Insemination (AI) is becoming more and more popular and mare owners will require their mare to be accurately monitored during oestrus and carefully inseminated. Stallion owners requiring semen collection requires adequate preparation beforehand especially if you are going to do an on farm collection. Proper handling of the semen and detailed analysis are necessary to allow proper packaging of the semen ensuring it arrives at the mare in an optimum state.
A successful AI programme depends upon:
STALLION

 a thorough examination for breeding soundness on the stallion
 confirmation that the stallion has semen of sufficient quality
 appropriate cooling and storage of the semen sample after collection

MARE

 a satisfactory breeding soundness examination
 the induction of an ovulatory oestrus
 the accurate prediction of ovulation
 correct timing of insemination relative to ovulation
 appropriate storage, thawing and handling of semen
 correct insemination technique
 post-insemination examination and treatments as required
 correct pregnancy diagnosis 14 to 16 days after insemination

An Update on Equine Joint Disease and Current Therapies by Sarah Boys Smith
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of lameness in the both the performing and the older horse and it represents the end-stage of several disease processes, including cartilage degeneration, the deterioration of the underlying subchondral bone and damaging effects on the adjacent supporting soft tissue structures. Its management is thus of utmost importance. This presentation aims to review the disease process and to discuss the different management options that are available to us.
The Use of Ultrasonography and the Importance of Comparative Imaging in the Equine Athlete by Sarah Boys Smith
The significant increase in the portability of good equine imaging equipment over recent years has significantly affected the way that we work and what we can offer our clients. This presentation describes some of the uses of musculoskeletal ultrasonography as well as the importance of comparative imaging in the diagnosis of equine lameness. I will cover some of the more common causes, as well as the rarer causes of lameness.
The recumbent horse by David Sutton
Synopsis to follow.