Vet Practice December 2014

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  • DECEMBER 2014 $6.95 GST INCL.

    Heart landWhat it takes to run a practice covering one quarter the area of Australia, page 10

    Howdy partnerGoing into business together? Discover thebest structure foryou,page 26

    A blogs best friendLearn how to engage an online audience, page 14

    goodTwenty years after opening

    the first cat vet hospital in New South Wales, Dr Kim Kendall reflects on her achievements



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    An online presence is essential for all veterinary practices, but is it worth the effort? (Hint: Absolutely!) Kerryn Ramsey explains further


    engage their own target audience on Facebook, but they have to walk a very thin line in regard to tone. Posts that are too cute or too funny can give the impression that your business is not serious enough about its work.

    A veterinary practice, however, deals with animalsand animals are the benchmark for cute and funny on the internet. Tabatha Whitehead is the practice manager at Wilston Vet in Windsor, an inner-northern suburb of Brisbane, where shes responsible for the practices successful Facebook page. Our industry really has the double whammywe can post cute or funny things about animals until our hearts content, she says. The good thing is that these images are very popular and yet dont take away from our professionalism. We are very lucky in that regard.

    Facebook likes means that your page is directed at a targeted audience. If you are posting animal-related topics, they will reach, and be shared, by people interested in animals. As your Facebook numbers grow, the people viewing your page are exactly the people you wish to engage.

    Its a good idea to post at least once a day and to respond quickly to any questions or comments.

    IN THIS DIGITAL AGE, ITS A SIMPLE business necessity for a veterinary practice to have an easy-to-read website and a contact point via an email address. The continuing growth of social media also means it makes great business sense to delve a little deeper into blogging and Facebook. Once dismissed as the domain of people with too much time on their hands, these sites now play a vital role in marketing and reputation management. In addition, they encourage word of mouth, share news with customers, and are a cost-effective way to improve revenue.

    As of April this year, Facebook had over 13 million Australian users with over nine million Aussies visiting the site every day. Facebook is where people interact and share information. Blogs, on the other hand, are an opportunity for veterinarians to post information about their practice and other animal-centric topics.

    So whats the difference between

    Timeline About Photos Likes Videos


    Facebook and blogging? Its hard to compare the two as they provide different but important benefits to a businesss online marketing strategy, says Tracy Raiteri of Townsville Social Media Marketing. With Facebook, the business is going to the target market; with a blog, the business is attracting prospects.

    Setting up and maintaining a Facebook page is quick and easy. The page lets people know who you are and gives them a sense of your personality. Posts are usually short and can be things such as a birthday announcement, a cute pet photo or a timely warning about tick season. While a light-hearted tone is the way to go, you still want your practice to be seen as professional and to be providing valuable educational material.

    Veterinary practices have a big advantage over other businesses in that most other professionsbe it doctors, dentists, accountants or salespeoplewant to

    December 2014

    News + events4. Associate degree in veterinary nursing...Australias hottest ginger; Vet Nurse of the Year winner and more

    Your world10. Spirit of the northDespite owning a practice that covers one quarter of the area of Australia, Dr Stephen Cutter of Palmerston, Northern Territory, still found time to start many groundbreaking programs

    Your business14. Unleash the blogsAn online presence is essential for all veterinary practices, but is it worth the effort to blog and Facebook? (Hint: Absolutely!)

    22. To your healthIts often the case in medicine that the practitioner takes care of everyones health but their own, which can have dire repercussions

    26. Power coupleThinking of going into partnership with a colleague? We share some legal and financial issues to consider

    Cover story17. CatvocateShe knew from the age of seven she wanted to dedicate her life to saving animals

    Your tools8. New productsThe latest and greatest gear for your practice

    29. Product guideVet Practice magazines guide to the innovators of 2014

    39. Tools of the tradeImproving the ability to monitor anaesthetics; a revolutionary way to treat diabetes and more are under review this month

    Your life42. Hockey jockeysDrs Damian McShane and Stewart Ryan played hockey together as students at University of Melbourne. Thirty years later theyre teammates once again





    42 22


    Editorial Director Rob Johnson

    Sub-editor Kerryn Ramsey

    Editor Nicole Hogan

    Digital Director Ann Gordon

    Art Director Lucy Glover

    Contributors John Burfitt, Frank Leggett, Charmaine Teoh, Samantha Trenoweth

    Commercial Director Mark Brown

    For all editorial or advertising enquiries:Phone (02) 9660 6995 Fax (02) 9518

    Vet Practice magazine is published 11 times a year by Engage Media, Suite 4.17, 55 Miller Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009. ABN 50 115 977 421. Views expressed in Vet Practice magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Engage Media. Printed by Webstar.



    Sales Director Adam Cosgrove

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    4,517 - CAB Audited as at September 2014

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    news + events

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    Merial Australia Pty Ltd, Building D 12-24 Talavera Rd, Macquarie Park, NSW 2113. ABN 53 071 187 285 FRONTLINE PLUS is a registered trademark of Merial. 2014 Merial Limited. All rights reserved. FRLP.14.08.125. Source: IPSOS Pet Owner Study Feb 2014



    MRL0086 Lewis Vet Practise 297x210 v01.indd 1 21/11/2014 10:09 am

    Melbourne Polytechnic has announced the first Australian associate degree of veterinary nursing will be welcoming students in 2015 in purpose-built facilities at its Epping campus in Victoria.

    Anyone who has dreamed of a career caring for animals will be interested in this course, which will equip graduates for careers ranging from veterinary nursing all the way through to running their own veterinary practice.

    Its the first course of its kind in Australia, and is the result of three years of planning by Melbourne Polytechnic and the course coordinator, veterinarian Dr Meg Dietze, previously a lecturer in Melbourne Polytechnics bachelor of equine studies, who carried out extensive industry consultation for the development of this course.

    The UK introduced veterinary nursing degrees 14 years ago, and they are now

    offered by 14 institutions, said Dr Dietze.The two-year associate degree of

    veterinary nursing is a response to demand for a qualification that provides advanced opportunities in the animal industry. The prestigious Myerscough College in the UK advised and reviewed materials, and Dr Dietze also set up a local advisory reference group comprising key advisers from the field.

    Vets are looking for nurses with advanced qualifications, especially in larger or more complex practices, and nurses are looking for pathways for advancement and opportunities to manage their own businesses, said Dr Dietze, who consulted with the industry both in Australia and overseas to design the course.

    One of the most challenging aspects for current veterinary nursing students is finding clinical placements to gain hands-on experience. The Melbourne Polytechnic associate degree of veterinary nursing course includes extensive industry experience, including clinical placements at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne, combined with a final six-month internship to enable students to gain experience.

    This landmark agreement with Lort Smith ensures graduates will gain in-depth experience in a range of situations and across a wide range of species. They will be supervised and taught by visiting Melbourne Polytechnic academic experts, as well as being coached

    by experienced nurses and vets who have been trained to act as clinical coaching associates.

    General manager of nursing services at Lort Smith, Dana Keirs, said the associate degree will have a positive impact, not just on employers but on the veterinary profession as a whole.

    We rely heavily on experienced, well-trained nurses who play a critical role. Through our association with Melbourne Polytechnic, we will have confidence and certainty in the level of training and knowledge that the graduates will bring to their roles, said Keirs.

    Its a huge win for the vet nursing profession and will enhance its status and improve career options for nurses.

    Graduates will also be trained in the advanced interpersonal skills required to lead teams and manage practices.

    Working effectively with humans is just as important as being able to work with animals, said Dr Dietze. Whether its their colleagues or the family members who are distressed about their pets, or people in the community who need to be educated about issues relevant to animal welfare, veterinary nurses need to be able to interact well with everyone they deal with.

    Associate degree in veterinary nursing first in Australia

    Hot gingersA new nation-wide campaign has been launched to find Australias Hottest Ginger Pet.

    Hosted on Buderim Gingers new online portal, The Ginger Net, where users can find everything from ginger cat videos to ginger beverages and recipes, the competition invites entrants to submit a photograph of their favourite ginger pet. With competition entries open until December 21, 2014, all submissions will be published in a photo gallery on the Ginger Net.

    Open to public voting, the ginger pet with the most public votes or Likes will take out the title and also win a GoPro HERO3+ and the new GoPro Fetch harness for their furry mate, to a total value of $620. A selection of exciting weekly entry prizes will also be up for grabs, including over $1600 worth of Shop4Pets gift vouchers.

    For more information, go to:

    Congratulations to the

    winners of the 2014 Vet

    Practice reader surveyDr Donna Weber of Cloncurr


    Veterinary Surgery (iPad Air)

    and Dr Jennifer Larsen of

    Farm & Pet Veterinary

    Service (iPad Mini).

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    Merial Australia Pty Ltd, Building D 12-24 Talavera Rd, Macquarie Park, NSW 2113. ABN 53 071 187 285 FRONTLINE PLUS is a registered trademark of Merial. 2014 Merial Limited. All rights reserved. FRLP.14.08.125. Source: IPSOS Pet Owner Study Feb 2014



    MRL0086 Lewis Vet Practise 297x210 v01.indd 1 21/11/2014 10:09 am

  • 6

    news + events

    Queensland researchers said they have made a breakthrough in the fight to protect the shrinking koala population against chlamydia.

    Scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, said they had successfully vaccinated koalas against the disease, which was responsible for about 50 per cent of the marsupials deaths.

    Researchers said a vaccination could be the key to protecting the native species from the painful and deadly disease.

    Koala numbers had dropped dramatically in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory over the past 20 years.

    Microbiologist Professor Peter Timms of the University of the Sunshine Coast in the states south-east said chlamydia was one of the main reasons for that.

    In females, not only do they get reproductive tract disease which might lead to infertility, but also they get large cysts and theyre quite painful, he said.

    You can see the animals that have these cysts and they can die from that. As well as that, of course, the ones that are infected in the eyes become blind, and it makes it

    difficult for them to feed. In somewhere like south-east Queensland, unfortunately there are wild dogs present.

    Professor Timms spent five years working on a vaccine to protect the animals from the disease The research team initially tested the treatment on captive koalas with good results. The next step was to vaccinate 30 wild koalas in the Moreton Bay region, north of Brisbane.

    Professor Timms said the results were very promising. The first thing is, animals that are already infecteddid it stop the infections

    going higher or getting more infection load? And the answer to that is yes, he said.

    The second thing is some animals dont yet have the infection, so we tested whether or not the vaccine would prevent them from getting new infections.

    He said the vaccine could be a crucial step towards improving fertility in female animals to help the population survive.

    None of our vaccinated animals went from having an infection to getting actual disease no blindness or reproductive tract cysts. Whereas in the control group, three of them went from having an infection, but then going on to get a disease.

    Professor Timms said it would be unrealistic to vaccinate every koala, but would be sensible to treat the hundreds of animals processed through care centres and animal hospitals.

    Thats an ideal opportunity to vaccinate those koalas while theyre already there, before theyre released back into the wild, he said.

    But as well as that, theres more and more populations, and the ones weve been doing this trial on in the Moreton Bay region is a good example, where its humans causing them to be impacted by what we do.

    Those animals can then be captured and potentially the whole population is vaccinated. Theres plenty of opportunities to vaccinate thousands and thousands of the ones that are most vulnerable at this point in time.

    The Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA) and Hills Pet Nutrition recently joined together to recognise the dedication, commitment and the important role in which veterinary nurses perform every day through their chosen career path.

    The National Vet Nurse of the Year award is granted to a qualified veterinary nurse employed within a veterinary clinic, who provides exceptional service and delivers the highest possible standard of patient care.

    The winner of the 2014 Vet Nurse of the Year award is Tiffany Swift, a veterinary nurse at the Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic, a mixed practice in northern New

    South Wales. She has been working at the practice for the past six years and in that time has completed a two-year school-based traineeship, a two-year apprenticeship and a Certificate 4 in Vet Nursing. She is now in the process of completing her diploma of veterinary nursing.

    Practice owner Dr Stephanie...