Big attendance at emergency and critical care congress - Veterinary Practice
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Big attendance at emergency and critical care congress

CLOSE to 550 veterinary surgeons,
nurses and exhibitors attended the
7th Emergency and Critical Care
Congress run by Vets Now in
Harrogate last month. The number
of veterinary surgeons was well
over 200.

There had been doubt about the
use of the customary venue, the
Majestic Hotel, following a fire in May
which caused extensive damage but
apart from a loss of bedrooms
necessitating many delegates having to
stay in nearby hotels, the congress was
able to use all the usual facilities.

The event started with the annual
awards ceremony for staff, recognising
outstanding achievements in nine
different categories, followed by two
full days of lectures and workshops –
starting at 8.30am each day.

The main themes were ultrasound
and trauma. Keynote speakers
included Sophie Adamantos, lecturer
in emergency and critical care
medicine at the RVC; Dr Matt Beal,
associate professor of emergency and
critical care medicine at Michigan
State University; veterinary technician
Alison Gottlieb, who chairs the
continuing education committee for
the New Jersey Veterinary Technician
Association; and Dr Jennifer Devey, a
diplomate of the American College of
Emergency and Critical Care, who
writes and lectures extensively; and Paul Mahoney from the Willows
Veterinary Centre and Referral

A number of senior Vets Now
staff were among the lecturers:
Amanda Boag, clinical director;
Professor Stuart Carmichael, director
of referral services; Richard Coe and
Yvonne McGrotty, from the Vets Now
referral hospital in Glasgow; and
David Smith and Andrew Parker from
head office who discussed
“communications techniques”, with
the emphasis on how to make better
use of websites, and “how to get a
good work-life balance”.

There were three lecture streams
for both veterinary surgeons and
nurses on Thursday, with an advanced
stream on the Friday designed for
those with more extensive experience
in ECC.

A session on evidence-based
veterinary medicine drew a small
audience. It began with a presentation
from Dr Rachel Dean, director of the
Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary
Medicine at the Nottingham veterinary
school, who asked “Why do you do
what you do?”

She went on to say that there was
a dearth of evidence for veterinary
emergency and critical care work with
a lot of the methods used based on
human work and not validated for
veterinary patients.

Dr North said
it was important
to: critically
appraise the evidence that is
available and
make a critical
assessment of
its quality and
identify the
‘holes” in the
knowledge base;
understand the
limitations of
current evidence
and don’t over-
interpret results;
and admit “we
don’t know”
when evidence
is lacking.

She finished
by calling on all
surgeons to get
involved in

Dr North
was followed by
Amanda Boag
who discussed steroid use.
Acknowledging that the evidence base
was limited, she went through the
evidence for and against the use of
steroids in various groups of critically
ill animals. One of her conclusions
was that, according to the evidence
gleaned so far, corticosteroids should
not be used routinely in the treatment
of head injury.

Richard Coe was the final speaker
in this session and he discussed antibiotic therapy and wound
management, especially in relation to
surgical site infections. He noted that
there were some serious difficulties in
using an evidence-based medicine
approach when considering these as
many of the interventions had never
been tested in randomised double-
blind controlled clinical trials because
they were too well established. In
addition, the rate of such infections in
“clean” surgery was very low.

The key gap in our knowledge, he
said, is the incidence of infection
following surgery in the
general practice environment.

  • The exhibition at the congress was
    the largest ever with more than 40
    stands and quite a number of names
    new to the event.

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