Confidence, ear-cleaning and more in Barcelona - Veterinary Practice
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Confidence, ear-cleaning and more in Barcelona

David Grant presents the second half of a report from the Southern European Veterinary Conference, held from 15th to 17th October in Barcelona, with another selection of lectures on a range of topics

LECTURING on practice management at the SEVC was Brian Faulkner from the UK. One of his contributions was intriguingly entitled The confidence chromosome. This turned out to be a metaphor and not a talk on genetics.

Brian’s lecture was delivered in a similar rapid-fire delivery to Ernie Ward (see last month’s report), but contained some unfamiliar concepts to a veterinary audience.

Brian has qualifications in psychology as well as being very well qualified as a vet and he summarised work undertaken by Carol Dweck, an American psychologist.

Dr Dweck has published a book, Mindset: The new Psychology of Success. In this book she explains how we become optimistic or pessimistic. Everyone has one of two basic mindsets. If you have the fixed mindset, you believe your talents and abilities are set in stone – either you have them or you don’t.

This is a path of stagnation. If you have a growth mindset you know that talents can be developed and that great abilities are built over time. This is the path of opportunity and success.

Brian developed these basic themes in his talk and is clearly passionate about building confidence and self- esteem. Throughout the talk he contrasted positive and negative reactions to challenges that we all face: stress, lack of confidence to do certain procedures and so on, gradually building a “chromosome” that ended up as overwhelmingly positive and constructive – the path to success.

This was one of those talks that you needed to go back to in the way that you can with a webinar, for example. I was stimulated to think about getting Carol Dweck’s book nevertheless.

More down to earth and more in my comfort zone was one of Sue Paterson’s dermatology talks. The one that intrigued me was entitled Ear cleaning – what to use and how to use it. The reason I was intrigued was to see how she would tackle a whole hour on ear cleaning. No problem!

This was a well-thought-out and logical presentation that attracted, like the other ones I have mentioned, a full house with standing room only for some.

Sue began by outlining the process of epithelial migration and then moved on to the various means of ear cleaning and making a seemingly obvious point, apparently often forgotten, to clean first then use eardrops. Other important practical tips were that every practice should have at least three different types of ear cleaner in the clinic and that they shouldn’t be used if over three months old as contamination is a possibility with bacteria such as Pseudomonas. Sue’s preferred delivery system was a simple syringe and urinary catheter but she noted that the procedure might take 45 minutes and is best done by experienced nurses.

The colour and nature of discharge is a useful indicator in determining which cleaner to use. This was well illustrated in the form of a table. Dark brown and thick wax is associated with ceruminous otitis, pale brown and moderate wax with Malassezia, yellow and mild wax with Staphylococcus and purulent haemorrhagic with Pseudomonas.

Some cleaners are cerumenolytic while others exert an antibacterial or antifungal effect, hence the need for more than one cleaner and a careful assessment of their mode of action.

There was an enormous amount of information in this talk with comments on many of the available products and it was well-received by the audience.

Information on ear cleaning is sparse in the literature but well covered in chapter four of a book jointly written by Richard Harvey and Sue (Otitis Externa: An Essential Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment. 2014, CRC Press).

There were workshops on ultrasonography with live dogs, surgical procedures on post-mortem material, haematology, wound management, orthopaedics and reproduction-guided trans-cervical endoscopic insemination of bitches.

For this session bitches in oestrus would be available. There seemed to be no shortage of live material in Barcelona (even nasty dogs for a  workshop on treating aggression!).

With a timetable starting first thing and ending at 7.30 you might think that the social programme would suffer. The welcome ceremony was a bit disappointing. It was advertised as a flamenco show but what the organisers didn’t make clear was that a Spanish stand-up comedian was going to entertain. His speedy delivery put even Ernie Ward in the shade.

There were also speeches from the various associations and for prize-winners and it was nearly two hours before the flamenco started, enjoyable, colourful and spectacular though it was. Spaniards certainly know how to party with the main fiesta starting at 10pm on the Saturday night and going on until 3am. With an early flight on Sunday I chickened out of this.

Next year the conference is moving to Granada in Andalucía. The dates are 19th to 22nd October. After this conference the venue will rotate between Madrid, Barcelona and Granada.

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