“Conquering your fears” at Vets South 2021 - Veterinary Practice
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“Conquering your fears” at Vets South 2021

Annual conference Vets South returns in a new online format, bringing veterinary professionals the latest thinking in small animal surgery, medicine and nursing

Vets South is back in 2021, moving to a new online format in light of the ongoing pandemic. Taking place from 1 to 4 March, the virtual conference offers small animal veterinarians and nurses engaging and highly interactive sessions from the comfort of their own home or practice. With the opportunity to ask questions to speakers, join discussions with colleagues from across the globe and browse the virtual exhibition, this online event is one not to be missed!

The annual conference organised by veterinary CPD specialist Improve International usually takes place in Exeter, UK, but due to the current health crisis it has moved online. This means that, for the first time, the event’s hallmark everyday-relevant clinical content will be available not only to vets and nurses in the UK, but to a global audience.

The event takes place over four days with content divided into three streams, each showcasing the latest thinking in small animal surgery, small animal medicine and veterinary nursing. With the overarching theme of conquering your fears, the programme reflects the reality of practice life which can regularly confront veterinary professionals with challenging or unexpected situations.

The platform

The conference will be hosted on an easy to use custom-built site, giving delegates numerous opportunities to engage with the conference content all in one place. wherever they are – all you need to be able to access the online event is a device with a stable internet connection.

There will be up to 33 hours of CPD available, with 44 lectures to choose from, each with an associated live Q&A session to put your questions to the speaker. Lectures will be available to watch live or you can catch up later, with the recorded sessions available for up to three months after the event (until 31 May 2021).

The platform will also host a discussion forum, where del­egates can interact with each other and discuss themes raised during the talks, and engage and network with other veterinary professionals in a secure setting.

Small animal medicine stream

On the first two days of the event, the lectures will be focusing on aspects of small animal medicine and will be chaired by Anna Harrison, a regional Official Veterinarian (OV) assessor for Improve International.

The conference will be kicked off with a lecture by emer­gency and critical care (ECC) vet Tom Towey on the simple and lifesaving basics of thoracic ultrasound. Tom will also close the first day of the conference with another talk on acute kidney injury in primary care practice. Next, Fergus Coutts will discuss the mechanisms underlying the effect of pain and behaviour on each other, accompanied by some case studies later in the day. Owen Davies will give two back-to-back oncology talks, looking at what can be done in-house without a CT scanner, and how to confidently deal with emergency and incidental findings of splenic tumours. David Williams, a regular Veterinary Practice contributor and speaker at Vets South, will be giving multiple oph­thalmology talks in the small animal medicine stream. On Monday 1 March, he will discuss all you need to know about the adnexa, and the fol­lowing day he will look at the cornea and the retina in two separate talks.

Veterinary parasitologist Ian Wright will detail the stress-free approach to managing the heartworm-positive dog, and how to approach a Leishmania-positive dog with confidence – echoing the overarching theme of conquering your fears. Rosario Cerundolo will deliver two talks on treating patients you suspect have an allergy – first focusing on canine patients before looking at feline patients separately – and David Mackenzie will discuss ultrasound for ECC patients. Fergus Coutts will close the small animal medicine stream with a talk looking at how the vet team can work together towards a stress-free vet visit, which will also be included as part of the veterinary nursing programme.

Small animal surgery stream

Vets South regular Andrew Carring­ton, an OV working in practice in Wiltshire, will chair the small animal surgery stream taking place on 3 and 4 March 2021.

The first lecture of the small animal surgery stream will be by orthopaedic specialist Kevin Parsons, entitled “The legs are bent – is it time to panic?” Kevin will also discuss surgical options for the management of chronic joint pain later in the day. Will McFadzean will discuss alternative airway management strategies and will close the day with a presentation on how vets and nurses can work together to prepare a patient for pain/stress-free elective surgery, which is a talk in common with the nursing stream as well.

Heidi Radke will highlight three critical aspects to make excision arthroplasty in dogs and cats successful and will discuss the possible mistakes when managing canine and feline patellar luxation and how to learn from them. Finally, veterinary neurologist Sebastian Behr will give his top tips for your neurological exam in practice, and will look at thoracolumbar disc disease, approaching the dilemma of “to cut or not to cut?”

On the second day of the small animal surgery stream, and the last day of the Vets South conference, Will McFadzean will give another talk, this time looking at analgesia for thoracic surgery. Small animal surgeon Jane Ladlow will discuss how to improve your diagnosis of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), as well as detail her practical approach to mast cell tumours.

Finally, Jon Hall will be giving four talks during the day of 4 March, describing fear-free approaches to presentations commonly encountered in first opinion veterinary practice: major abdominal bleeding, large traumatic wounds, surgical dyspnoeic emergencies and large tumours of the head.

Veterinary nursing stream

The veterinary nursing stream will take place on 2 and 3 March, taking place simultaneously alongside the final day of the small animal medicine stream and the first of the small animal surgery stream. The two days of nursing content will be chaired by BVNA Past President Wendy Nevins.

Oncologist Owen Davies will start the veterinary nursing stream by looking at common cancers in dogs and cats, and questions why we should be scared of treating them. ECC vet Tom Towey will discuss nursing the GDV patient, and will give an overview of CPR for nurses. Next, Kostas Papasouliotis, specialist in veterinary clinical pathology, will explain the interpretation of results from an in-clinic biochemistry analyser, and later in the day he will highlight clinically relevant questions you can answer with a blood smear examination. Fergus Coutts’s first talk of the day on 2 March will discuss reducing stress and fear in the ward and reducing pain experienced by patients, and his second talk will be the one joint with the veterinary medicine stream mentioned earlier, looking at how the veterinary team can work towards a stress-free vet visit. Finally, Will McFadzean will be looking at airway gas analysis in a talk titled “Capnography and beyond”.

The second day of the veterinary nursing stream, on 3 March, will be more surgical nursing orientated, with Alison Mann kicking off the day discussing surgical nursing of the neurological patient. Alison will also be presenting other talks during the day, one on the surgical treatment options for hip dysplasia and minimising risk of hospital-acquired infections. On the same theme of infectious diseases, Ian Wright will discuss management of zoonotic disease risk in the practice setting. Georgie Hollis will be giving two wound management talks: the first looking at what nurses should be aiming for in wound care, and the second looking at how you can encourage your team to be at the cutting edge. Kostas Papasouliotis will return and explain cytology of skin lumps and bumps, and Will McFadzean will close the day with a discussion on anaesthesia planning – how vets and vet nurses can work together to prepare a patient for a pain/stress-free elective surgery, which will be linked to the small animal surgery stream for vets.

Further information about the programme and ticket types on offer can be found on the Vets South website.



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Veterinary Practice

Veterinary Practice is an online knowledge and information hub for veterinary professionals across all specialties. It provides reliable, useful and interesting content, written by expert authors and covering small animal, large animal, equine and practice management sectors of the veterinary surgeon and nursing professions.

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