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Growing With Veterinary Medicine

Did you know that vets, as well as the other vet staff, are students too? Every year those involved in vet medicine are required to participate in continuing education (CE). This means that each person is required to complete a set number of hours attending lectures, webinars, hands-on labs, reading journal articles, etc. per year. It is essential for all members of a medical team to keep up with their CE to keep themselves up to date on the latest technologies, medicine and equipment so that they can provide the best level of care for you and your pet.

This year for my CE learning, I had the opportunity to visit one of the largest veterinary conferences in North America, the Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX) hosted by the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC). Being such a large conference (with almost 18,000 attendees!), the VMX definitely has a lot of benefits, one being that it is hosted in Orlando, Florida in February, so I get to escape the cold for one week. Aside from the warm weather, the VMX also provides hundreds of lectures on a wide variety of subjects ranging from avian and exotic species to new medical management strategies for chronic kidney disease in cats, animal rehabilitation, the debate on spay and neuter timing in dogs, and so much more. The VMX also provides the opportunity to participate in hands-on laboratories where we can learn new skills or develop skills we already have.

During my time at the VMX, I had the opportunity to attend two hands-on laboratories. The first lab I attended was a feline dentistry lab. This lab allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills when it comes to locating and assessing dental disease in cats as well as perform dental extractions efficiently and effectively. Cats just like dogs can suffer from dental disease, and it often goes unnoticed leading to pain and discomfort for that animal. When a dental disease is identified in cats, they can be a challenge to treat due to their small size and particularly their small mouths. By attending this lab, I feel more confident in providing the best dental care for my feline patients that I can do. The second lab that I attended was a surgical techniques lab where I was able to learn and practice performing several different surgical procedures for dogs that aren’t commonly performed by myself at our clinic. The goal of this lab was to expand my surgical skills so that I can provide services to my patients that I would otherwise have to refer to another clinic. For me, it is so important that my patients are provided with the highest quality of care but also that my clients can feel comfortable and confident. By being able to provide more procedures at our clinic clients will not have to take their animals long distances to unfamiliar places to get the treatment they require. During my time at the VMX, I also attended many lectures on a variety of topics as well as spent many hours learning about new food, equipment and medical products in the exhibition hall.

Overall, I had an excellent learning experience during my time at the VMX, and I cannot wait to use my new found skills to better provide for my patients and clients.

Written by Dr. Sarah Bowyer, DVM


Rescue Dogs: Overcoming Unwanted Behaviours

Since the COVID pandemic has arrived in Canada (and around the world), we have seen a spike in pet adoptions. This is an amazing thing – for the new pet owner and for the pet.  However, one of the other spikes we see on an almost daily basis at the hospital is the need for new owner to attach “a story” to their pet's behaviours – particularly in the instance of “rescue” dogs.  In rescue situations, many of the dogs arrive with unknown histories and many of the dogs demonstrate specific or generalized fear and anxiety.

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