Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Five minutes with Trudi McAlees, emergency veterinarian - and a word on shark culling

Cats with breathing difficulties (dyspnoea) are very challenging to manage. This cat has metastatic mammary adenocarcinoma with cavitated pulmonary lesions and a pleural effusion.
Today's post contains a great interview with an emergency vet and a link to a thought-provoking piece on shark culling by expert Christopher Neff.

As a general practitioner I always admire that breed of vet who dedicates their career solely to emergencies. Yes, we all enjoy the challenge of an adrenalin rush, but I don't mind my adrenalin rushes being punctuated by vaccinations or non-eventful anal gland expression sessions. I am fascinated by those who do emergency work full time. Dr Trudi McAlees is a registered specialist in emergency and critical care at Animal Accident and Emergency Essendon and Point Cook.

When she's not tackling acute abdomens, trauma and intoxications, she undertakes research on topics as diverse as bacterial colonisation of IV catheters and the influence of the full moon on the number of accessions to emergency clinics.

She's a straight-shooting, right-to-the-point, problem solving machine. SAT was lucky enough to e-interview her ahead of her appearance at the Centre for Veterinary Education's emegency conference in February (visit here for more info).

What sparked your interest in emergency medicine?
My first job was in a small country town in NZ with lots of working and hunting dogs. They have the best trauma. 

What are the most challenging emergencies you deal with?
Dyspnoeic cats. 

How do you keep current in your field?
Teaching - you have to know it before you can teach it - and if you don't, someone will always ask you a tricky question.

What crash cart item would you never be without?
A knowledgeable emergency nurse!

Can you share any tips for dealing with emergencies? 
Try to keep your heart rate lower than that of the patient. 

What was your most adrenalin fuelled emergency moment?
My first GDV - on my own with the practice nurse, 3 months after graduating. The dog arrested, we got him back and he went on to have a long and happy working life. 

How do you wind down?
Relaxing at home with my dogs, or going for a ride on my horse. 

Shark culling

A lego shark at Sydney Aquarium.

Swimming in the ocean is a risky business, for humans and sharks alike.

Sharks and protestors alike have been copping flak from the media and the West Australian Government in the wake of its controversial shark-culling policy. But Christopher Neff, lecturer at Sydney University's Department of Government and International Relations, argues, sharkbites are not governable events - yet policymakers are being lost in a no-win blamefest. He offers some sensible suggestions here.