Monday, April 14, 2014

Visiting the Sydney Royal Easter Show

"Do NOT pat this bull! ...he does not like it at all!!!" - looks like someone patted before checking first. (Ascertaining an animal's preferences about patting or not - whatever the species - is always good practice).
This week I am fortunate enough to be a member of a team of veterinarians and vet students volunteering at what is effectively one of, if not the largest, veterinary "clinics" in the Southern Hemisphere - The Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The best thing about being a part of something like this is the opportunity to mix with colleagues in different areas within the veterinary profession - large animal vets, mixed animal vets, rural-based vets, city-vets - and to learn more about the husbandry and welfare of species I engage with less commonly. It is also an opportunity to meet the widest variety of dog and cat breeds and breeders.

At the show veterinarians and veterinary students have multiple roles: swabbing (testing competition animals for banned substances), first-aid and veterinary care (for example, in the event of a calving, a colic or lameness), overseeing veterinary treatment of animals, assessing that animals are fit to be shown and addressing husbandry issues that can arise when multiple animals and humans conglomerate in one area.

Its one of the few places in inner-Sydney where one might cross paths with horses.
Everyday the veterinarians meet for rounds, and the amount of planning and attention to detail is far beyond what I think most people would expect for an event that runs two weeks.

Dr Robert Johnson shows a third-year veterinary student how to vet the cats before the show.
Aside from the volunteer duties, the show is an opportunity for the non-rural based to see domestic species normally relegated to properties well beyond the bounds of the city. And its a nice chance to see one's patients in action. It was great vetting the agility dogs this morning and watching their absolute delight as they checked out the course and peed on designated hay bails.

Its also an opportunity to check out some of the more impressive cakes you'll ever see (unless you are in the cake decorating game). This cat-vs-yarn entry by Erin Lidbury was awesome.
On another topic altogether, SAT reader Mick sent a link to a series of beautiful photos - although I should warn that they are attached to a sad story. Have a look at the work of Jessica Trinh here.