Wednesday, May 28, 2014

AVA Conference - Day Two

This little woylie (aka Brush-tailed bettong) was at the AVA stand at lunchtime. I've never seen one of these fellas before but he was extremely cute. In this photo he is grooming.
For those readers who just tuned in, this week SAT is blogging from the Australian Veterinary Association 2014 conference, this year themed around the very important question “what’s best practice?” And okay, we're really in the midst of day three but attending eight hours of lectures plus checking out all of the new technology and meeting colleagues from interstate is seriously time consuming, hence the late blogging. Everytime I sit down in a quiet corner during a break to blog I run into someone totally awesome.

Day two of the program was just as intense as day one – starting with a breakfast talk on feline obesity by Professor Jacquie Rand.

The most important things I took away from this were:

  • Eating just ten additional cat biscuits daily can lead to massive weight gain over time (turning a 4kg moggie into an 8kg crusher in a matter of years). Even if you are not to blame, its not unusual for cats to nip next door and scavenge a few of the neighbour's cat biscuits (mind you could burn a few calories, depending on how close your neighbours are).
  • Neutering definitely decreases the maintenance energy requirement, modifies appetite and reduces physical activity so dietary modifications should be instituted post-desexing. Ad-lib feeding of dry food is not ideal in neutered cats.
  • Playing with your cat for ten minutes a day produced equivalent weight loss to calorie restriction. Think about it. How much time do you really spend playing with your cat every day?

Other highlights of the day included seeing Dr Karl Kruszelnicki give a presentation. He reckons he reads a one metre thick stack of scientific papers each month, and interestingly also stated his IQ is 110 so though he is above average he needs to work really hard to understand ideas (very reassuring to hear). He also lamented the loss of practical skills in society, commenting that “we’re moving into an age where people’s highest skill is being able to recharge their electronic device”. And this gem on anecdotal evidence: “the plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data”.

AVA President Ben Gardiner and partner with Dr Karl (note the dynamic double handshake!).
During the lunchbreak many vets donated their blood for Q fever research. Most veterinary students are vaccinated against Q fever (caused by Coxiella burnetii) but there is much that remains unknown, particularly how long the vaccine confers protection for. If you’re at the conference, this is meaningful research that may eventually contribute to new guidelines about Q fever vaccination. (And the good news is they have trained human nurses taking blood, not vets, so they know where the veins are in people!!!).

Not scary at all! The Q fever research team were sensitive with my data and gentle on my veins.
Which was nice as I am a pansy when it comes to needles. But the jelly snakes made up for it.
Double boarded specialist Mark Rishniw reviewed diagnosis of congestive heart failure in dogs. He argued that while CHF causes coughing, it is false to think that presence of a heart murmur + cough = CHF. Lots of coughing dogs have murmurs but coughing isn’t an independent predictor of CHF.

Furthermore, measuring response to a frusemide trial should not be based on coughing as frusemide is a potent bronchodilator with activity at the larynx as an antitussive or anti coughing agent. Therefore elimination of a cough with frusemide does NOT prove CHF.

He very much emphasised the resting respiratory rate, stating that a resting RR of <30 a="" and="" be="" chf.="" effectively="" frusemide="" if="" o:p="" of="" or="" out="" patient="" rate="" reduced.="" respiratory="" resting="" rules="" should="" sleeping="" the="" trial="" works="">

The little woylie again. Probably the cutest delegate at the conference.
Coming tomorrow: the Australian Veterinary Orchestra is playing its debut concert tonight and I am desperate to find out who in our profession can wield a violin (I'm definitely not one of them).