Friday, Sep. 9th 2016

Continuing Education Pearls

Debbie and Doc Sandi recently attended a four-day veterinary continuing education conference.  We hope our absence from the office did not inconvenience any of you too much.  This month’s newsletter is an overview of some of the information we brought home.

Debbie mostly attended practice management and fear-free clinic lectures.  She learned how to help keep our patients more comfortable when they visit us with new handling ideas, behavior information, and training tips we can send clients home with.  She also learned about how to handle staff conflicts, help educate clients, and in general how to be a better practice manager.  We may be adding a new staff member in the next few months so this information may come in handy sooner rather than later.

Doc Sandi focused on updating her knowledge about certain health conditions where new drugs or tests have changed treatment protocols,  helping clients with unruly behavior in their dogs, and soft-tissue and joint mobilization techniques.  Here’s an overview…

Diabetes management:  There are now several new options in types of insulin that can be used to manage diabetes in our pets.  They have different actions, last for different amounts of time, and some work better in dogs than cats or vice versa.  Recommended monitoring through blood tests was also covered.

Unruly Behavior in pets:  This lecture differentiated between an aggressive animal and one that is simply unruly.  Ways to train both cats and dogs and manage this behavior was covered.  Enrichment of pet’s lives through food puzzle toys, exercise, and training was covered.  In a future newsletter, we will talk about some “do-it-yourself” food puzzle toys to help stimulate your pet’s life.

Food Recalls: We learned about food recalls over the past decade or two, how to determine if a food may be the cause of a pet’s illness, and types of food contamination that can occur

Toxic Plants:  Many common garden plants and house plants can be toxic to pets.  We learned to recognize some of these and got a lot of good resources for more information.  Certain more common or more highly toxic plants were covered in more detail.  For example, did you know the Castor Bean plant is highly toxic?  How about Day Lilies?

Cruciate Ligament Injury management:  This lecture was about non-surgical management of a cruciate ligament tear.  While surgical repair of a torn ligament is optimal, there are times when it’s either not financially feasible or is too high-risk for the patient.  In those cases, things like custom braces, physical therapy, and medical management of pain can be offered as options.  However, braces are definitely a second choice.  Surgery is always the best option initially.

Management of Arthritis Pain:  New to us was the use of a pain questionnaire, which at some point we may be introducing to our clients.  Pain-managing drugs were covered in detail, as were nutraceuticals like glucosamine, Omega fatty acids, and green-lipped mussel.  Then therapies like cold laser, stem cells, and rehab were discussed.  Braces and orthotics were also covered in this class.  Of course, we also offer acupuncture but this was only lightly touched on since the class was geared towards conventional veterinarians.

Working Dogs:  This was an excellent lecture discussing the differences between training, personality, and skills of different classes of working dogs.  We learned that dogs trained for protection and aggressiveness respond very differently to a vet than dogs trained for service, therapy, or hunting.  Their training was covered enough to help us understand how best to approach each type of dog and what NOT to do when working with them.

Soft-Tissue Manual techniques:  These lectures covered a number of special techniques to free up stiff joints, loosen tight ligaments and tendons, and aid in mobility of pets with various injuries.  As Dr Leonard becomes more skilled at these techniques our patients may begin to see more of them.  Joint mobilizations of many joints were covered in detail. Cranial-sacral technique was discussed.  A number of special tests to help discover the cause of a lameness were also covered.  Finally, we ended with a discussion of trigger points and myofascial release.

Mobility Aids: This lecture covered wheelchairs and carts for pets, slings and harnesses for owner aided movement, slip protection of various kinds,  devices to protect skin in dogs that don’t move around much, and braces/orthotics.   We also learned about different pain control techniques and the importance of proper bedding.

Canine Athlete Conditioning:  Of special interest to Dr Leonard in her dog agility competitions, this lecture covered all aspects of keeping a canine athlete in top form.  Nutrition, conditioning, endurance, stretching,  balance,  warm-up/cool-down, and the risks of overtraining were all covered.  Look for an upcoming Saturday seminar on this topic!

Management: Dr Leonard did attend one practice management seminar to learn how to help staff be better at what they do. 

Topical Therapies for Skin disease:  Our practice sees a lot of dogs with skin disorders and allergies.  This series of lectures discussed common drug therapies, some newer therapies soon to arrive on the market, and what ingredients are most useful for specific conditions in topical treatments like shampoos and sprays. 

Raw Diets:  While pretty non-committal, this lecture by a board-certified nutritionist discussed the absolute importance of making sure any home-prepared, or even commercial raw diet is properly balanced.  Of great importance is making sure any food you feed your pet is labeled to meet AAFCO standards as a daily food, preferably through food trials.  Safe handling of raw diets was stressed due to the risk of food-borne illness like Salmonella and Listeria in raw meats.

Feline Handling and Senior Cats:  These lectures by a Canadian cat-practice owner talked about special ways to handle cats to minimize their stress in the clinic. The importance of pain control in older cats was covered in detail due to the high incidence of arthritis in cats, particularly in their spine.  We now carry a liquid form of a safe pain medication for cats as a result of this lecture, so if you have a stiff old kitty, schedule a check-up soon!  And of course, we offer our usual fear-free handling practices and pheromone spray to all our kitty patients.

Overall, we felt this conference was very much worth our time!  In addition to all this great information, we got to meet with many vendors in the convention hall to purchase updated reference material, sign up for some new programs coming soon (watch future newsletters!), and learn about some great products!  We think having the practice closed for two days was worth it, and hope you will as well!


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18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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