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AVA has a new president

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has appointed Dr Warwick Vale, a equine vet with over 30 years experience, as its new president. He takes over from Dr Julia Crawford who will still remain on the board for a further year. 

Dr Vale said: “As we work through these unprecedented times with bushfires and COVID 19 we are quickly establishing new ways of working through our digital platforms to provide continual education and ongoing communications. With 2021 being our centenary we will continue to ensure that we anticipate the future needs of the profession and most importantly promote and advance veterinary science within our profession and the wider community. I look forward to chairing a Board of skilled and passionately engaged directors, who are committed to the success of the profession.”

Study gives new insights on canine epilepsy

A research team from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) led by PhD student Sarah Finnegan has found that found nearly two thirds of owners reported pre-seizure changes in their dog (65%). This information may help dog owners identify changes in their dogs before they have an epiletic seizure and take safety measures to prevent harm to their pet. Some of these triggers that were seen included: clinginess, excessive energy, unsettled sleep, clumsiness, excessive panting, becoming withdrawn or quiet, and lacking energy. Furthermore external events such as loud noises, fireworks, storms, household products, and preventive health care, including flea and worming products and vaccinations were reported by participants as being triggers for the seizures. 

Rowena Packer, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council research fellow and research lead in canine epilepsy at the RVC, said: “Many of our findings echo what is seen in human epilepsy patients and add evidence to support the presence of prodromal pre-seizure periods in dogs as well as people. Collecting further objective data to confirm these findings and explore ways to proactively utilise this period for seizure management are of priority for future research.”

Rise in cases of deadly virus in kittens

Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia is reporting that there has been a recent increase in cases of the deadly feline parvovirus (FPV). FPV is a virus that “attacks the cells that line the small intestine and causes severe immunosuppression. It is related to the deadly canine parvovirus.” The mortality rate for this disease is between 50 and 80%. The hospital is urging cat owners to check that their pet’s vaccines are all up to date.

Lort Smith Animal Hospital head Dr David Cunliffe said: “We have seen 10 cases of feline parvovirus over the past two months. In 2019 we only saw a few cases across the entire year. This current trend is worrying. Kittens can be vaccinated from six weeks of age and depending on the vaccine used, they then need two boosters a month apart, followed by boosters as part of their usual vaccination routine.”

$200k in grants available for veterinary technicians, nurses

Due to the hardships because of COVID-19 and the lockdown it has brought, veterinary technicians, nurses, and assistants can apply for a one-time grant of $500. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) have teamed up to donate $200k in available grants. 

John de Jong DVM, chair of the AVMF board of directors said: “Veterinary technicians/nurses and veterinary assistants play a critically important role as a part of the veterinary health-care team. We are truly grateful to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, and NAVTA for stepping up to help these dedicated professionals who may be facing financial hardship resulting from job losses, furloughs, or reduced hours due to the pandemic.”

At this time, the application process has been paused due to a high volume of applications. However, if more donations are made, the application will resume.

The Science and Practice of Staying Present Through Difficult Times

Research suggests that when we turn towards pain and discomfort, we can experience less of it. Read this article to see why and it also includes a guided meditation for being mindful when things get tough.

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