Veterinary scene down under: First hospitals to receive VetCOT Trauma Centre preliminary accreditation announced, and more news


Updates on the dairy medicine specialist who’s educational materials are supporting new graduates; and the first veterinary specialist hospitals in Australia to receive VetCOT Trauma Centre preliminary accreditation.

Ash Phipps, BVSc (Hons1), GradCertVPH(EAD), MVS, MVSc (Clinical), FANZCVS (Dairy Cattle Medicine and Management), standing with cattle (Image courtesy of Phipps)

Ash Phipps, BVSc (Hons1), GradCertVPH(EAD), MVS, MVSc (Clinical), FANZCVS (Dairy Cattle Medicine and Management), standing with cattle (Image courtesy of Phipps)

Handy pocket guide to cattle medicine

For new and recent graduate veterinarians, becoming familiar with the vast array of veterinary knowledge about a variety of species can be challenging. Recognizing this through his own early career experience, Ash Phipps, BVSc (Hons1), GradCertVPH(EAD), MVS, MVSc(Clinical), FANZCVS (Dairy Cattle Medicine and Management) set about developing his own cheat sheets containing clinical information about production animals. He decided to then go further, and self-published a dairy medicine pocket guide for veterinarians which has proved to be a valuable reference resource.

“Upon graduating, I compiled a folder of 'cheat sheets', categorized by species – and these handy guides became a staple in my work vehicle, aiding me during fieldwork. As I progressed through memberships and later fellowship examinations with the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, I diligently utilized a plethora of resources, including textbooks and research papers, to assemble comprehensive study manuals tailored to the exam syllabus,” explained Phipps to dvm360®.

“I envisioned creating a succinct yet comprehensive field guide, accessible to both veterinary students and practitioners. Guided by the expertise of alpaca veterinarian Jane Vaughan, renowned for her self-published ‘Glove Box Guide to Alpacas’, I took the initiative to self-publish the ‘Veterinary Field Guide to Cattle Medicine’ which I launched in May 2023.”

Phipp’s guide has since garnered significant traction, with over 300 copies so far sold nationwide in Australia, and positive feedback received from both veterinarians and veterinary students.

“Many have praised its utility and user-friendly for-mat, acknowledging it as a valuable resource for practitioners in the field. Recently, my endeavors have extended to the development of the Cattle Vet AU website and accompanying social media channels. Through these platforms, my aim is to build valuable resources for both aspiring and practicing veterinarians,” said Phipps.

“This includes disseminating updates on clinical research, issuing alerts about emerging diseases, and providing comprehensive documents on various diseases. I’m also engaged in the creation of instructional videos aimed at enhancing the catalogue of resources on my website.”

The pocket guide to cattle medicine contains easily navigable sections of common diseases, including clinical signs, differential diagnoses, treatment and management options, medication details, diagnostic guidance, and farm checklists covering welfare, farm biosecurity, and calf management.

It offers step-by-step approaches to various farm investigations, ranging from general disease investigations to specific issues like lameness, reproduction, mastitis, and nutritional concerns. Additionally, the guide book features treatment decision flowcharts, such as those outlining fluid therapy for both calves and adult cattle; as well as comprehensive instructions on common field surgeries.

Phipps, a partner at Rochester Veterinary Practice in the state of Victoria, also teaches final year veterinary students, and is 1 of only 3 Fellows of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the discipline of Dairy Cattle Medicine and Management.

“Having grown up on a mixed enterprise farm, my inclination toward a career in veterinary medicine and a focus on cattle care was deeply ingrained from an early age. Upon completing my veterinary degree in 2011, I embarked on a path of continuous learning and specialization, which led me to undertake a 3-year residency program followed by completing my Membership and then Fellowship examinations through the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists,” shared Phipps.

“I’m committed to contributing to the education of the next generation of veterinarians, and with the feedback I’ve received on how useful the pocket guide to cattle medicine has become, this is not only rewarding, but has also motivated me to expand the range of educational resources such as through the use of videos, regularly updating the image bank, generating downloadable farm checklists and also frequently producing clinical case articles.”

First Australian veterinary specialist hospitals receive VetCOT Trauma Centre preliminary accreditation

A dog being treated at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (Image courtesy of Small Animal Specialist Hospital)

A dog being treated at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (Image courtesy of Small Animal Specialist Hospital)

With animal trauma cases one of the most common emergencies to be seen at veterinary emergency hospitals, 2 veterinary specialist hospitals in Sydney, Australia have become the first to be granted preliminary Trauma Centre status by the Veterinary Committee on Trauma (VetCOT) supported by the American College of Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care (ACVECC).

Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) is one of Australia's leading veterinary hospital networks, providing a range of specialist and emergency veterinary care for dogs, cats, and other companion animals. SASH North Ryde and SASH Western Sydney both achieved the Australian-first Trauma Centre preliminary accreditation status by VetCOT.

“SASH is committed to improving trauma care standards in Australia and our North Ryde and Western Sydney hospitals are the first and only in the country to receive this status. Having met a list of criteria outlined by VetCOT, SASH has proven capabilities to deliver a high level of care to trauma patients, while also contributing to improving global trauma case management,” saidJames Carroll BVSc (Hons), PG, SAP, MBA, SASH North Ryde Hospital Director, exclusively to dvm360.

“Prior to SASH North Ryde and Western Sydney, Trauma Centres were based exclusively in North America and the United Kingdom. At SASH, everything we do is dedicated to providing the full spectrum of care, which includes the best possible treatment and outcomes for our patients and supporting our clients. It is rewarding to be recognised for the commitment and capability of our clinical teams in this important clinical space.”

The criteria for VetCOT accreditation of Trauma Centres outlines a set of standards including a team based approach to trauma care - including emergency and critical care specialists, internal medicine, surgical, anesthesia and diagnostic imaging specialists, and as well as access to extensive patient care facilities such as multiple operating rooms, intensive care unit, and advanced imaging equipment.

By participating in the VetCOT program, SASH joins the company of world-class institutions such as the Royal Veterinary College, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Together, Trauma Centres collaborate in case and data sharing, with the combined goal of defining high standards and improving the outcomes of trauma patients.

“SASH’s approach to care not only involves our Emergency and Critical Care Specialists, Vets and Nurses who provide Intensive Care, but also commonly involves Diagnostic Imaging to understand the trauma, Anaesthesia to facilitate safe and effective anesthesia, and frequently surgical and medical interventions from our other departments in the hospital,” explained Carroll.

“It is common for us to tap into the expertise of more than five different specialty disciplines to ensure we are providing the best possible care for our patients and advice for our clients. This is particularly important when we are treating critical and rapidly evolving cases like trauma. The entire SASH family is very proud that our SASH North Ryde and Western Sydney facilities are now internationally recognized VetCOT Trauma Centres - the only animal hospitals in Australia to be recognized as such.”

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