Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WVC Day 3 and 4

Day 3. Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. Wow! Wow, wow, WOW! What a great day of lectures! I do so like to complain about Las Vegas and it is certainly not my favorite city to visit, but this veterinary conference is one of the best. Day 3 consisted of 4 hours of some the best information on chronic ear disease in dogs that I have heard in a long time. Ear infections are one of the top reasons that dogs are seen by veterinarians. Some dogs get over their infections with no problems. But in some dogs, ear problems can become chronic or recurrent. Believe me, as a veterinarian it is very frustrating to treat a problem that I may not be able to cure. I know how frustrating this can be for owners of dogs with chronic ear disease too. Hopefully, I can bring back some of this great information I learned to help educate owners why ear infections keep coming back and in some cases, how an ear infection that keeps coming back can sometimes be cured for good. I guess sometimes is the key to that sentence. I actually have personally been through an ear infection with my beagle I adopted from the animal shelter and I was able to "cure" her, but it took six months at least. Anyway, I'm excited to share this new information with everyone back at the clinic.

On day 3, I also went to lectures on ringworm in cats and the 2010 update on Lyme Disease in dogs. The Lyme Disease lecture was very good and while we don't see very much of it at all in our county, the disease is spreading. Every year it seems like I see more and more dogs with ticks and Lyme Disease is spread by ticks. Years ago, I was lucky if I saw one dog in a 12 month period with a tick. Now, at certain times of the year, I'll see them every week. There may be a time in the not too distant future that we are all going to have to think about stepping up the tick prevention on our dogs. Me included.

Day 4. This morning I went to a "wet lab" at a fairly new center built to educate veterinarians with hands on laboratory type classes. This kind of education has been hard to find once veterinarians graduate from vet school, but is becoming more common as the years go by. There is no way that veterinarians can learn every procedure they need to know in just a few years of schooling. Most of what we learn is on the job training. Now very few of us totally learn on our own, but learn under the guidance of other veterinarians. But what if there is new technology that comes along. That's when it is so helpful to learn new techniques from specialists and that's exactly what I did today. The lab was on using the video otoscope that we have in the clinic. It is a very useful piece of equipment in the exam room, but where it shines, is in deep ear cleaning in dogs with chronic ear disease. I learned so many of the finer points of using the scope and many many tricks and tips for helping my canine patients with bad ears. Great great information!

The afternoon of day 4, I spent several hours at the exhibit hall. This where all the vendors of different veterinary products show off what they have. While you have to get by the sales pitches, there is really really good information in here too. One of the best pieces of information I learned is that Hills is coming out with a diet for arthritic cats. They already have one for dogs that works very well, but in dogs we can also add on drugs like carprofen or meloxicam to help with this painful disease. None of these drugs are labeled for use in cats and some of them can actually kill cats (e.g. Tylenol: never never never use in a cat!). To date, I have not had a whole lot of alternatives in what to do with a painful arthritic cat. I'm excited about this new diet coming out this April. In up coming weeks, I will devote some of my weekly blogs to many of the diseases I learned about at this conference.

Day 4 will continue after I type this blog as I will be heading to a 7pm-9pm lecture tonight. Tomorrow, one more lecture in the morning and then making the trek back to Ohio and all the snow. My feet will be thankful as my mode of transportation from hotel to conference hall and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth has been by walking. Too bad I haven't been wearing a pedometer. Now THAT would have been interesting.

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