Conference Report

It is always exciting to be asked to talk at a professional conference. And I was recently invited to speak at the Centre of Veterinary Education Cradle to the Grave conference in Melbourne. The best part is the excitement of being in the same room and getting to share my passion with others who are just as excited about the same topic.

  • Exhilarating
  • Inspiring
  • Empowering
  • Overwhelming

The CVE recognise the importance of preventative medicine and evidence based practice to maximise the quality of life of our patients. This was backed up by the group of amazing presenters that the CVE had on hand to speak. They gave me a lot to think about and a heap of new ideas to implement for my own clients to make my practice even better.

However, it was the delegates who really made me feel inspired to continue working in this field as well as expanding my horizons and services.

These are the highlights of the topics I spoke about.

Rehabilitation After Traumatic Injury

Dogs that have been hit by a car, fallen from heights or had another serious accident deserve the same opportunity for rehabilitation as their non-furry owners. It improves patient outcomes, reduces recovery time and there are basic measures that can easily be made available in all veterinary clinics.

I also strongly believe that Rehab should be offered to owners when discussing possible treatment options and long term care. We specifically covered radial nerve paralysis and fractures.

Neuroplasticity was my main discussion point.

Neuroplasticity is the concept that the brain is continuously changing based on the inputs it receives from the body. Areas of the body which do not send much input (if they are paralysed due to nerve damage or immobilised due to a fracture) result in the processing area in the brain for that are shrinking.

By assessing the animals injuries and tailoring an exercise program that keeps the injured areas active, we ensure that the brain that deals with those areas doesn't lose input and begin to shrink. This speeds that animals recovery later, when their physical injury has healed.

Management of Shoulder Injury

Treating shoulder injuries follow a similar concept to treating injuries in other regions. It is important to recognise the correct kinetic chain for the body to be able to function correctly. The kinetic chain is the pattern of muscle activations that begins at the core to ensure the body is able to move correctly as a limb moves the body forward. If the kinetic chain is out of balance or alignment, there is a much greater chance of injury.

For instance, an injury in the shoulder disrupts this kinetic chain and changes the forces through out the entire body of the animal. In an attempt to offload the weight from the injured leg animals will often distribute weight to the diagonal limb causing changes through compensation and thus pain and discomfort.

The correct exercise plan, can help maintain the alignment of the kinetic chain.

In Hospital Therapies

There are many potential therapies that can be implemented in general and specialist clinics to maximise patient outcomes and comfort. For example:

  • Icing surgical wounds limit swelling and reduce pain.
  • Standing recumbent patients to encourage weight bearing, normal metabolism as well as airway and heart health.
  • Managing the environment using yoga mats, resin foot sprays, appropriate lighting and adaptil sprays make the animals say in hospital less stressful.
  • Treat toys or even hiding treats in egg cartons gives animals mental stimulation and the feeling of control over their environment.
  • Use of appropriate patient harnesses protects the humans moving the animals around, and allows patients the ability to move freely and normally, benefiting everyone in the practice.

There is scope for Primal Paws to help individual patients, but I realised a whole new area where I can help improve the outcomes for animals, offering programs for Veterinary Clinics to implement therapies to make their patients stays shorter and happier. If you might be interested please email me to find out more details.

Dr Jaime Jackson