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#45: 6 Second Hugs and Other Resilience Tools with Dr Hannetjie Van Zyl-Edeling

Dr Hannetjie Van Zyl-Edeling is a counselling psychologist, mediator, author and artist, amongst other things. You’ll know that our goal at the Vet Vault is to help you create a sustainable and thriving life around your veterinary career. This is exactly why we HAD to speak to Hannetjie, because she believes that we can use our minds to help create our best life and find meaning, even in challenging circumstances. (And let’s face it – even the dream veterinary career will throw plenty of challenges your way!)

Hannetjie is in private practice and holds workshops and talks for the public and professionals about preventive nutrition, stress, eating disorders, positive living and ageing, ethics and spiritual living. She’s featured regularly on television and radio and advises journalists on preventive nutrition, stress, ethics, spiritual living and positive ageing. Her mission is to assist people in managing their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves in such a way as to grow and reach their fullest potential.

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Does it drive you crazy how you’ll sometimes look at an X-ray image and you don’t see anything significant, but then you send it to a radiologist and they come up with a long list of important things!? How do they do it?! Well, a lot of it is practice, but here’s a secret – a lot of it is also just good technique. And these are techniques you can easily apply in your practice to take great images and interpret them like the pros. 

We did a series on tips for rads of the acute abdomen over on the Vet Vault Clinical, but rather than tell us which abnormalities to look for, our guest radiologist, Dr Steve Joslyn, started off by telling us HOW to look, and how to make sure you great images. Enjoy!

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#44: The C Word with Dr Penny Thomas

Dr Penny Thomas’ career has taken her from working as a nurse in a specialist clinic while she was doing her vet degree, to a stint in mixed practise after graduating from the University of Sydney in 2011, and all the way to gaining registration as a Specialist in Veterinary Oncology in 2019.  Penny is a member of the Veterinary Cancer Society and has also obtained her Memberships of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in small animal medicine. She has a keen interest in haematological cancers and has published papers on multiple myeloma, anal sac cancer in cats and chemotherapy for T cell lymphoma in dogs, and is a regular participant in continuing education talks to general practitioners. 

On her journey to becoming a specialist Penny did a 2-year internship programme followed by a residency at SASH in Sydney. During her training, she spent time at Colorado State University, the University of Madison Wisconsin, The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and the Animal Health Trust in the UK. 

And it’s this part of her career – the internship years – where we start our conversation with Penny. She talks us through the decision-making process around whether doing an internship is for you, and gives us advice on what to look for in a good internship programme, and how to choose the RIGHT internship programme. 

As usual, the conversation strays into all sorts of interesting places, like masochistic work cultures where working crazy hours is worn like a badge of honour, helping your clients make end-of-life decisions for their animals, and we talk about the risk of having pre-conceived ideas around what is best for our patients without giving our clients ALL of the options and making decisions for them.  And of course, we have to dig into what it’s like being a veterinary oncologist – all the good and all the bad and all the stuff that you probably didn’t know. 

If you like listening to Penny then you should definitely check out the oncology series that we’re doing with her over on the medicine stream on The Vet Vault Clinical. We started with a 3 part series on mast ell tumours that has answered all of the questions I’ve had for decades about these often tricky cancers, including a run-down of all the newest therapies that are becoming available to us.  

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#Urethral Stones! Yes its a thing! with Dr Dave Collins

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Welcome back to another one of our clinical episodes. I decided to share this one today because of a case I dealt with just this morning. We had a cat in hospital with what was thought to be acute renal failure, but what turned out to be a ureteral obstruction. That’s ureTEral, not urethral. Seeing this case reminded me how dangerous this disease is, and how easily it can be missed. So I thought I’d share this episode that we recently did on the topic with our resident medicine specialist, Dr Dave Collins. The thing is – until we did this interview with Dave, ureteral obstructions just wasn’t on my radar, but we’re learning that it’s apparently more common than we think it is. Probably because we’ve been missing them. 

If this comes as a surprise to you then I recommend you plug in and let Dave tell you everything you need to know about ureteral obstructions: from spotting them, to diagnosing them, and all the way to how to fix them. 

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#43: Integrative practice, with Dr Gary Richter

What do you think when you hear the words ‘holistic’, or ‘alternative’. What about “complimentary”? These are terms that can evoke quite strong opinions and responses in many vets one way or another, right?
100% honest – I was a bit apprehensive about doing this interview. I’m a natural skeptic, and I was worried that our guest was going to be a bit  ‘out there” in his ideas, but I’m very glad that we took the time for this conversation. Turns out that, like me, and like you, Dr Gary Richter is a vet who cares about his patients and wants to find as many ways as he can to help them. He just happened to have found his niche in offering treatments that are a bit outside of the norm. And I must admit, it’s made me very curious.  

In our conversation, we dig up and chew on a few of the old bones on contention in our profession, like the role of alternative or complementary medicine in veterinary science, and the processed foods vs whole foods debate. Gary talks about integrative medicine as a practice model and as a business model, and he tells us about a few of his favourite and most useful therapeutic discoveries that he’s made on his explorations.   And of course we can’t talk about alternatives to a Californian vet without talking about cannibis!

#42: Burnout: The Bigger Picture with Dr Ivan Zakharenkov

Our guest for today Is Dr Ivan Zakharenkov, or Ivan Zak as he’s better known. Ivan is a veterinarian and an entrepreneur committed to creating products that empower healthcare teams to live their passion.

If you haven’t heard of Ivan then there’s a fair chance that you have heard of, or possibly use his brainchild on a daily basis in your hospital: Ivan was the founder of the now-ubiquitous veterinary software Smartflow. It was Ivan’s personal journey as a practicing veterinarian for 12 years that led to the development of Smartflow, and eventually to his current mission.

Early in his career, Ivan experienced severe burnout, and it was that experience that has led him to explore the psychological triggers of burnout and business methodologies that veterinary organizations can apply to work against them. Researching this topic, Ivan obtained an MBA degree in International Healthcare Management and wrote a dissertation “Implementation of lean thinking to improve employee experience.” Today Ivan is leading Veterinary Integration Solutions, a technology company helping veterinary groups implement an operating framework for sustainable integration of practices with a special focus on burnout prevention.

Our conversation covers some of the highlights of the findings of the burnout study and his thinking about solutions to burnout. 

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