Ms Padron Vega had also been found to have failed in her duties as an OV by being unprepared for, and unaware of, new regulations. She also did not take adequate steps to ensure that the two individuals for whom she had given veterinary certification were licensed to perform slaughter in accordance with the regulations.
Ms Padron Vega originally applied for restoration in December last year, at which time the Disciplinary Committee had concerns about her keeping up-to-date with the knowledge and skills needed to return to practice, and decided to adjourn for six months to allow her to prove that it was appropriate to restore her name to the Register.
At the latest hearing, Ms Padron Vega sought to address the concerns that the Committee had raised about her professional development. In addition to the documentation she provided in her original restoration hearing, which included positive testimonials from colleagues, she provided evidence of her continuing professional development (CPD).
This included a letter from her previous employer, who confirmed she had more recently worked for them as a Certification Support Officer from February to March 2021, where they received positive feedback on her conduct.
The documentation also included a letter from another practice confirming that Ms Padron Vega had been offered a position of employment with them, and a separate letter from practice veterinary surgeon, Dr Khan MRCVS, confirming that he would be her mentor. Dr Khan also confirmed that she had been coming to the practice for work experience and he considered her to have good working knowledge of current medicines used within the practice. He further outlined in his letter what CPD support the practice would be providing for Ms Padron Vega as part of her employment with them.
An additional piece of evidence was a testimonial from Dr Max Rutana MRCVS who confirmed that Ms Padron Vega had worked unsupervised for a period of three weeks, and that he found her clinical notes during this period to be satisfactory and they received no complaints about her conduct from clients.
Ms Padron Vega also submitted CPD documentation which confirmed she has taken a Certification Support Officers’ course and examination in mid-December 2020.
In response to questions from the Committee about her small animal practice experience and how long she had been shadowing Dr Khan for, Ms Padron Vega explained that she had completed 80 hours of shadowing with Dr Khan and that in her future employment under his mentorship, he would be available to support her. She also explained that her job offer was evidence that she would continue to be trained in the relevant area of veterinary work.
Cerys Jones, chairing the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “During the hearing, we heard evidence from Dr Khan who provided reassurance of Ms Padron Vega’s continued professional development with his practice and the ongoing supervision that she would be under. He explained that the supervision would last at least three months.
“The Committee’s view is that Ms Padron Vega accepts the findings of dishonesty that were made against her at the original Inquiry hearing. In her Reflective Statement, she acknowledges that veterinarians have a professional responsibility to ensure the integrity of veterinary certification, that she is now aware that when signing documents as a veterinary surgeon they need to be approached with care and accuracy. Further she has undertaken a CPD course on this very ethical issue and has passed the examination set at the end of that course. The Committee is confident that Ms Padron Vega is unlikely to repeat the conduct which resulted in her being removed from the Register. It is the Committee’s decision that she should be restored to the Register.”
The Canine Cruciate Registry is a free, anonymised, data collection audit tool that will enable veterinary surgeons to share information on techniques and procedures to improve patient care.
RCVS Knowledge will collect data from both vets and dog owners on patients recovering from cruciate surgery to identify which procedures and techniques give the best outcomes and have the fewest complications.
According to the charity, injury to the cruciate ligament is one of the most common causes of lameness and the most common type of orthopaedic problem in dogs, affecting about 1 in every 200 individuals in the UK each year.
Surgery is widely accepted to result in better outcomes for cruciate patients, however, there is a lack of high-quality evidence comparing which surgical techniques and implants are most effective and have the fewest complications. The Canine Cruciate Registry aims to fill this gap and provide evidence that veterinary surgeons worldwide can access to help guide decision-making about techniques for every patient they see with a cruciate rupture.
RCVS Knowledge has developed the registry with Amplitude Clinical Outcomes, a global leader in online registry software. It involves a web-based series of questions that vets, and dog owners are asked to complete throughout the dog’s care, to monitor their long-term progress.
In human medicine and surgery, outcome measures are common practice, with many human surgeries involving mandatory data entry onto a national registry.
Clinical Lead for the RCVS Knowledge Canine Cruciate Registry is veterinary orthopaedic surgeon Mark Morton. He said: “Thanks to several years of hard work and development from a group of vets across the UK and the team at RCVS Knowledge, I am delighted that the Canine Cruciate Registry is now up and running.
“We want to work with as many vets and dog owners as possible, we want to know about complications, we want to know about different techniques and how dogs recover so we can build a knowledge base for vets around the world to improve the quality of care they provide.
“As vets, it's our job to advise owners on treatments options, as well as what can go wrong with those treatment options and how often these potential complications may occur.
“I invite all vets in the UK as well as owners caring for dogs having cruciate surgery to join us and help improve outcomes for all patients in the future.”
Chair of the RCVS Knowledge Board of Trustees, Amanda Boag said: “This is a hugely exciting step forward in developing quality improvement initiatives within the veterinary profession and potentially transformational in terms of consistency and quality of care for our patients.
“I applaud the vision of the surgeons in setting this registry up and am keen to see how the same approach can be applied in other common disease conditions.”
Orthopaedic Surgeon, Richard Whitelock said: “The benefits of the Canine Cruciate Registry are immense – for dogs, owners and veterinary surgeons. Owners will be able to make better-informed decisions and their feedback on outcomes will be included. Surgeons will be able to monitor and compare their results, adapting and improving their treatments accordingly.
“I believe that the Canine Cruciate Registry could trigger a widespread change in the veterinary profession, we look forward to owners and surgeons across the UK engaging with it.”
The Canine Cruciate Registry has been endorsed by the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association (BVOA), and all UK vets performing cruciate surgery are encouraged to sign up to the registry.
For more information, visit: www.caninecruciateregistry.org
The three companies will now offer their services, which include marketing strategy, brand management, search engine marketing, online advertising, email marketing, webchat, social media copywriting, graphic design and web design under the VetsDigital brand.
Sarah Spinks, Managing Director of VetsDigital, said: "In the pursuit of better animal welfare, we empower animal owners, and bridge the gap between the veterinary professional and the pet parent using the most effective digital channels.
“As one combined company, we become Europe’s leading digital agency that specialises in the veterinary sector. With our current presence in 11 countries, we’ll be able to further develop our network whilst still providing our clients with the same personal service they’ve come to expect and deserve.”
Marcelo Alves, Managing Director of Vet Inflow, will move into the role of Managing Partner for Portugal and Spain at VetsDigital, as the company expands to have bases in both the UK and Portugal.
Will Stirling, who becomes a Managing Partner at VetsDigital, bringing with him 14 years of experience marketing in the veterinary industry, having previously worked with veterinary group YourVets and CVS, said: "The veterinary industry is buzzing with growth and renewal as many parts of veterinary marketing and management move into the digital realm. It’s the perfect time to combine the talents of our 3 teams, so that together we can offer industry-leading digital marketing services to veterinary businesses across the UK and Europe.
For more information, visit: https://vetsdigital.com
The webinars will be presented by specialists in their respective fields; small animal oncologist Sara Verganti and clinical pathologists Francesco Cian and Roberta Rasotto.
Each 30-minute session will focus on a specific aspect of MCT diagnostics followed by a multidisciplinary Q&A. The sessions, which all start at 7:30pm, are:
Dr Neil Mottram MRCVS, Technical Product Manager at Virbac said: "Mast cell tumours are the most common form of canine cutaneous neoplasia, although relatively simple to identify, knowing what diagnostic steps to take can be challenging. We believe this truly comprehensive bite size mini-series will provide vets with the confidence to navigate the diagnostic approach for their next MCTs."
For more information, contact your Virbac Territory Manager.
KISS (which stands for Knowledge, Information, Support and Sharing) will offer: In-Practice Training, The Hill’s Nutritional Ambassador Programme, On-Demand Education and Hill’s Webinars.
There will also be a variety of tailored training sessions designed to help give veterinary professionals the knowledge and tools to broach nutrition.
Michael Unsworth, Hill’s Vet Affairs Manager, UK & Republic of Ireland said: “Vet practices have gone above and beyond during the pandemic, supporting patients and owners alike during extremely challenging times Hill’s wants to extend a helping hand, with support, tips, and tools to stay a step ahead as pet parents return back into the clinic following months of looking out for their pet’s nutrition and wellbeing without the usual level of expert guidance and support from their veterinary team.
“Vets and their teams face multiple challenges on the pet nutrition front, whether it be the plethora of ‘self-appointed experts’ out there, trying to encourage loyalty from their clients, or the long-lasting effects of COVID, all of which are yet to play out over the long haul. The KISS initiative will provide clinics access to a dedicated team of passionate nutritional experts, ensuring vets have the right support and knowledge base - and one less thing to worry about as they strive to improve pets’ lives on a daily basis."
For more information, contact your Hill’s representative.
The charity – whose mission is to advance the quality of veterinary care for the benefit of animals, the public, and society – is currently governed by a board of 11 Trustees chaired by Amanda Boag.
It is now looking for driven individuals to help expand its impact and influence in two new roles - ‘Digital and Communications Trustee’ and ‘Lay Trustee (Finance)’.
The Digital and Communications Trustee role will support the development and implementation of an integrated strategic digital and communications plan to advance brand identity of the organisation, and increase its visibility and accessibility across a wider veterinary audience.
The Lay Trustee (Finance) role will support the Treasurer in the overarching strategic management of the organisation’s financial resources.
Trustees are expected to contribute actively to the Board by giving strategic direction; helping shape overall policy; defining goals and setting targets; evaluating performance; ensuring the charity’s effective and efficient administration and financial stability.
Chris Gush, Executive Director of RCVS Knowledge, said: “This is a great opportunity to join the RCVS Knowledge Board of Trustees and help us develop and champion the advancement of veterinary care. We are looking for enthusiastic and committed individuals to contribute to the governance of the charity, focusing on Finance, Digital and Communications. There is no need to have previous trustee experience, as training and support will be provided.”
The posts are unremunerated but reasonable expenses will be paid.
Applications are now open and will close on Monday 9th August. More information about the available roles and how to apply can be found on RCVS Knowledge’s website: https://knowledge.rcvs.org.uk/home.
The company says that as a community interest company, it can help to bridge the gap between charities, which provide help only for those who are eligible, and commercial practices, which are becoming increasingly unaffordable as they are acquired by corporates and private equity companies.
The rules governing CIC companies mean that their assets can only be used for their social objectives and there is a limit to the money that can be distributed to shareholders: 5% above the Bank of England base rate to a maximum of 35% of profits.
Animal Trust does not charge consultation fees, so all pets are initially seen free of charge. If it turns out there’s nothing wrong, there's no charge. If treatment or medicine is required, prices are published on the website, so clients can see exactly what everything costs.
Founder Owen Monie says: “We are here to provide a comprehensive vet service for people who earn a real, living wage. We want to deliver the best access to good vet care and to remove the barriers that stop people getting care for their animals – that’s why we provide free consultations. This means pet owners can get professional advice without worrying about having to pay a consultation fee. If no treatment is needed – there’s no fee. It’s as simple as that.”
Owen says that large corporations argue they can bring better management, efficiency and innovation to the sector, and claim that costs have gone up in part due to advances in animal medicine and clients’ expectations.
"That may well be true, but big isn’t always better. In addition to its legal status as a CIC, Animal Trust lives by a set of core values (straightforward, accessible, sustainable and fair) that are becoming increasingly meaningful to customers and clients as an alternative to companies who appear to be only interested in the bottom line. There isn’t an NHS equivalent for animals – so is becoming a CIC the model that all vet practices should be looking to adopt?"
The company points to research which showed that in the US, and despite the importance of annual health checks, 45.7% of cats did not visit a veterinary surgeon in the year the study was conducted. Of those, 41% cited the reason as their “cats did not get sick or injured.” Only 16% said they did not have the money to pay for a veterinary visit.1,2
Apparently, a more recent poll by International Cat Care (ICC) also found that 50% of cat owners struggle to get their cat into a carrier, which is obviously a barrier to taking their pet to the veterinary clinic.
To help more cats get to the vet, International Cat Care has developed educational materials and a range of training aids including free online training videos, podcasts, emails and giveaways. They're available at: https://icatcare.org/international-cat-day.
Dr. Michael McFarland, Chief Medical Officer at Zoetis, said: "Many cat owners find it incredibly difficult and stressful getting cats into a carrier. As a result, many are reluctant to take their cat to their veterinarian unless they have a major health issue.
“Cats are intelligent animals and we want owners to know that they respond well to training. The ICC survey found that owners who use positive training and rewards find it much easier to get their cats into a carrier, so we are delighted to support the #BeCatCurious campaign this year.
“Visits to the veterinarian and giving medicines when needed are essential if we want to keep our pets healthy and protected, for example against parasites. So, encouraging owners to be more curious and to learn something new with their cat can not only strengthen the bond between them but also make life easier and healthier for cats and their owners.
The company says most other providers have restrictions for older pets, commonly for dogs over the age of 8 and cats over 10. As a result, the customer often feels trapped to stay with their current insurer.
Petsure offers cover for a range of veterinary fee levels, from £1,000 to £15,000 regardless of pre-existing medical conditions. Each policy can cover a combination of up to eight cats or dogs on a single policy and gives the option of tailoring the level of cover for each pet, including the option of sharing the bill. There is also a choice of 4 add-on covers including travel and holiday cover.
There are no exclusion periods when switching from an existing insurer with like for like cover.
The company also offers 24 hour video consultations via FirstVet.
Scott Miller MRCVS said: "Every day I see pets come into my clinics with worried owners. Worrying for the wellbeing of your pet is expected but worrying about the cost of treatment should not be a concern. That's why I'm so thrilled that a product has launched to ensure our furry friends with most pre-existing conditions can be treated and pet-prejudice is no longer an issue."
For more information, visit www.petsure.com or call 03301281862.
The figures, published as part of the RSPCA's Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, showed that the UK's 12 million dogs are over four times more likely to be the victims of intentional harm compared to cats, about which there were 14,825 incident reports.
There were also 3,226 incidents of deliberate harm to horses and 811 to rabbits.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “We say we’re a nation of animal-lovers and that dogs are man’s best friend. And yet, every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.
"Some of the cases I’ve seen have left me in tears and still stay with me today. Every time my own RSPCA rescue dog, Flo, comes to curl up beside me on the sofa I wonder what she suffered at the hands of people before she was found wandering the streets of London with a badly broken leg. Did someone do that to her deliberately? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
"But, tragically, that’s the reality for so many dogs. We’ve seen some of the most unimaginable cruelty inflicted on these gentle, sweet creatures. We’ve seen them beaten, drowned, set on fire, and poisoned. Our officers have been able to save some of them; getting to them just in time and finding them collapsed, bloodied, and hopeless. Others have died at the hands of their tormentors, but none should experience such cruelty.”
For more information, visit: www.rspca.org/stopcruelty.
According to the charity, hens have been badly neglected by the world of evidence-based academic research, with only two known papers written about their welfare.
However, researchers are now starting to take an interest and it is hoped that the new forum, nicknamed The Coop, will pave the way for ground-breaking studies around the world into hen welfare and hen keeping.
Jane Howorth MBE, Founder of the BHWT, said: “The research about to be undertaken ranges from exploring how hens benefit our mental health to seeking good veterinary care and appropriate drugs. They will also examine how the pet hen population has grown over the years and reasons for keeping them, and which homegrown remedies are used and which work.
One of the first bits of research to be supported by the BHWT is a study called ‘From the Backyard to our Beds’ by Jenny Mace BSc, MSc AWSEL, FHEA, Visiting Lecturer on the MSc in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law at the Centre for Animal Welfare at the University of Winchester.
The survey will collect data on the care-taking practices and attitudes towards chickens of non-commercial chicken carers, and you can take part here: https://winchester.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/from-the-backyard-to-our-beds-the-spectrum-of-care-in.
Jenny said: “To my knowledge, this research constitutes the first quantitative study to distinguish between ex-commercial and ‘standard’ chickens. It is also the first to enquire about some niche care-taking practices, such as the use of hormonal implants as a possible means of healthcare in hens.
“The results should be fascinating and I urge all backyard chicken keepers/rescuers to make sure their experiences are captured by filling out this survey. Thank you so much!”
The BHWT is also supporting work undertaken by Keiran Ragoonanan, a student at the Royal Veterinary College in London, who is investigating backyard chicken husbandry and feeding practices in the UK.
For more information visit: https://www.bhwt.org.uk/hen-health/take-part-in-ground-breaking-research-to-help-pet-chickens/
Hospital director David Walker said: “Ewan Ferguson has been providing our dermatology service for many years and with Hilary joining him, we will now be able to provide a full-time service to support our referring vets, their clients and pets.
He added: “We are really delighted that Hilary is joining the dermatology team at Anderson Moores. Her passion for dermatology is infectious and with a particular interest in chronic ear disease, I’m sure she’s going to be very busy!”
Hilary has been a past Board member and organiser of the scientific meetings for the British Veterinary Dermatology Study Group, a member of the In Practice editorial board for 20 years and a past chief examiner for the RCVS Small Animal Medicine Certificate. She continues to act as a mentor for the BSAVA PGCertSAM course and as an assessor for the RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Dermatology.
Hilary has worked in first opinion and referral clinics around the south west, including running her own dermatology referral service within several veterinary practices. From 2018 to 2021, she had been working as lead clinician in dermatology at Langford Vets (University of Bristol).
Hilary said: “I’m very excited to be joining the fantastic team at Anderson Moores and really looking forward to helping make a difference with the new dermatology service we’ll be offering.
For more information, visit www.andersonmoores.com.
The updated standards document applies to the awarding organisations and higher education institutions that set the veterinary nursing curricula, the centres (such as further education colleges) that deliver the courses, and the affiliated RCVS-approved training practices where SVNs undertake their placements.
The updated standards were approved by RCVS Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council in February 2021 after feedback from stakeholders.
There are six overarching standards within the framework, which also provide guidance on how the individual standards can be evidenced. The overarching standards are: learning culture; governance and quality; student empowerment; educators and assessors; curricula and assessment; and effective clinical learning.
The College says the new Standards Framework, which draws together all the previous separate guidance for awarding organisations, centres and training practices, allows greater flexibility for how training can be delivered.
Julie Dugmore, RCVS Director of Veterinary Nursing, said: “During 2020, accreditations and quality monitoring audits were conducted against the RCVS Standards Framework for Veterinary Nurse Education and Training. Feedback from all involved was positive but reflected a need for clarification in some areas and further examples to assist with evidencing compliance.
“Since February 2021, four accreditations have been conducted against the updated standards, the results of which demonstrate a positive move towards the outcomes based approach to accreditation and quality monitoring.”
The full set of standards can be read online at www.rcvs.org.uk/standards-framework-vn.
The association began to produce client information leaflets in 2011, to help its members provide information to clients about the safe use of the drugs that they prescribe and dispense for the patients under their care. Over the years the range of leaflet groups has expanded to include canine and feline behaviour and exotic pets, as well as medicines.
Designed to be printed easily in practice, all the leaflets have the option to add practice details if required. The new additions for June are Antihistamines, Ferrous sulphate, Fluconazole, Hydrochlorothiazide, Imipramine, Leflunomide, Travoprost and Trimethoprim/Sulphonamide, with authors including Polly Frowde, Hannah Hodgkiss-Geere, and Fergus Allerton.
Julian Hoad, Chair of the Publications Committee said: “We are proud to have hit this impressive milestone; we know that our client information leaflets are of great use to our members to help them keep their clients informed and we aim to add to this number every year.”
The client information leaflets are provided to BSAVA members as part of their member benefits and are also available for non-members to buy as part of the ‘Formulary Plus’ online subscription. You can find them in the BSAVA Library here.
The statistic came to light as a result of Ceva's Mercury Challenge1, in which veterinary practices from around Europe took blood pressure readings from over 10,000 cats over seven years old, 4000 of which were from the UK.
The Challenge results, which were recently presented at Ceva Cat Expertise 2021 by the international feline medicine specialist, Dr Andy Sparkes, showed that more than 40% of cats enrolled in the Mercury Challenge were hypertensive, with a blood pressure about 30% higher than the blood pressure value found in healthy cats.
Ceva says this high percentage suggests that feline hypertension may be even more common than suspected, especially in the ageing cat population, with the mean age of hypertensive cats found to be 13 years old in the Challenge.
The study also found that up to one in three cats had both hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Feline hypertension is also associated with hyperthyroidism.
Jodie Tanner, veterinary surgeon at Lime Tree Vets in Staffordshire who participated in the Mercury Challenge said: “We were surprised by how many of the cats whose blood pressure we measured as part of the Mercury Challenge were actually hypertensive and were taken aback at the number of hypertensive cats which lacked clinical signs or target organ damage.
"These hypertensive cats would have previously gone undetected prior to us screening our older patients and they would probably have only presented when they had advanced target organ damage, such as blindness.
“Measuring blood pressure in cats is now incorporated into our bespoke preventative health care plan – The Pet Plus Membership – and our ‘Gold Plan’ is tailored to our patients over eight years of age.
"Included in the Gold Plan are twice yearly blood pressure checks, so we can pick up hypertension cases as early as possible, and the plan also includes twice yearly urine screens and yearly blood screens to pick up other common diseases seen in older cats such as hyperthyroidism and CKD.”
Ceva has a range of resources available to support veterinary practices, including those that want to set up vet nurse blood pressure clinics. There's a digital hypertension tool kit available by registering at www.easethepressure.co.uk, where you will also find information on the Hypertension CPD Hub, an Ease the Pressure pack containing resources to support vet practices, owner communications materials and information about Ceva’s online Hypertension Ambassador CPD course. A vet practice social media pack is also available.
For further information, visit www.easethepressure.co.uk or contact your local Ceva territory manager.
Vetbromide is presented as a 600mg double divisible tablet for both large and small dogs, and for greater flexibility with dose titration. Tablets are blister packed for ease of storage and dispensing, with a four-year unopened shelf life.
Alongside the launch, TVM has prepared a range of product support materials, including: product guidelines, treatment and monitoring guidelines, seizure management ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, and pet owner information.
TVM has also created a free e-learning tool which takes veterinary staff through the process of diagnosing, treating and monitoring dogs with suspected epilepsy.
Will Peel, product manager at TVM said: "The addition of Vetbromide to our epilepsy range allows vets more flexibility when treating epileptic patients. To further assist vets, we are also offering a wide range of free literature and in-practice support to ensure that veterinary staff are up to speed on such a common, yet at times complicated, topic.’
For more information, visit www.tvm-uk.com/epilepsy, or contact your TVM UK Territory Manager.
The Disciplinary Committee heard that in 2018, when Dr Dyson was employed as Head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust (AHT), she completed a research project: ‘Influence of rider: horse body weight ratios on equine welfare and performance – a pilot study’, for which she had previously been given the go-ahead by the AHT’s Clinical Research Ethics Committee. The results of the study were then submitted to the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour: Clinical Applications and Research for publication.
After peer-reviewing the project paper at the request of Journal Editor Karen Overall, Dr Matthew Parker, a Senior Lecturer in Behavioural Pharmacology at the University of Portsmouth, was concerned by the lack of a Home Office licence and asked for details of the licence or an explanation of why the project didn’t need one, and for the paper to be re-submitted.
In reply, Dr Dyson then emailed Ms Overall saying: “We have a former Home Office Inspector on our AHT Ethical Committee and two current licence holders (Named Veterinary Surgeons) who are fully conversant with the current legislation ... I also sought informal advice from a current Inspector. All were fully aware of the protocols to be employed and gave me assurance that in their opinion Home Office approval would not be required”.
Ms Overall then asked Dr Dyson to obtain a letter from the Home Office to support this position.
On 24 December 2018, Dr Dyson sent Ms Overall a letter purportedly from a Home Office Inspector called Dr Butler who, she explained, had advised her during the planning phase of the project. In the letter, the fictitious Dr Butler confirmed that their advice was sought for the project and that in their opinion, a Home Office Licence was not required.
Ms Overall then sent the letter to Dr Parker for further review, who decided to contact Dr Martin Whiting, Head of Operations at the Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) to ask if he knew of Dr Butler.
Dr Whiting confirmed that the Home Office had no record of employing a Dr Butler as an Inspector and that they were in the process of making further inquiries into the matter.
After Dr Whiting’s reply was forwarded to Dr Dyson, she replied to him saying that she thought the studies’ procedures did not meet the criteria for the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA), but that this was questioned by peer reviewers.
She said that her decision to send Dr Butler’s letter was one that she would ‘eternally regret’ and that she was ‘an inherently honest person’.
She explained that she was under a huge amount of pressure in her personal and professional life and that she was ‘fully aware that [she] acted completely inappropriately and she requested the incident be overlooked’.
In March 2019, Dr Dyson sent a letter to William Reynolds, Head of the Home Office ASRU, in which she expressed remorse for writing the letter. Mr Reynolds subsequently raised a concern with the RCVS about Dr Dyson’s alleged behaviour.
Dr Jane Downes, who chaired the Disciplinary Committee, and spoke on its behalf, said: “The Committee heard from Dr Dyson that she had no recollection of several events detailed in the charge, including writing the letter from Dr Butler and sending the email to Ms Overall which contained Dr Butler’s letter. She accepted that the letter was dishonest and that it should not have been sent. However, she also claimed that, as she could not remember writing the letter, she did not act dishonestly.
The Committee heard testimonials from several witnesses who held Dr Dyson in high regard, including colleagues from the AHT, who attested to her integrity.
However, there were many dubious claims made by Dr Dyson throughout the hearing, including that the Home Office Inspector that she referenced as ‘my friendly inspector’ was someone who could have given informed consent to a project as Dr Dyson confirmed that she had met the individual briefly, around two and a half years ago at a drinks reception.
In reaching its decisions, the Committee considered Dr Dyson’s previously impeccable character, the written and verbal testimonies from witnesses. They also considered that during the hearing, Dr Dyson explained that at the time she fabricated the letter, she was under a lot of work and personal pressures, including managing a workload amidst colleagues’ resigning or going on maternity leave and it being the anniversary of her dog having to be humanely destroyed.
However, it did not accept Dr Dyson’s claims that she had amnesia at this time, and considered that she had not owned up to her wrongdoing until it was discovered. Although Dr Dyson maintained her actions were not pre-meditated, the Committee considered that, in the case of the forged letter, a certain amount of planning and careful thought was involved. The Committee believed that Dr Dyson knew what she was doing at the time, but acknowledged she may subsequently have blanked out what she did.
The Committee found all but one of the allegations proved and confirmed that it “was satisfied that the writing and sending of that letter was the culmination of a course of dishonest conduct.”
Committee Chair Dr Downes said: “In assessing [the evidence of] Dr Dyson the Committee took into account the difficulty faced by any Respondent appearing before their Regulator and also the various interruptions occasioned by issues which had to be dealt with during her evidence. Whilst [Dr Dyson is] undoubtedly highly qualified and highly respected, the Committee nevertheless considered her evidence lacked credibility and was not reliable.”
The Committee found that Dr Dyson’s conduct had breached parts of the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons and amounted to serious professional misconduct.
Dr Downes continued: “The Committee determined that it was important that a clear message be sent that this sort of behaviour is wholly inappropriate and [was] not to be tolerated. It brings discredit upon Dr Dyson and discredit upon the profession.
"For whatever reason, Dr Dyson chose not to respond to Ms Overall’s email on 30th November 2018 in an honest and straightforward way. Instead, she lied about the makeup of the AHT Ethical Committee in order to cloak her response with authority.
"She also lied about having received advice from a current Inspector for the same reason. In the Committee’s view, she made a conscious decision to provide a dishonest response. She no doubt believed that would be the end of the matter.
"When that did not work, she lied further in the email to her co-author, Andrew Hemmings, claiming to have a letter from her friendly Inspector. When that too did not work, she impersonated a Home Office Inspector in creating the ‘Dr Butler letter’.
"She then added a false declaration to the manuscript, which she subsequently submitted to the Journal along with an email containing yet further lies. That was all done in a blatant and wilful attempt to deceive Ms Overall ... into believing the contents of the correspondence to be true, that confirmation a Home Office Licence was not required had been obtained and all was therefore well with the submitted manuscript.
"There was no rush, or urgency to have the paper published and the actions were not done in a moment of panic. No doubt she had not planned the entire course of events in advance, but instead reacted to each new obstacle that came her way, but her overall course of dishonest conduct spanned over three weeks.
“The Committee was well aware of the impact and ramifications for Dr Dyson of any decision to remove her from the Register but had to weigh her interests with those of the public.
"In doing so it took account of the context and circumstances of the case, all matters of personal mitigation, as detailed above, Dr Dyson’s undoubted distinguished international career and reputation and the need to act proportionally.
"However, for all the reasons given above, the Committee was of the view that the need to uphold proper standards of conduct within the veterinary profession, together with the public interest in maintaining confidence in the profession of veterinary surgeons, meant that a period of suspension would not be sufficient and that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in all the circumstances of this case was that of removal from the Register."
The patient was a four-year-old Labrador called Vinny who, in 2019, became the first dog in the UK to receive a BioMedtrix canine ankle replacement system, implanted by Wear's Head of Orthopaedic Surgery, RCVS Specialist Neil Burton, assisted by Maciej Krukowski.
That first surgery, on Vinny’s right ankle, was successful. However, two years later he needed similar treatment to his left leg.
Neil said: “Vinny first presented to us at Wear Referrals in 2019 with hind limb lameness.
“He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his hock joints bilaterally due to a developmental condition called osteochondrosis of the talus causing him ongoing pain and lameness. We operated on the right ankle, with Vinny becoming the first dog in the UK to have this ankle replacement system placed.
“Vinny was significantly more comfortable on this limb postoperatively but his lameness progressively worsened in the left hind limb. The decision was made to perform the same surgery on the left ankle, making Vinny the first dog in the world to have this surgery performed bilaterally.
“Vinny has made another fine recovery from surgery and is now off medication, meaning he can exercise unrestricted and pain-free without a lifetime reliance on painkilling drugs.
“For our team at Wear to be able to offer him this pioneering surgery has been a great opportunity. He’s now a unique case, being both the first UK recipient of this BioMedtrix joint replacement as well as the world's first bilateral ankle replacement with the same system.”
For more information, visit www.wear-referrals.co.uk.
Kate (pictured right) was confirmed as the 150th RCVS President at the College’s 2021 Annual General Meeting, which took place last Friday. Kate’s investiture makes her the 10th female President of the RCVS and the first to lead an all-female presidential team with Senior Vice-President Mandisa Greene and Junior Vice-President Melissa Donald.
Kate has been an elected member of RCVS Council from 2015 to 2019 and then from 2020 onwards, and brings with her a bank of professional experience having worked in clinical farm practice, in the pharmaceutical industry and as a senior civil servant in non-veterinary roles, including as Principal Private Secretary to three Secretaries of State for Scotland.
She’s a graduate from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh and during her time on RCVS Council has chaired the Standards Committee and been a member of the Legislation Working Party. She currently chairs the Preliminary Investigation Committee /Disciplinary Committee Liaison Committee and sits on the Education Committee, Registration Committee, VN Council, Primary Qualifications Subcommittee and the Environmental & Sustainability Working Party.
During her first speech as RCVS President, Kate spoke about how experiences of loneliness early in her veterinary career, when she was working in rural farm vet practice, has led her to have a deep understanding of the importance of connection, something which has been reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the value of connections for our mental health and wellbeing. Social distancing has spotlighted in fluorescent pinks, blues and greens the need for social connections. When hungry we eat, thirsty we drink, when we feel lonely we need to connect.
“And that starts with connecting with ourselves, nurturing our minds and bodies, building our sense of self and resilience. I am passionate about initiatives including the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative and Vetlife that support our professions.
“Connections within the professions have been fundamental to my career, providing opportunities to collaborate, extend my knowledge and forge support networks. I look forward to building stronger connections with vets in the UK and abroad, including the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe. I’m so excited about the energy, new connections and networks springing up in the profession.
“I’ve worked in non-veterinary roles where I’ve had the opportunity to make new connections and share knowledge across professional disciplines.
“Pre-pandemic I attended a seminar on domestic violence. Speakers from social services said how hard it was to identify victims of domestic violence who were too scared to report. I informed the room about the Links Group, which works hard to raise awareness of the connection between the abuse of animals and people. Sadly, there are still silos, disconnections between well-meaning professionals. That proves to me the critical role of vets in human health and welfare by reporting animals they suspect of non-accidental injury.”
She concluded her speech (which is available to read in full at www.rcvs.org.uk/features) by saying: “I am excited about my presidential year, thankful for my connections, my iceberg of support. I’m thankful for the wise counsel of past Presidents especially Mandisa Greene and Niall Connell. My priority is to encourage Connections that Count, making sure we look after ourselves so that we can build vibrant purposeful and powerful connections across ours and allied professions for the good of animal and human health and welfare, for our communities, society and the environment.
“My aim this year? To amplify and extend the reach of the veterinary voice.”
Each Diagnostic Rounds session will be live-streamed and interactive, with 90 minutes of interpretation of diagnostic images and test results. The BSAVA says the sessions will be packed with cases and images, enabling all vets no matter where they are in their career, to keep developing their interpretation skills.
Lucie Goodwin, Head of Education said: “We are really excited to be launching Diagnostic Rounds and have a great line up of speakers and topics for the next twelve months. Our members have told us that they want more diagnostic imaging and case-based CPD and we are delighted to be able to deliver this in a fun, interactive and accessible way. As interpretation skills are relevant to daily veterinary practice, Diagnostic Rounds will be relevant to all small animal vets with something for everyone, regardless of career stage.”
The Diagnostic Rounds will be delivered by specialist diagnostic imagers, medics, cardiologists, and clinical pathologists. Whilst there will be a strong focus on diagnostic imaging, there will also be sessions on ECG interpretation, endoscopy, and clinical pathology. Speakers will include Mike Martin on ‘Imaging cardiology cases’, Ed Hall on ‘Interpreting endoscopic findings of the GI tract’ and Helen Wilson on ‘Imaging respiratory emergencies’.
Pat is the head of the Equine Studies Group at Waltham Petcare Science Institute and an internationally renowned authority on equine nutrition from both veterinary and academic perspective.
Her courses, book publications and webinars are aimed at providing practising equine vets with the latest knowledge and essential know-how on equine nutrition, whether for performance horses, leisure animals or the retired family pony.
Earlier this month Pat was one of several speakers at the British Equine Veterinary Association’s CPD course: From superfoods to supplements: How to know more than the owner.
Earlier this year she co-edited and co-authored two chapters of Veterinary Clinics Equine Practice: Nutrition: 1) What would be good for all veterinarians to know about equine nutrition, and 2) Nutritional considerations when dealing with an obese adult equine.
Next month she will chair a panel discussion titled Nutritional Management of the Competitive Equine Athlete for Vets through VetPD.
In the autumn she will be one of several speakers at the Mars Equestrian Equine Veterinary Continuing Education Series focusing on senior, obese and laminitic horses.
For more information, visit: www.spillers-feeds.com
Dan, who is a novice runner, will be running the 13.1 miles between Newcastle and South Shields on Sunday 12 September. He said: “You’d think that lockdown would be the perfect opportunity to train hard and then breeze through the ‘world’s biggest and best half marathon’ but, perhaps like many others, I ate cheese and drank wine for 18 months, so the challenge is now really on.
“I’m raising funds to help save the rhino because the conservation of these magnificent animals is so important and I hope the added pressure of supporting the charity will propel me across the finish line. I’m also excited to be running in Newcastle at a time when Medivet is growing its presence in the North-East of England.
“Running in the rhino suit will be tough but it has an internal fan which I hope will keep me cool on the day. Let’s hope the weather will be kind!”
Donations to support Dan's fundraising can be made at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DanSutcliffe1
The app allows trainers to store and share medical records and treatment plans, identify horses and, with a Bio Thermo chip, monitor temperature non-invasively.
In Ireland, the Irish Horse Racing Board (IHRB) requires every yard keep a Blue Book which has to be submitted monthly. In the Blue Book, every medication given to every horse is recorded, with the amounts, the name of the medication and its batch number all written in by hand. EquiTrace enables a trainer to email the blue book information direct from their mobile phone.
Vincent O’Connor, senior vet at Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital on the Curragh, Ireland, says he has found the app very easy to use and particularly appreciates the way it suggests stand down periods required for intraarticular medication, where injections into different joints require different numbers of days withdrawal before competition. The experience of John Oxx, whose winner I Know I Can was disqualified because of a positive test for TCA (triamcinolone acetonide) on 2 July 2020, is a case in point. Dr Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping, stated that the minimum recommended stand down time for TCA would be 14 days but added that the stifle is a complex joint and can be associated with longer excretion times than might be expected.
Kevin Corley said: "Keeping a horse’s identity straight might seem a simple thing, but when you have a yard where staff and horses can change frequently and records are kept in the office, far away from the stables and fields where the horses are, it is not as easy as you think. I remember a time when I was called out to genetically test four two year olds, each valued at over €50,000 because their registration documents had been lost before they had been filed and no one knew which one was which."
EquiTrace has been in trials in Ireland, England, USA, Sweden and Italy and Kevin says every yard which has tested the app has kept it in operation.
EquiTrace is a subscription service, with a basic service for $1/€1 per month per horse and a premium subscription at $2/€2 per month per horse. A scanner available from EquiTrace as a one-time cost is required to operate the system, ranging in price from €250 to €400 or USA $350 to $550.
EquiTrace works with all ISO-compliant microchips but some of the service offerings are dependent on the type of chip in the horse.
EquiTrace is available on Apple and Google appstores. Establishments with over 200 horses can contact EquiTrace directly to arrange a subscription. Current clients include DK Weld in Ireland, Ramsey Farm and Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky, USA, Kinsale Stud in the UK and Avantea in Italy.
For more information, visit: https://equitrace.app
Jurox says the reformulation will also help reduce waste associated with unpreserved ampule formulations and will help streamline portfolios with a requirement for only one buprenorphine listing.
Dr Dan Cripwell BSc (Hons) BVSc CertAVP (EM) CertAVP PgCert (VPS) MRCVS, Advanced Veterinary Practitioner and senior veterinary technical advisor at Jurox (UK) Limited, said: “I am delighted that Jurox can provide the UK veterinary market with this evolution of our multidose buprenorphine formulation. We constantly strive to provide the veterinary profession with first class clinical and technical support and our ability to perform in-house product research and development is also a great strength; this allows us to remain agile enough to make adaptations in an area where not much has changed in the past few years.
“In this instance, we were able to examine what improvements could be made to our existing drug portfolio and respond to the profession’s feedback with the redevelopment of the commonly utilised opioid analgesic, buprenorphine. Our hope is that, as well as the recent mixing claims added to the product licence, this development will encourage the best clinical use of the drug and, in turn, improve patient experience and outcome.”
For more information, contact your local Jurox account manager, phone 0800 500 3171, visit www.jurox.com/uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The webinar is the first of several events which will focus attention on patients owned by the estimated 80% of owners who feel that their pets with canine osteoarthritis (OA) may be suffering from off-days that can be associated with breakthrough pain¹.
During the session, Matt will explain the impact breakthrough pain has on the pet and owner and how to approach it more effectively using analgesic and rehabilitation tools and strategies.
James Beaumont, Marketing Manager at Animalcare, said: “Veterinary surgeons have told us that they estimate that nearly half of their canine OA cases on daily NSAIDs experience breakthrough pain.²
"Additionally, a proportion of pet owners state their dogs experience off-days and believe their pet suffers as a result of the condition³."
Animalcare says that some of the main factors in osteoarthritis breakthrough pain can include variable plasma drug levels between doses, intermittent treatment protocols or poor owner adherence with the vet’s recommendation, flare-ups and disease progression.
To register for the event, visit: https://tinyurl.com/43bm8mdx. All those who register will also be able to view a recording and enter a free prize draw for the chance to win tickets to attend London Vet Show live in November.
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