Qld News December 2017 Sunshine Coast Branch Wrap up

Well 2017 has certainly flown by! It was our first year back in action after Dr Guy Weerasinghe resurrected the Sunshine Coast Branch of the AVA as branch president. We jumped straight back into the swing of things some great social activities and events held throughout the year.

Our inaugural trivia night was held at the Palmwoods Hotel in July.  It was a really fun night with about 60 people attending in total.  It was great to battle it out for the prestigious title of Sunshine Coast Branch Trivia champion team!  Nicklin Way were the overall winners for the evening despite some tough competition.  It ended up being a great night with lots of laughs and a few beers and wines to enjoy the night in good company.

Next on the calendar was the annual Golf Day, which was held as a battle of the branches this year between Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Veterinary Practitioners.  Once again the day was held at North Lakes, teeing off on a perfect Brisbane winter’s day to drive, chip and putt it out for the top position.  Keeping out of the rough proved tricky on some holes, but generally the play was laid back with a few stops at the drinks cart along the course.  Combining the two branches helped bolster better numbers for this year’s event and it turned out to be a really great day with heaps of fun to be had (regardless of skill level!).

The flagship event of the year was the One Health conference held at Mooloolaba Surf Club overlooking pristine white sandy beaches. There were many excellent speakers that presented across a variety of topics to suit a large number of interests. There were experts from so many fields present, including veterinary science, human health and the public sector who presented fascinating talks. The conference really demonstrated the value in supporting a One Health attitude and how as veterinarians, we have the ability to collaborate and communicate with the different sectors to facilitate a better approach for all.

Dr Guy Weerasinghe has also met with the local public health unit to plan a long-term antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) program in collaboration with other departments. A grant application has been submitted in order to provide financial support for this program. Antimicrobial stewardship programs are increasing in popularity within both human and veterinary medical practices. Stewardship programs help to outline proper antimicrobial usage to delay the onset of antimicrobial resistance through client education and providing a framework to help facilitate responsible dispensing processes. As demonstrated at the One Health Conference, it is possible to apply a stewardship program within private veterinary clinics as evidenced by the work done by Dr Alison Taylor, the participating veterinarians of Canberra and the AVA. We will keep you all up to date on how we go with arranging such a program here in the Sunshine Coast region. 

Recently we have also been making better connections with our local council.  Fostering a strong relationship with council has already given us the opportunity to provide guidance on policy making by allowing us to provide a veterinary perspective on animal management.  Dr Anna Sri has been instrumental in changing the council’s support of using shock and citronella collars for controlling nuisance barking in our region.  She has instead encouraged the use of effective non-aversive training using positive reinforcement.  Taking the time to address barking at the cause rather than suppressing behaviours through fear or stress (which can result in further negative consequences later) is so important.  Providing veterinary input to policymakers is one way of working together in order to increase animal welfare outcomes at the council level.

In all it has been a great start to the rebirth of our branch and we look forward to serving our members in 2018.  We have a lot planned, including a new social event and we will be providing some regular CE seminars for our members so keep your eyes peeled for these great events.  Please get in touch if you have any suggestions or feedback!

I am looking forward to working with the branch as president in the coming year.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I hope you’re ready for a fun-filled 2018!

Dr David Kahl 
Sunshine Coast President

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