Calling all Vet Graduates...
Applications open for Veterinary Surgeon Graduate Programme
A brand new graduate programme which will help to train the veterinary surgeons of the future launches this month, run by leading veterinary charity, PDSA.
Applications for PDSA’s Veterinary Surgeon Graduate Programme open on Monday 4 March 2013, and the programme is open to all veterinary surgeon graduates - including the current 2013 graduating student cohort.
PDSA’s Veterinary Surgeon Graduate Programme is one of the first comprehensive - UK wide - graduate schemes in the veterinary profession to combine clinical experience, development of surgical skills, promotion of preventive services and pet wellbeing education. This is delivered via a structured programme with dedicated support including mentoring, training and continuing professional development opportunities – all within a busy small animal charity practice environment.
Following the framework of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Professional Development Phase (PDP), the duration of the programme is one year. Successful applicants will be based at one of five PDSA PetAid hospitals – Glasgow East, Bradford, Liverpool Kirkdale, Stoke-on-Trent or Bow – and will also work at several other PDSA PetAid hospitals within the geographic location, building up experience in different hospitals and working with different teams. There will also be dedicated time off the veterinary rota to be able to train and coach the new graduates to develop their clinical skills.
The programme will provide the necessary experience for new graduates to effectively complete their compulsory PDP. It is hoped that those successfully completing the graduate programme will continue their careers with PDSA taking on available permanent opportunities in the charity.
Richard Hooker, PDSA Director of Veterinary Services, commented:
“At PDSA, we have great talent within our veterinary teams and we are looking to add to that even further with the launch of our Veterinary Surgeon Graduate Programme; five outstanding graduates will join us in September 2013 to be part of PDSA’s future and to develop their skills and experience as veterinary surgeons.
“On average, our PetAid hospitals see around 5,695 pets each working day – including consultations, emergency treatment, surgical procedures, through to preventative measures and education on pet wellbeing. The Veterinary Surgeon Graduate Programme will give our cohort the opportunity to gain invaluable small animal practice with the UK’s leading veterinary charity, home to some of the most experienced and long-serving vets in our profession.”
Applications are open until 29 March 2013. For further information and to apply, please visit http://pdsa.org.uk/careers/graduate-programme/how-to-applyor contact PDSA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Of all the TV adventures I've had this has to be one of the most nerve wracking. When I got the call that they wanted me to be part of the Bristol Uni graduate team for the Christmas episodes I said yes without thinking. University Challenge is an institution, known for its fiendishly tough questions, catchy theme tune and being the basis or the best ever episode of 'The Young Ones'. Nearer the time I started to have serious doubts. Even sat at home with no-one watching I struggle to answer even the odd question and now I had agreed to struggle to do the same under the gaze of the nation and the most intimidating quizmaster known to man. What many people don't realise is that to even get into the normal university team you have to compete in lots of competitions and prove yourself a fountain of knowledge with lightening reflexes, but our graduate teams are made up of 'notable alumni' from the past 50 years who may have never been part of a quiz team in their lives.
Arriving on the day at the studios in Manchester in my geography teachers corduroy jacket that I bought in a charity shop in Bristol, I was relieved to see the other members of my team, and our opposition, were pacing the floor and looking as nervous as I. We all knew that in the following half hour we had a golden opportunity to make complete tits of ourselves by saying something dumb or being struck dumb - either would do.
After a reasonable amount of acceptable faff getting chair heights adjusted, camera angles sorted and buzzers tested, we were joined by the big man himself. Jeremy came over to each team and told us he thought we were very brave, which wasn't all that reassuring and then he settled in his chair and we were off.
The first few questions were just gobbledegook to me - poetry, politics and random geography, not my specialist subjects. I was starting to panic and was finding it hard to follow the convoluted nature of the questions, when almost without realising it I had hit the buzzer - I knew this one - "slugs & snails" I said.
"Hmmm, I'll let you have it" replied Jeremy adding that he only had slugs on the card.
Massive relief, I was out of the blocks. It was a close run battle with the lead changing a number of times. My knowledge of biology, rugby and animal charity slogans gave me a few more scoring opportunities (I'm sure they were dropped in their just for me). Being beaten to the buzzer was frustrating for all of us. It seemed so rare to know an answer, that hearing somebody claim 10 points for saying it was especially galling. With no clock visible it was only the increasing speed of Jeremy's delivery and his occasional barked "come on" during conferring that let us know we were coming to the end. Bong! The gong sounded and Leeds Uni had beaten us by 5 points. Done and dusted. We had all survived and nobody had made a fool of themselves. Both teams, Jeremy and all the production team were lovely folk and I'd had a blast. It was all over too soon.
Its a Jungle out there!
It's been a hectic couple of weeks getting together the 'It's a jungle out there' campaign up and running. Working alongside the legendary David Bellamy has been great, with opportunities to hear some amazing tales from his extraordinary career.
My particular favourite anecdote was how he was driving along listening to the radio when they started a David Bellamy impersonation competition live on air. Typical of his sense of humour he decided to call in and have a go. He came second! I can't imagine what it must have been like at the time having so many people take you off, and even caught myself a few times during the filming slipping into an impression of him when talking about nasty, little parasites. It's a subject that's incredibly well suited to his delivery with lots of gruesome tales about burrowing mites and invasive worms.
It's not a comfortable topic as I know from working in practice. Almost every day I see people start scratching just at the mention of fleas and ticks, but it's important information they need to know about. And it's also a fascinating piece of natural history because these parasites have millions of years of evolution behind them that has resulted in some amazing survival strategies. From the amazing jumping ability of fleas to the horrible burrowing behaviour of intestinal worms, it's a true miniature safari and who better to be on safari with than David Bellamy.
To see the parasite videos just visit www.itsajungle.co.uk
Bursting at the seams
12 Lunatic Lads & 1 Wonder Woman
Those who have been following me on twitter will have realised that I took part in a spectacular event over last weekend. I just so happened to be in the pub the previous thursday night and the barmaid told me the lads were short of a man for Saturday's outing, namely 'The MS Challenge'. Whitchurch Rugby Club have entered a team for many years now of which I had been aware as some of my mates regularly take part and I have sponsored them in the past. They had told me it was tough and that they took no prisoners. It wasn't a race, I was told, but we had to come first.
Basically the event entails up to 12 people wheeling and carrying a passenger in a wheelchair up a hill, through a swampy forest and back down the hill. Our passenger was Alison, an MS sufferer, who amazingly has allowed these nutters to cart her not-that-gently up and down this course for a number of years now.
After rigging the chair with a purpose-built frame to provide eight carrying handles we took our place at the start. All the guys who'd done this before had warned me about 'the hill'. The first mile of the course is a snaky forest track up the hill and it's relentless, switching back and to with no clear end. So with Alison carefully seated we set off like a bull at a gate.
After the first ten minutes I thought my lungs were going to burst - I had done no real training for this at all except for a 30min run in Zim and a bit of touch rugby the Sunday before - but the pace never let up and at the top of the hill we caught the team that had started 45 minutes before us. Alison had to be relieved that we had come off the gravel I'm sure as it must have rattled all her teeth loose but things were about to get even more difficult as we entered the forest. The last months rain had soaked into the spongy ground and turned the whole area into a swamp. Alison was lifted clear of the ground and we charged through the woods, over fallen trees and across mud-filled ditches where we nearly lost Fu-bar.
Still we ploughed on at a merciless pace up yet more grassy hills and through more boggy pits. In all the course was around 5-6 miles and the last mile was back down the gravel hill. Charging down the hill with Alison hanging on for dear life I was ecstatic to see the finish line. I had worked far harder than I thought was possible. The lads have such an amazing team spirit and push each other incredibly hard. We completed the whole thing in an hour and a half where other teams would take in excess of twice that time. We were shattered, filthy and thirsty so we jumped in the river for a wash down and a few beers (Ginger beer in my case - thanks Tommy).
But the person who really deserved a drink was Alison who, throughout the whole ordeal, smiled and encouraged us all on despite being thrown all over the place, shaken to pieces and almost-but-not-quite dropped on a number of occasions. Alison uses the MS Support Centre in Chester regularly and knows that this is an important fund-raising event to help keep the centre running. After the dip in the river our pain and discomfort would fade away in a matter of a few days but that's not the case with those who have Multiple Sclerosis. So if you feel like rewarding our efforts and more importantly Alison's, then click on the link below and donate a couple of quid.
Collaring the dogs...
Art is what you make of it...
A real education...
Our first four days...
This morning I spoke to Eric & Clare on BBC Radio Shropshire about a case I saw in the last few weeks. It was a very sad case about a lovely cat called Martha, much loved by her owner. Her owner received some flowers and placed them in a vase at home. Martha, being a normal inquisitive cat was exploring this new addition to her environment and ended up with bright red pollen on her fur. Later the same day she was not her normal happy self and her owner wanted to check whether it was anything to do with the pollen she saw on Martha that morning. Her owner searched on the internet 'Cats & Lilies' and was horrified to read that they can be fatal to cats.
Within minutes she was at our practice and starting treatment. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats. Nobody is quite sure what the toxin is or why cats are so sensitive to it. All parts of the plant appear to be toxic and pollen is one of the commonest ways for cats to ingest the plant as they are fastidious groomers. The toxin attacks the kidneys and causes severe damage. Treatment is rarely successful and despite hourly injections throughout the night we couldn't restore her kidney function and at 4 o'clock in the morning I had to call her owner and advise that we put her to sleep as she was deteriorating badly. Her owner was understandably distraught and was blaming herself for not knowing about lilies but despite the best efforts of cat charities and vet practices it isn't that well known. Something this toxic to pets should come with a warning on it, it makes sense doesn't it?
What we would really like is for florists to have a little reminder on every bouquet containing lilies that shows they are toxic to cats. In the meantime Martha's owner is keen to get the message out there to cat owners about the danger of lilies to cats and has set up a Facebook page dedicated to Martha's memory and spreading the message to help prevent any further fatalities. Please click on the link to visit the site and let all your cat owning friends about it: MARTHA'S MESSAGE
Bruce is also a big fan of this campaign and would very much like you to check it out. He will stare at you in a slightly menacing way until you click on the link.