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An update from Peter

Peter Luscombe | Yeovil Vet Surgeon

We recently cancelled our planned 30-year college reunion (for the second year!) because of the changing international Covid-19 situation. This made me reflect on the changes in our profession and the continuing progress in our practice.

Veterinary practice has changed dramatically as new knowledge is gained and new treatments developed. As a profession we continually strive to make improvements and certainly as a practice we wholeheartedly embrace this philosophy.

When I qualified, the typical vet in Somerset and Dorset was still tending to “All Creatures Great and Small”, working with any species of animal that was presented, willing to have a go at anything. Specialist services and referral was relatively uncommon and largely restricted to University Veterinary Schools. Many modern diagnostic techniques were still in their infancy, and even routine blood tests would be sent to an external laboratory with results available in 3-4 days. We had to be real general practitioners, making a diagnosis based on our clinical examination and deciding on the best treatment available and accessible.

With the advent of reliable and user-friendly laboratory machines, much of our testing is now done in the surgery with results being available very quickly, even while you wait. We also have access to equipment which in the past was only available in specialist referral centres.

Our practice has invested in a lot of modern equipment, and just as importantly the training to use it effectively. X-rays have moved into the digital age, giving us better images but also allowing us to easily seek the opinion of external specialists in difficult cases.  We regularly use ultrasound examination to look inside animals with minimal risk to the animal which can give us a lot of useful information in ways that were unheard of when I qualified. We have recently invested in a new video endoscope, which allows us to look inside the stomach and intestines of animals with much more clarity and allowing us to share opinions on what we are seeing. These types of investigation have enabled us to make an accurate diagnosis for many animals without risking major exploratory operations.

With the continual advancement of knowledge, many of us have developed special interests and undertaken training for higher qualifications. We have a range of vets with advanced interests in surgery, emergency and critical care, skin problems and eye diseases. New colleagues have joined the practice bringing new knowledge and ideas, stimulating continued improvement. Recently we have started a monthly cardiology clinic with a specialist cardiologist, allowing advanced referral level examinations in the surgery without the need to travel long distances for this level of expertise. We also have visiting surgeons who perform some of the more specialist orthopaedic and soft tissue surgeries for us. All this has introduced new ideas to the practice, improving the quality of service we can offer, and our shared knowledge benefits colleagues, our patients and pet owners.

At our Newton Clarke Vet Practice, we offer an experienced, progressive and forward-looking team, but our independence allows us to maintain our traditional professional values and personal approach.


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