NIVA’s thanks go to Duane Fitzsimons for guiding a select group of social-distanced NIVA walkers around the Lecale peninsula. The feedback has been universally positive – scenery, sunshine, flora, fauna, and local history all conspired to provide a memorable day out. A repeat is planned on this same route for a second group of walkers on 22nd August. If you are interested in attending, e-mail email@example.com. We think the pictures speak for themselves!
The look of triumph says it all – Johnny Cunningham threw a 10 ml syringe an astonishing 8m into a welly, knocking the competition out of the park. Please don’t tell him there was no competition! This was the only entry in this class but nevertheless, we think this throw would be hard to beat.
The video evidence of this record-setting feat can be seen here.
Well done Johnny!
Our next adjudicator knows a thing or two about gardens and beautiful plants! Claire Woods is Head Gardener at the stunning Hillsborough Castle gardens. NIVA Council is grateful to Claire for taking the time to judge this huge class. Her adjudication is reproduced below:
“In third place entry 3 the outdoor tomatoes , 🍅🍅🍅🍅a truly impressive feat this entrant really must have green fingers , the tomatoes look healthy and a good size. Top of the Toms.
In second place entry 18, this entrant has either a really eye for colour coordination and design, or else the foxgloves have self seeded in the perfect situation – a gorgeous combination.
In first place entry 6, a wonderful range of unusual veg, lots of skill time and attention to detail needed to grow such a selection.
Overall I was very impressed, it was great to see so many entries, the bees were fascinating, and the garden with the bird feeders and the roses deserve a special mention. Many of the gardeners seem to have green fingers 🧤👩🌾maybe if they wanted a career change they could consider gardening.
Well done to everyone . Happy gardening🌿🌱🌷🌼🌻🌺🌞🍓🥦🥬🥕🧤”
Special mention for John & Susie Hill‘s garden with bird feeders (the bees are theirs too! Both entries submitted by Susie)
So . . . in third place David Marshall
In second place Jo Gibson
In first place Susie Hill
What a good sport! NIVA thanks Dr David Williams for agreeing to adjudicate this class for things that shouldn’t happen to a vet. David is a great ophthalmologist too – you can find out more about him here. His website also includes lots of interesting case studies.
A video of his adjudication can be found here.
In third place Susan Cunningham
Just your normal Sunday morning “Sick Parade” in the dark days before Vets Now arrived to allow most of us a weekend lie-in. “Next, please!” Enter a working German Shepherd, happily wagging his tail and (unusually) failing to give me any kind of ‘evil eye’, lead and choke chain rattling in the quaking hands of an off-duty Prison Officer. “He’s swallowed a lump of Semtex” “What??!!” Followed by “How do you know? Where did he get it? Why would he do that? How stable is it…..?!” It turns out the handler had trousered a lump of the plastic explosive from a training session, in order to steal a march on his colleagues, put in some extra work at the weekend, and have his dog out-perform all the others on Monday morning. The plan had gone spectacularly well until Fritz* got over-excited at a successful find, confused the Semtex with the expected treat reward, and gulped it down. The dog looked nothing but delighted with himself. The window of opportunity for putting an apomorphine tablet in his conjunctival sac was past, and the lump was mercifully small enough to be unlikely to stick at the ileo-caeco-colic junction. Although I grew up in 1970’s Belfast, I managed to get by without acquiring any knowledge of the finer details of bomb making and the materials involved. Fortunately the new VPIS was at hand (“We don’t have a lot of case reports…”) to reassure me that the most likely consequence would be gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhoea…..unless of course Fritz had also swallowed a detonator! I risked a cautious abdominal palpation – no discomfort detected…and the consulting room windows remained in their frames. Fritz and his handler were sent home with a bottle of kaolin, reassurance that the incident (pre-computerisation) need never be spoken of again (until now!) … and the entire practice got a giggle at the thought of running for cover if the dog even looked like farting!
In second place John Hill
Call came in at 11.30 pm to a farm I had not visited before. It was a gilt trying to farrow and she had been “sick to pig” since early morning. Heart sank as this was 17-18 hours later. Could have a belly full of dead piglets. Arrived on the farm and shown into the shed where there was a gilt lying on her side in a farrowing crate straining away. Her teats were swollen and oozing milk but no issue from the backend. With gown on and lubricated arm, I inserted my hand into the vagina. It was tight and dry and the cervix was completely shut. Sometimes you can ballott a piglet through the wall as the uterus loops round to the posterior. No sign of anything. The tissues were moving around easily, no weight at all of a full uterus. I was completely puzzled. Suddenly the penny dropped, this was a false pregnancy. All the symptoms were there. I had to tell the farmer that this was a case where the animal’s hormones told her that she was pregnant when she was not. He accepted the disappointing news, paid his money and I left. She had nine piglets after I left. Only goes to prove that a little knowledge can be a nuisance.
In first place John Hill
“While you are here, will you have a look at… ” is a phrase that strikes dread into every large animal veterinary surgeon. You are on a farm and just completed the job that was rung in and you are preparing to leave. You may have a busy schedule of further calls. The farmer then comes out with the phrase and your heart sinks because you have no idea what is coming. It could be something simple or a job that will require time and effort and reputation dependent. You are suddenly on the spot. James Herriot famously devoted a chapter in one of his books to this very problem. I was manning a stand at the London Vet Show in November 2017. LVS was very busy with 6,000 vets milling around the extensive trade exhibition. A vet approached and we immediately immersed ourselves in “vet talk”. I asked him what sort of vet practice was he in. He said he had had four practices around York, mainly small animal but that his main interest was being a Zoo vet at Flamingo Land in York. I thought this was brilliant as I always had an interest in wildlife from an early age. I decided to relate one of my wildlife experiences. The one I picked went right back to my student days in 1974. I was seeing practice (re-named EMS) with my local practice in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. The vet, Reid Marshall, was very much in the James Herriot mould, a highly experienced large animal vet from whom I learned a huge amount about veterinary work. One day we received a call to see an elephant. This unusual call come from a small private zoo owned and run by a Church organisation at a place called Magilligan. The zoo was part of a market garden complex run as a source of employment for unemployed men from Londonderry. This was in the early part of the Troubles and the market garden was seen as a distraction from the turmoil. The complex manager met us at the zoo entrance. He took us to see the elephant which he thought was losing some condition, but otherwise looked healthy. Reid gave advice on feeding and increasing the amount of vegetables fed. The elephant was very friendly and engaging. We were just about to leave when the manager came out with THE phrase “Oh, while you are here would you have a look at…… the polar bears. ” Reid said “Polar bears, you have polar bears?” “Yes.” He said “We have two, brother and sister.” We went round a corner and sure enough, there were two half grown polar bears in a steel cage. The steel cage was rather small and the only water bath was a large cattle trough in one corner. The steel cage was suitable containment for these animals though it was situated within what was the original enclosure constructed of posts and chicken wire. The manager explained that he had bought them as tiny balls of fur for a great deal of money and they had been a star attraction in the zoo. He reckoned that he had made his money’s worth out of them and his concern was the security risk of two dangerous animals. He asked Reid if he thought it would be alright to call in the police to shoot them at the end of the season. Before Reid could answer, I interjected saying “You can’t do that, polar bears are an endangered species, and it would be criminal to shoot them. You will have to find another way.” The manager was rather taken aback by this angry response from the “student”. When I returned home, I looked out some wildlife magazines showing the plight of polar bears and took them to him for information. I returned to college shortly afterwards to begin my final year. Some weeks later, my mother rang me to say that the Magilligan zoo had been closed down by the USPCA as they had concerns over the conditions some of the animals were living in. My mother said that the polar bears had moved to a zoo in Germany. I was very happy that the bears had been found a new home. At the London Vet Show, the vet I was chatting to said “That would be Marcus and Mandy.” “Sorry, I don’t understand” I said. “The two bears were called Marcus and Mandy.” he said. “How would you know that, they went to a zoo in Germany?” I asked. “Yes” the vet said “They went to Germany for a while and then came to Flamingo Land and I looked after them for years until they died. You know, I had been told that they had come out of Northern Ireland and I had not believed it until you confirmed it, just now, after forty two years.” Marcus had in fact died from old age and heart failure. His kidney were gone, and it was a swift demise. Mandy lived on happily for a few more years, until she succumbed to cancer, and that was the end of a pair of rescue bears at Flamingo Land. I have made enquiries about whereabouts of the elephant. The USPCA were unable to help as all their records from that era were destroyed. The sad part of the saga is that the mother polar bear was probably shot so as the cubs could be taken and sold on. This was an astonishing experience. I had often related the story of being in country practice in Northern Ireland and called to see an elephant and then polar bears and suddenly it came full circle over 40 years later in an event with 6000 vets. I happened to meet the right vet and told the right story to him.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL ENTRANTS!
Here are a few more fabulous entries from the recent Grand NIVA Virtual Village Fete! Judging is underway . . . the suspense is almost too much 🙂
The entries are in! The judges have retired to deliberate so now we can give you a glimpse at just some of the fantastic entries to the Inaugural Grand NIVA Virtual Village Fete. What a talented bunch you are 🙂 I apologise if your entry hasn’t been uploaded – more will be shared next week but there are too many to post them all.
It may not surprise you but it is nevertheless with sadness that the AVSPNI Council have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Autumn Conference. This was scheduled to take place at the beginning of October at the Roe Park Resort, Limavady. Plans for a humdinger of a conference in both Spring and Autumn 2021 are already well underway and AVSPNI is also pulling together a programme of 12+ excellent webinars to see members through to the end of the year. These will all be free of charge for AVSPNI members.
We still hope that the Joint Autumn meeting held with NIVA can be delivered as a face to face event but of course, we have a Plan B up our sleeve for that too.
Amongst all the other adjustments that you have had to make this year, CPD may have slipped down your priority list! If you want to top up your CPD record before Christmas, keep an eye on the VetNI Events page for details of forthcoming webinars which will be added in the next couple of weeks.
NIVA thinks you might be ready for a little light-hearted competition! Take a look at our Inaugural Grand NIVA Virtual Village Fete and decide which classes you would like to enter . . . then get creative and have FUN!
The closing date for entries is 21st June and full details of all classes can be found HERE
To see NIVA President Susan and Holly the donkey opening the fete, click HERE!
(CAFRE) is delighted to announce their approval as a VetSkill Centre for the delivery of Veterinary Nursing Training in Northern Ireland. VetSkill is a CCEA approved Awarding Organisation that provides specialised training, primarily to the Veterinary Industry. Click here to find out more….
Red Tractor is preparing to roll-out live streamed farm audits to enable new applicants to be assessed and current members to retain their status throughout the coronavirus pandemic. For full info from Red Tractor please open the link below:
For more information on Red Tractor’s advice for members during the Covid-19 pandemic, please go to https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/covid-19-hub