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Large animal veterinary technician sessions

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Monday 6 April

The perinatal period (0-48h) is the most hazardous in the life of all eutherians due to the dystocia-perinatal mortality dyad. If a calf survives the first 5 minutes of its life (Survive to 5) it has a very good chance of surviving long-term. Critical to managing this milestone is rapid triage, appropriate resuscitation, and aftercare, as necessary. This paper presents a review of current best practice in bovine perinatal care internationally.

Managing failure of passive transfer is very challenging to improve in systems where calves are left with their dam for 24 hours or more. In New Zealand, where 70% of farms pick up calves only once daily, it is likely that the biggest contributor to whether they have FPT or not is dependent on what has happened out in the paddock. This study aimed to look at what is happening out in the calving paddocks on New Zealand dairy farms and whether the success or failure of feeding from the dam is influenced by management factors that we can alter. This presentation summarises the results from half way through the study on four farms investigated in 2019.

Public trust that farmers will produce their food humanely is important. When people find out that their expectations are not being met, they react in various ways. Social media is an easy, no cost, way to react and can result in much bigger implications for farmers than the simple decision not to eat a product. Veterinary practices can help maintain social licence to farm by helping farmers with their health, biosecurity and welfare plans.

Increasing herd size has been associated with a number of potential risks to animal welfare, but also with a number of practices that can mitigate those risks. This presentation will focus on what veterinarians need to keep in mind when advising clients of large herds, to ensure good animal welfare.

Parasites are important pathogens infecting humans and animals worldwide. They reduce the food conversion efficiency of their livestock hosts, either by evoking immune responses, or directly, resulting in production loss through reduced weight gains and deaths. Effective control strategies are therefore a global priority. This presentation will describe some of the conventional and next generation parasitology methods that we use to inform farm management, and in our empirical research.

Tuesday 7 April

We know it’s important but how do we create an engaged workplace. No one ever joined a company disengaged, but over time that passion and drive erodes into feelings of disenchantment and apathy. What went wrong? In this workshop we will look at ways to create an engaged workplace and keep it that way. By building an engaging culture you will improve staff retention, increase sales and enhance productivity and all that goes straight to the bottom line. This highly interactive session will look at the five key drivers of engagement and strategies to deal with disengagement and develop a high performing team.

Champion teams comprise people who utilise a high degree of trust to tackle issues in such a way that leaves every team member committed and accountable towards achieving the collective result – even if as individuals, they don’t agree every time on the direction the team is taking. You’ll leave the workshop understanding how to build a culture of high performance in any team. This does not mean that every team has what it takes to be high performing - but you’ll know what you need to address that.

Individual or personal accountability is like the lubricant in a high performing engine. Without it, even the best laid plans will fall at the feet of team members who can’t or won’t take responsibility for their contribution to the collective result. This leads to frustration in the team and underperformance – often in spite of a perfectly well thought through practice strategy. The most junior team member who says ‘yes’ to everything is as guilty as the procrastinating practice owner when it comes to poor personal accountability. You’ll leave this workshop understanding what personal accountability looks like, what it doesn’t look like (and how to recognise this early) and how to develop it as a part of your team’s culture.

This presentation will provide a background to the more recent Australian experience of managing mycoplasma infections in dairy cattle. In contrast to New Zealand Australia has not attempted to eradicate the disease. In this presentation the disease management and prevention strategies will be discussed along with reflection on the outcome for infected herds.

National eradication schemes often involve culling of animals or even herds. The impact of this on disease transmission and management is often closely monitored and modelled, but the impact on affected farmers, their families and the broader rural communities is rarely considered. This study considered the people aspect of disease eradication.

Professions involving animals attract people with diverse backgrounds and skills. Work is often under intense conditions with animal mortality and euthanasia a reality. A natural consequence is that experienced professionals could encounter burnout or compassion fatigue. Multidisciplinary techniques can be used to enhance resilience for animal care professionals or practitioners.