Having recently completed the certificate in equine internal medicine, Alex Wood attended BEVA's gastroscopy CPD training day held at B&W Equine because she wanted to improve her practical skills. This is what she thought of it.
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The course is aimed at equine practitioners who either already own a gastroscope and wish to improve their gastroscopy skills, or those who are planning to get a gastroscope for their practice in the near future. The course cost £400 for BEVA members and £475 for non-BEVA members.
The course was structured around small group practical sessions in the morning and afternoon, with a short lecture session over lunch. Delegates were divided into three groups of four people. Each group was then paired with a speaker and we were presented with our first demonstration horse.
The speakers began by discussing patient preparation and explaining their basic gastroscopy technique. Everyone took it in turns to ‘drive’ the scope while another delegate acted as the ‘passer’. Everyone was given ample time to drive the scope so there was none of the time pressure to get the examination finished that is sometimes experienced in practice.
Each delegate in my group managed to navigate down to the pylorus, and most managed to pass into the duodenum. As each delegate drove the scope the same technique of passing round the stomach was repeated, which was useful to watch; it helped me to feel more familiar with the path of the gastroscope in the stomach.
After the morning's practical sessions, a buffet lunch was provided during which there was a short presentation from the event's sponsors, Merial, and lectures from Richard Hepburn and European specialist in equine internal medicine, Tim Brazil, about the aetiology and treatment of gastric ulcers.
Practice in theory
The lectures were succinct as the emphasis of the day was very much on practical teaching, but comprehensive notes were provided in the delegate pack to take home. After lunch the groups switched to work with a different speaker, which was useful as it provided an opportunity to see a slightly different approach to gastroscopy.
Different techniques for reaching the pylorus were demonstrated, and indications for gastric biopsy and duodenal biopsy were discussed. There were a variety of different types of horses used for the course and we saw a selection of both squamous and glandular ulcers. This meant that there was opportunity for discussion about grading of ulcers, clinical significance and treatment options.
I thought the course was very good value as the small groups and generous practical sessions meant that every candidate got real hands-on experience. I will certainly use what I learned in practice as I feel much more confident about performing gastroscopies, and feel that I am now armed with a few more techniques for dealing with more tricky cases.