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Member Spotlight

Published: 4/2/2018

Meet the Australian Small Animal Veterinarians (ASAV). ASAV is the largest special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and is for veterinarians with a focus on small animals. Its Executive Officer Linda Skauge tells us more.

How many members do you have and what is your mission?

ASAV has around 2,000 active members and provides leadership and direction to promote the advancement of small animal veterinary clinical skills and knowledge to our members.  As part of the AVA, our vision is to be a health and welfare leader of Australia’s animal industries and to contribute to the achievement of the AVA’s strategic priorities. In addition, we support our members by:
  • Promoting the AVA’s ‘career partner’ concept which offers mentoring support to our members, colleagues and the wider profession in order to promote their personal wellbeing and that of their families and employees.
  • Engaging in advocacy and policy development on issues affecting small animal veterinarians and the animal industries we interact with.
  • Encouraging our members to take responsibility for their own professional development and advance in the wider community, a leadership role for themselves, on the concepts of ‘One Health’ and ‘One Welfare’.
  • Delivering high quality continuing education in a variety of formats.

What are the key issues for companion animal veterinarians in Australia at the moment?  How do you help your members to address them?

We are focusing on three priority areas for 2018. They are:
  • The cost of veterinary care.
  • Renting with pets.
  • The importance of regular health visits.
We are creating media campaigns that enable consumers to understand the issues, to lobby government jurisdictions to instigate change to laws to allow pets in rental properties, and to provide standards of care for our members concerning regular health checks for animals.

Debbie Osborne, ASAV representative to WSAVA

Are you running any particular initiatives or campaigns at the moment?

Together with the AVA, we are actively involved in the ‘Love is Blind’ campaign in partnership with the RSPCA. We’re raising public awareness about the animal welfare problems caused by exaggerated physical features such as brachycephaly, short limbs and excessive skin wrinkling. We are calling for everyone including vets, breeders and owners to work together to address these issues.

Why did you join the WSAVA and how does membership help your members?

We joined the WSAVA in 1979 and were its 17th member.  One of our core values is ‘community’ and, as such, ASAV is proud to be part of the global small animal veterinary community that is the WSAVA. Our membership supports WSAVA projects that lift standards of veterinary care for companion animals around the world, such as:
  • Providing subsidised continuing education to associations with a developing small animal veterinary profession (which we assist directly through our sponsorship of CE in Vietnam).
  • Developing guidelines for standards of care including dentistry, vaccination and pain management, to name a few.
  • Providing input on important global issues such as access to medications (eg the recent lobbying around the proposed rescheduling of ketamine).
Our members benefit from WSAVA membership directly through gaining access to member registration rates for the annual WSAVA Congress, access to recordings of presentations from previous Congresses and complimentary or discounted access to resources such as Clinician’s Brief, Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP) and Vetstream. While these tangible benefits are important and valued, it is the intangible benefit of belonging to our global association, of being part of something bigger than ourselves, which is most important.