Top US specialist flies in to update vets on latest animal life-saving skills

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A GLOBAL specialist in the field of emergency animal medicine jetted in from the United States to brief veterinary staff from a major independent group on the latest life-saving techniques for dogs and cats.

Dr Bill Saxon, who is a world-class authority on acute medicine for small animals and once ran his own animal intensive care unit, gave a lecture on the most up to date  resuscitation procedures to 52 veterinary surgeons and nurses from the Willows Veterinary Group at its Ashbrook Equine Centre in Allostock, near Knutsford.

Professionals in his audience represented Willows surgeries from across Cheshire, Staffordshire and the Wirral.

The following day Dr Saxon was given a guided tour of the group’s state of the art veterinary hospital, Willows Veterinary Hospital, in Hartford, near Northwich, meeting members of the team who provide 24-hour care for sick animals.

Dr Saxon said: “This was my first professional visit to the UK and I was delighted to accept the invitation to speak to the vets and nurses from the Willows Veterinary Group.

“In my lecture I reviewed the current recommendations for performing cardiac pulmonary resuscitation – or CPR – on cats and dogs.

“Performing CPR on these animals is nothing new but there are new guidelines on how to do it and that’s what I was sharing in my talk.

“Basically, the procedure is performed on cats and dogs in precisely the same way as it is on humans with only a few slight modifications.

“You have to make sure they have a way to breath, which might mean passing in a tube to help them do this.

“The actual resuscitation is done in exactly the same way as it is on humans, using the palm of the hand and fingers to gently compress the chest.

“In my lecture I then followed up this information by working through how to take care of a dog hit by a car.

“Of course, the vets and nurses in the audience already know how to perform CPR but, hopefully, the new information I shared with them will help them to manage their patients in an even better way.”

Dr Saxon received his veterinary degree from Iowa State Veterinary College in 1986.

He completed his internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City followed by internal medicine and emergency medicine residencies there and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Dr Saxon practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the mid-2000s founded and ran an emergency/intensive care unit for small animals at a speciality referral practice in Washington DC.

He is the author of numerous publications and veterinary textbook chapters and co-wrote The Manual of Small Animal Emergency Medicine and Critical Care (Wiley-Blackwell).

Today he divides his time between being a senior internal medicine consultant and field medical specialist providing educational services for IDEXX, a global corporation which develops and supplies products and services to the veterinary sector.

It was through IDEXX, which supplies blood testing machines for many of the Willows surgeries, that the group managed to score the coup of having Dr Saxon as a guest lecturer.

Dr Saxon added: “This was my fourth trip to the UK but the first time I’ve been here working on behalf of IDEXX.

“I’ve really enjoyed my visit and meeting the team from the Willows Veterinary Group.

“The countryside is beautiful and the people I’ve met have been really generous and helpful.”

Willows Veterinary Group offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise through 24 small animal practices, a referral veterinary hospital, two equine centres and a five-office farm practice which are located across Cheshire and into the Wirral and Staffordshire. Willows is accredited by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

A network of Willows surgeries across the group work to deal with animal emergencies whatever the time of day or night.

They are supported by a high-tech, state-of-the-art small animal hospital at the heart of the group which offers round the clock nursing care for the sickest Willows clients.

Life-saving treatment such as emergency blood transfusions, seizure monitoring and therapy, and critical conditions such a collapsed lung can all be in a night’s work for the dedicated team which includes specialists in soft tissue surgery, orthopaedics and anaesthesia.

Small Animal Divisional Partner at Willows Veterinary Group, Dr Tom McGowan, who is head vet at the Acorn Veterinary Surgery in West Kirby on the Wirral, sat in on the lecture.

A fellow countryman of Dr Saxon who is originally from Arkansas in the US, he said: “This was an extremely important visit for us as Dr Saxon is the leader in his field of critical care for small animals.

“At our practices when we see critical care cases it is usually at night and animals are in a bad state and our vets have to make difficult decisions under pressure.

“That’s why the information he gave us about the latest CPR techniques are going to be very useful.

“He stressed that veterinary medicine really does change and if you don’t keep up with the clinical training you will pretty soon find yourself behind the times.

“Dr Saxon is a good speaker and covered basic and advanced resuscitation techniques.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for the WVG veterinary teams to refresh and build on their skills.”

He added: “Having someone of Dr Saxon’s eminence to talk to us has been fantastic and we were honoured to have him visit us.

“We’re also grateful to IDEXX for arranging the visit to help with our continuing education programme which is very much part of the ethos at Willows Veterinary Group.”

For more information about Willows Veterinary Group go to

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