Your dog days are over: new gift helps treat pets at UQ

12 May 2017

A donation of state-of-the-art equipment to UQ VETS Small Animal Hospital has empowered the University’s staff and students, while also improving the outcomes of the animals they treat. 

A dog named Sparkie was the first patient to benefit from a generous donation by alumna Hilary Huey (Diploma in Physical Education ’70) that funded the purchase of diagnostic equipment.

Dr Donna Spowart from UQ VETS said the equipment used to treat Sparkie had also provided many additional benefits for students, and pets treated at UQ.

“The digital otoscope allowed us to get good visualisation of what was going on in the ear canal so that we could develop an appropriate treatment plan. Using the equipment meant we could share these pictures with the owner to explain the pet’s condition,” said Dr Spowart.

“It also allowed our students to practice visualising ear structures which is something that is otherwise difficult to teach.”

Students can watch the clinician position the scope, while also viewing the procedure on the big screen. This content can then be uploaded to online teaching platforms, which allows students to study the material. 

From a teaching and learning perspective, this equipment achieves many things with the ability to teach multiple students at the same time without them needing to be physically present.

Ms Huey said she was pleased the equipment had an immediate impact on the learning outcomes of students and the treatment outcomes of the animals cared for by UQ VETS Small Animal Hospital.

“This donation has achieved several benefits; UQ has the advantage of having the latest equipment available and it allows for a more productive teaching and learning experience by both staff and students,” she said.

“Having been trained to use such an item, veterinary students might also be inclined to buy it when setting up their own practice.”

The equipment purchased through Ms Huey’s generosity has made it possible to not only diagnose the condition of Sparkie, but will have wider implications for other animals treated at UQ VETS Small Animal Hospital.

“Most importantly, equipment of the highest standard should allow for more effective treatment and management of the animal’s condition, thus facilitating the maximum chance of the creature’s recovery. To me, this is a win – win situation,” said Ms Huey.

The Webb-Jenkins Veterinary Science Endowment Fund, established with a gift from Hilary Huey, provides funds for the Webb-Jenkins Veterinary Travel Scholarships which supports students who undertake practical placements in rural areas, and also small items of equipment.

The School of Veterinary Science at UQ takes a holistic approach that focuses on a range of issues from the health needs of pets, to biosecurity, animal welfare and wildlife emergency care. To learn more about how you too can support their work visit 

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