Integrity and transparency was at the core of the FORWARD Symposium 2017

On Sunday 5th February 2017, the FORWARD Symposium brought together over 250 delegates and 6 thought-leaders in the veterinary profession for one unique learning event in the agility, working and recreational dog calendar.

Dr Chris Zink and Professor Noel Fitzpatrick presented to a community of veterinary professionals, dog trainers and handlers alike at the symposium held at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey. Other speakers included Metropolitan Police Dog Instructor, PC Ray Haggett; Founder of Vancouver Animal Massage, Nicola Way; Clinical Director of Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology & Soft Tissue, Professor Nick Bacon; and also Fitzpatrick Referrals Rehabilitation Team Leader, Fiona Doubleday who attended with her team of physiotherapists and hydrotherapists.

The speakers covered a range of topics from common sports injuries, the diagnosis and treatment of musculo-skeletal conditions, massage and cancer in dogs to help delegates manage, treat and prevent injuries in agility, working and performance dogs. Dr Chris Zink also shared her key techniques to train your dog ready to compete again following an injury. A significant theme throughout the FORWARD Symposium was integrity and transparency.

Speaking after the event, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick said:

Professor Noel FitzpatrickWhether your canine friend is a working, agility, or service dog or a much-loved family pet, understanding how to take them to and keep them in top condition is vital to their performance, welfare and healthful span of life. Today the Fitzpatrick Referrals’ FORWARD Symposium has returned to help dedicated dog handlers, trainers and families to do just that with the support of world-class speakers, including Dr Chris Zink from the USA. Huge thanks to everyone who has joined us today to help us unite in our collective desire to move the science and compassion of rehabilitation and training conditioning forward.

I can tell you from my own experience that every inch of your body is connected intrinsically and a big theme for today is the holistic consideration of whole body dynamics and not just treating a symptom of injury in isolation. It’s about conditioning and training wisely and trying to prevent injury. Further to this, a significant theme of the day is integrity and transparency. I strongly believe that it is the absolute right of the client to ask difficult questions – including what kind of scanner technology or surgery they are paying money for and especially in this new era of regenerative medicine, what kind of cell- or plasma-based product they are using. It should very much be about evidence, efficacy and ethics. I vehemently believe that we owe it to all of the families that love their dog to spend their money and their time wisely and to be abundantly transparent what, how and when we intervene and importantly to work as a team with regenerative medicine, conventional medicine, surgery and rehabilitation to always do the right thing for our canine partners. They give us so much as companions and friends, it’s only right and proper that we do our absolute best for them.

Dr Chris Zink, Canine Sports Medicine Veterinarian said:

Dr Chris ZinkI was very much looking forward to the FORWARD Symposium because it is veterinary education at its very best. It was an honour to speak to an audience that consisted of involved owners of canine athletes, veterinarians, rehabilitation therapists and people involved in many other aspects of dog care. The breaks and lunch time provided an outstanding opportunity for collaboration between individuals involved in many different aspects of the veterinary health care team. It was a day that empowered people. Big thanks to the dedicated staff at Fitzpatrick Referrals for organising an outstanding event that ran on time and smoothly throughout the day.


Attendee feedback from the FORWARD Symposium 2017:

  • “Feel very privileged to have listened to and learnt from the best today. Absolutely fantastic day.”
  • “Brilliant time at a first-class symposium.”
  • “Great day at FORWARD 17. Thank you to all who took their time to teach us so much.”
  • “Ethics and integrity – it’s a rare thing in this world and so refreshing to hear it repeated.”

Photo gallery

Register your interest for the FORWARD Symposium 2018 at fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk/forward-symposium-2018.

A highlights DVD of the inaugural FORWARD Symposium in 2016 is now available to purchase for £30 inc.VAT and P & P, please email SarahC@fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk to order.

For more information about the FORWARD Symposium, please visit fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk/forward or follow us on Facebook.com/fitzforward.

Fitzpatrick Referrals