The FECAVA LABOKLIN Travel Scholarship in Romania

Here is Alasdair's Report: Alex and I arrived on Sunday 15th May. We were met at the airport by Dr Gatia, owner of the Ortovet Clinic, and Dr Lihet. Dr Gatia took the time to show us some of the sights on the way into town. We were impressed by the wide open boulevards leading into town, lined by some magnificent buildings. In the evening Alex and I explored the old city. On Monday we were shown round Ortovet and examined several long term in patients (clinic pets) and discussed their treatment. Alex demonstrated neurological examination. In the afternoon, Dr Dumitrescu took us on a tour of the Romanian Parliament palace, second largest governmental building in the world. The state rooms are magnificently constructed in marble. On Tuesday, Alasdair attended the Bucharest Veterinary College annual meeting (theme of Thoracic Surgery, keynote speaker Prof Fossum). Alex did some exploring then delivered a workshop in echocardiography. Alasdair visited a local clinic specialising in endoscopy in the evening and discussed mutual experiences with the owner. The owner found his copy of a book Alasdair has edited, Clinical Manual of Endosurgery, and was delighted to have it signed! The next day was the CPD organised by Ortovet for local veterinarians, hosted by the SyneoVet lab. Around eighty delegates attended, listening to three lectures on ENT surgery by Alasdair and two on pathology by speakers from the lab, together with a tour of the facilities. The feedback indicated that the delegates enjoyed the day, commenting on the useful practical approaches and finding out about laryngeal paralysis in particular. In the evening, Alex provided more tuition on echocardiography and Alasdair took a well earned rest! Sadly, Alex had to leave the next day, after a visit to the National History Museum, where a replica of Emperor Trajan's monumental column was a highlight, together with the national treasures (gold artefacts from 3000BC to the last century). Alex returned home on the next day, but Alasdair was kindly given further cultural visits over the next two days by Dr Dumitriscu, including the Romanian Village Museum, the Royal Palace at Peles and a magnificent fortified church at Prejmer. There was also time for a brief tour of the Bucharest University Veterinary Clinic, where Dr Vitalaru gave Alasdair an introduction to his successful haemodialysis clinic. We found the visit to Bucharest to be very successful. Our hosts at Ortovet made us very welcome and we discussed everything from clinical work, through recent European history and politics to Brexit! We were very impressed by the standard of clinical facilities and the ambitions of everyone we met, and compared the structure of small animal practice in our two countries at length. In Bucharest, for example, there are many small clinics with small staff numbers and limited culture of referral, perhaps reminiscent of UK small animal practice thirty years ago, but with access to advanced diagnostic techniques including CT, MRI and video endoscopy. Romanian is a fascinating country, washed by the tides of European history over three millennia. The people are rightly proud of their long heritage and magnificent buildings, and keen to re-establish themselves as a successful country at the heart of Europe after some difficult times.