VeV in Sri Lanka - September & October 2012

Report by Dr. Geeta Saini
Buderim Veterinary Clinic
Buderim, Queensland
Geeta Saini LinkedIn

Sri Lanka, September 2012

“Vets educating Vets”
, the brainchild of Dr Shane Ryan (SVA, AOVG), saw 3 Australian veterinary practitioners, Drs. Bill Ryan, Peter McCourt and Geeta Saini, travelling to Sri Lanka to give a series of seminars and workshops to small animal veterinarians.

The focus was on practical tips and information accrued in over 30 years of practicing as veterinarians, rather than specialist procedures. Sri Lanka, like many Asian countries, has dedicated, highly skilled vets who are working in environments often lacking in the most basic facilities. Equipment and drugs that we take for granted in the west are often not available. Access to referral for specialist treatment is impossible in most cases.

This is what practice was like in the west when we were new graduates! We often had to make do and think outside the square in order to try and give our patients and clients the best possible treatment. The aim of these VeV seminars was to hopefully give our Sri Lankan colleagues some tools with which they could improve their services with the facilities they already have.

A workshop was held at Pet Vet Clinic in Colombo, which saw Dr Bill Ryan demonstrating how to do external fixateurs using readily available equipment. We all then demonstrated basic cruciate repair techniques, femoral head osteotomies (using chisels purchased from a hardware store) and lateral ear resections. The seminars over the next 2 days focused on cruciate repair and aural resections, corneal ulcerations, dermatology, pyothorax and wound management. We attempted to keep the information practical and useful to a general practitioner.

workshop in Colombo
Bill Ryan at the workshop in Colombo with
some Sri Lankan small animal practitioners

Dr McCourt entertained the audience with some unusual case studies (with photos) from his rural practice in Victoria, Australia. We then travelled to Kandy, where Dr McCourt gave a series of lectures on dairy cattle & performing field caesareans at the beautiful University of Peradeniya.

at the cricket in Kandy
some time to relax - the T20 cricket in Kandy:
Geeta Saini, Jacinta Ryan, Peter & Jill McCourt + friends

We were very impressed with the level of pet care in Sri Lanka. We were made to feel very welcome by all the veterinarians and veterinary students and we hope that they found the lectures useful and informative.

The VeV concept is one which is extremely rewarding for both the lecturers and the attendees and we hope to continue to be involved in the future. And we would like to encourage like-minded vets to think about donating some of their time to assist colleagues in Asia - & have a great time in the process.

Geeta Saini
Report by Dr. Kim Lim
Geelong Creatures' Comfort
Geelong, Victoria
Kim Lim LinkedIn

Sri Lanka, October 2012

Well, it's been two weeks since I landed back in Australia from my whirlwind trip to Sri Lanka.

Back in May, I had presented some lectures on rehabilitation at the Australian Veterinary Association Conference. A colleague of mine based in Singapore, then signed me up to present some rehabilitation lectures to the local Sri Lankan veterinarians on a pro bono basis. I had always wanted to do some charity work but couldn't see how my skills were useful in de-sexing and vaccinating street dogs. It was pointed out to me that the work I did required very little in the way of expensive equipment, I could teach vets how to improve their diagnostic palpation skills and treat their patients with simple, low cost techniques. No MRIs, cat scans or expensive surgeries needed!

Elaine & Kim in Sri Lanka
Elaine Cebuliak & Kim Lim in Colombo

My four days in Sri Lanka were beautiful. My colleague Dr. Elaine Cebuliak and I gave lectures for two days on rehabilitation, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and veterinary dentistry (Elaine's other passion). The vets were very receptive to our ideas and kept asking for more information on calming excitable or nervous dogs and treating  dogs with incontinence. They pointed out to us that the acupuncture points w
elephant acupuncture
e showed them were similar to some of the points used by the mahouts to control their elephants.

They also had a rich culture in using traditional herbs and spices to treat various ailments in a similar vein to Chinese herbal medicine. It was a real pleasure to talk to such a receptive and enthusiastic audience.  The souvenir koala prizes helped with question and answer sessions but we have been told to bring chocolate next time as chocolate is taxed at 300%! Caramello Koalas it is next time!

The Sri Lankan hospitality was excellent. They were always smiling, full of positive energy, friendliness and ready to help with our crazy ideas and requests. Actually, all I wanted was some postcards and stamps. Elaine however, decided we needed to see Kandy even if we had to fly back in a helicopter! Anyway, our wonderful hosts were able to come to our rescue and we managed to see the most beautiful university in the world in Kandy as well as the elephant orphanage and I satisfied my taste for Durian. It took us five hours to travel about 90 km from Colombo to Kandy, we got stuck in a rain storm coming back so it took seven hours to get to the airport but I got there in plenty of time to catch my flight home!

Kim & Elaine

Dr Shane in Singapore is now talking about sending us to Vietnam and beyond....

Kim Lim