Boarding starts in an hour, so I just got a bit of time left in beautiful Japan. I’m in the ANA-lounge (specially lounge for ANNA-doctors :-)) now, writing this last blog of my Nobivac Global Vet Exchange Program. It’s been a marvelous experience! In the almost twenty years that I’m a veterinarian now, this absolute is one of the most remarkable weeks in my professional career. So first of all I’d like to thank the MSD/Merck company for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Especially I would like give my greatest regards to Karin Jager, Jolanda Janssen, Marjan van Kampen, Marco labordus, Joep Bolwerk, Michono Umemura, mr. Kondo for all their effort, trust and time.
Besides that I can’t thank Dr. Fujii and all his team members enough for the inspiring and motivating time I had while staying in their animal hospital. So thank you Dr. Koichi Fujii, Dr. Ayoko Usami, Dr. Madoka Mikuni, Dr. Kousuke Izawa, Dr. Ryuta Nakabayashi, Ami Suetsugu, Akie Shishido, Ayaka Sakai and Arisa Fuse. I think you’re great!
So what about these last days? Yesterday morning I spend on the clinic taking care of the hospitalized animals and doing consultations. And guess what…the “dead” cat of Thursday is doing better than ever. Full of life and looking for attention. His name is Lion and I think Madoka (and the rest of the staff) fought like one for him! And the owners were off course very happy with this remarkable result. It’s all about this bond between animals and humans. “Making people happy, by making animals better”; that’s where, in my personal opinion, our beautiful profession is all about.
After this last morning on the clinic we had lunch together and after that it was time for the “let’s make picture” moment. We made a few and with pain in my heart I said goodbye to all and assured them they’re always welcome at our clinic in Nijmegen. Such nice collegues!
What are my main observations in the last week. My number one remark would be that Dr. Fujii’s hospital, his way of doing things, his services and his bonds with clients and staff are for 80% the same as ours in the Netherlands. They have the same passion, ambition, issues and topics. There are much more similarities then that there are differences. It’s the ‘Pareto-princip’ of 80-20.
My awnser to the starting question of this exchange program “Are vets completely different around the world?” would be: no!
Dough there are differences, in my opinion they’re al ‘minor’ ones. I name a few:
- The size of the dogs. In Japan mainly toy-breeds. The biggest dog I saw was 15 kg, a Goldendoodle. Koichi will be surprised seeing our European giants!
- Japanese people will ‘decorate’ their pet with all kind of things, like jewelry, mini-sweaters or even dye the hairs. Odd to see for a Dutchman, but I think it’s a sign that they care.
- Japanese vets are quite technology-driven. Lots of veterinary hardware, ECG’s, CT’s, scopes, ultrasound, “microwave”, analyzers and so on…. Bloodtesting during general health checks is very common, and I think we can learn from that.
- Japanse vets treat there patients with more patience, serenity, quietness and time. Aldough it was sometimes very busy in the clinic it never become hectic or chaotic. I think we can learn from that!
- In the area of medication there are remarkable differences in the use of antibiotics, steroids, foodsupplements and vaccines. Japan has no “tailor-made” antibiotic and vaccine approach, but Koichi was very eager to learn more about it. We talk quite a lot about this subject.
- All pets live in house and only go out to walk. Always on the leach, while traffic is to dangerous. Cats will be inside the home all of the time. So I the practice hardly any traffic-accident emergencies.
- The different approach to euthanasia. In the East it’s only to be done if you’ve run out of all (and I mean all) options. Owners will not be present in the clinic when their pet is put down to sleep. In the whole week I did not see one case of euthanasia, all the animals which deceased during my stay, died naturally.
So these are my main observations, but I’ve got 12 hours in the plane back home to reflect a bit more. I’m going to post this blog now and leave this beautiful and intriguing country with its nice people.
I’m also happy to go home again to see my wife Astrid, daughter Willemijn and son Pepijn. And not to forget my “furry daughter” Bente, our Labrador. I’ve missed them all this last week.
I’m gonna catch my plane now……east, west, home’s the best!