Orthopedic Surgeons Provide Continuing Education to Veterinarians in Bogotá, Colombia

Drs. Allen and Au participate in the Congress in Canine Orthopedics

By Kristine McComis

During the first week of June, 2009, two orthopedic surgeons from The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital flew to Bogotá, Colombia to participate in the Congress in Canine Orthopedics held at the University de la Salle. Dr. Sergio Aria of Colombia had initially contacted Dr. Matthew Allen, Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, via email to invite him to participate and demonstrate a knee replacement surgery. Since it was the university's first conference in canine orthopedics, organizers wanted some outside professors to share their knowledge about the advancements that are being done in the field in other parts of the world. As they corresponded, it became clear that the Colombians were interested in learning techniques for other procedures, so Dr. Allen invited colleague Dr. Jennifer Au, Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, to accompany him for a week's visit in a country where resources are limited but enthusiasm for learning is great. About 75-100 veterinarians and veterinary students participated in the conference.

Dr. Allen presented lectures on "Total Elbow Replacement" and "Total Knee Replacement" and led wet labs demonstrating total hip replacement and total knee replacement procedures. Their surgery suites didn't have quite the same amenities that we have at Ohio State, but he adjusted to their older instruments and praised the veterinarians for making the best of working in a place with limited resources. "There were limitations with the availability of power tools," he commented. "The conditions are not ideal, but they do a great job with what they've got to workf with."

Dr. Au lectured about two topics: "Difficult Fracture Management" and "Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Osteosyntheses (MIPO)". She also led a wet lab demonstrating MIPO which is a way to repair fractures without exposing the entire bone. This causes less disruption to the blood supply and allows for better healing and less chance of infection. She also held a round table discussion regarding decision making on cranial cruitiate injuries.

Veterinary medicine is not a lucrative career in Colombia, and many veterinarians carry quite a bit of debt from veterinary school. The veterinary program is a 5-year program which commences immediately after high school, and after completion, the students complete a six month internship at the university or in a private practice to earn their certificates. Specialty surgeries are not done very often. A total hip replacement surgery costs a mere $200 there, as opposed to $4,500 here, but that is all they can afford to charge for the procedure, or no owners would be able to have it done. Dr. Allen commended their veterinarians for their drive to work with limited financial rewards and was very impressed with their knowledge and skill. He hopes to continue a relationship with their veterinary program in their future.

"One of the best things out of the trip was the connections we made", he said. "Their graduate students would love to come here and spend some time in our clinics and research labs, and I think it would be great if we could arrange that in the future".

Dr. Au agrees. "It was a wonderful experience to see how they do things there and experience the culture", she said. "It is great for OSU and I hope we continue the interaction".

Dr. Matthew Allen and Jennifer Au

Dr. Matthew Allen and Jennifer Au

Dr. Allen performs Total Elbow and Total Knee Replacement surgery

Dr. Allen performs Total Elbow and Total Knee Replacement surgery

Dr. Au showingPercutaneous Osteosyntheses procedure

Dr. Au showing Percutaneous Osteosyntheses procedure

MIPO lab participants

MIPO lab participants

MIPO lab participants

MIPO lab participants

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About the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State

Founded in 1885, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked fifth in the nation and includes more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students in the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Veterinary Preventive Medicine. The Veterinary Medical Center is one of the largest specialty referral centers in the world, with more than 35,000 farm, equine, and companion animal patients each year. A nationally-recognized ambulatory practice and teaching unit in Marysville, Ohio provides farm animal experience to every veterinary student, and the Food Animal Health Research Program in Wooster, OH focuses on detection, control, and prevention of disease. Located on the only campus in the country with a comprehensive medical center offering seven health sciences colleges, we admit up to 162 veterinary students per class, and offer a new comprehensive graduate program in Veterinary and Comparative Medicine as well as a unique Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health, in partnership with the College of Public Health. http://vet.osu.edu.