Doing it digitally

With COVID 19 keeping Europe still in its grip at the beginning of 2021, the question has to be asked, in how far it is possible to pursue the idea of working internationally as a veterinary surgeon ?

Just travelling from one country to another has turned from being difficult to be nearly impossible. In addition to this, most clinics are once again providing just very limited services and/or are trying to keep their teams as small and as stable as possible, avoiding to introduce any additional members of staff.

So what is the solution ?…….

Try something new !

With so many parts of our life having gone digital, this has been no difference with the veterinary profession. Starting last spring when the occasional telephone or video consultation was an emergency solution to continue to communicate with clients, a lot of pet owners found this service actually very helpful. Admittedly these consultations can not and will never replace a physical examination of a patient or the treatment at a veterinary clinic, but there is a place for this service to assess cases, to give advice and to check on the progress of a patient once treatment has started or after a surgical procedure.

Already last summer I had got in touch with a company that was already providing online consultation in Scandinavia and which had just started to branch out to the UK. When I spoke to them, it even turned out that Germany was next on their list. This was very good to know and while I was preparing myself to treat dogs and cats in Sweden, we agreed to stay in touch…..

Sure enough – once back in the UK, I had an e-mail in my inbox and a few weeks later I became part of the newly formed German team.

What does this now mean ?….

Well, since the beginning of December I am visiting – online – pet owners (actually nearly exclusively dog owners) all over Germany in their kitchens and living rooms to take a closer look at their four legged family members. Although this doesn’t replace the clinical work, it is an interesting exercise for me, having to deal with people from completely different regions of Germany and Austria, with them speaking in various different accents and looking at patients I have never seen before. With every new consultation you see a different face and you have to deal with a range of different problems and expectations.

An advantage is, that – as part of a team – I can decide when and how many hours I want to work. In addition to this, is this probably the most COVID safe activity I could have asked for, especially as a vet….

Sure enough, this will not be the end of my clinical work, but at the time of writing this, it is giving me the possibility to use my clinical experience in a new field of veterinary medicine and at the same time I can pursue a lot of other (mostly online) projects, when I am not outside enjoying cross country skiing or hiking in the nearby German Alps (unfortunately excluding Austria….).

May be you might like to join me on one of these trips in one of the next episodes of the Blue Vet Diaries?……….

Published by The Blue Vet

I am a veterinary surgeon with a German and Norwegian educational background. I have been the founder and for over 20 years I have been the senior veterinarian at the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, England. When starting this blog I was also the President of FECAVA, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. In the summer of 2019 I left my clinic to work as an international locum and clinical advisor. I am interested in all aspects of clinical companion animal medicine, in endurance sports and in traveling and meeting people with and without their pets and especially in sharing my knowledge with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the World.

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1 Comment

  1. Covid has certainly changed everything. Wishing you success as you navigate these new waters of veterinary care. I think Covid will be with us for a long while yet, and this might be a good option to screen which animals actually need to go into the clinic for further evaluation. Sometimes the owners just need the vet to look at something, even if it is on camera, and have a dialog with them without the vet being double, triple and sometimes quadruple booked, and rushed to get to the next case under current safety protocols.


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