Teeth and Tegus at the Rio Plata

In front of me, on a blue table top, I am looking at a syringe, three vials of local anaesthetic and the skull of a dog……

Sucking gently through a silver bombilla on his maté, Juan Jose Krauss, the man who introduced veterinary dentistry to Argentina and in fact to many other countries in Latin America as well, is giving me a private lesson on facial nerve blocks.

The final stop of my journey through South America had brought me to Buenos Aires, where I had to grasp the opportunity to pay the great man a visit at his small and intimate clinic which he shares with Guille Manigot – another big name in Latin American veterinary medicine – who sees dermatology referral cases in the room next door. Both Guille and Juan Jose have shared their knowledge with countless veterinary students and colleagues for decades and they have contributed to global treatment guidelines which have transformed the way companion animal care is provided today around the world.

The day had started with me getting lost on my morning run through the large nature reserve which is separating the centre of Argentina’s capital and the Rio Plata. Not only was the park more sizeable than I thought, I was also distracted by several encounters with a creature that I had seen a few times in my own practice – the Argentinian Tegu.

These more than half a meter long lizzards live happily in their burrows in close proximity to the busy town centre and they considered me a real nuisance disrupting their sun bathing sessions which are usually held in the middle of the jungle path.

The subtropical park, the wildlife, the huge city just a stone throw away and this all near a busy shipping lane – it all reminded me of the nature reserve near the Marina Sands Complex in Singapore where the Rio Plata was replaced by the Strait of Malacca.

Just in time and with burning muscles I had arrived back at my hotel near the Peace Palace which very fittingly was located next to the National Museum of Arms.

Juan Jose had very kindly collected me from there and following a brief sight seeing journey through the center of Buenos Aires, we had ended up in his clinic, discussing injection techniques and the benefits of different local anaesthetics while my host was enjoying his herbal infusion.

In commercial terms veterinary medicine in Argentinia continues to be very poorly funded with – according to Juan Jose – a consultation at the local vet costing not more that 10 $ even in the capital.

Both Juan Jose and Guille have managed though to find their niche, living reasonably comfortable just from their knowledge and their person skills with a decent work – life balance, without the need for a lot of staff or equipment, leaving in the surgery fridge enough space for a few bottles of excellent Argentinian Cava to be able to celebrate from time to time a treatment success in style.

With a lot of thought given these days to complex ideas on how to reduce stress and anxiety levels in a progressively corporate working environment, we might overlook how with much simpler means this can be achieved as well.

It was easy to see that the little clinic of my friends in Buenos Aires is a business with a soul where local pets will find excellent treatment and care, but I wondered if anyone in this beautiful city would be able to carry on with Guille and Juan Jose’s work in the same way.

When saying goodbye I considered myself again lucky for having had a further opportunity to visit a magical veterinary location at the other end of the world……

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. “With a lot of thought given these days to complex ideas on how to reduce stress and anxiety levels in a progressively corporate working environment, we might overlook how with much simpler means this can be achieved as well” is a point well worth pondering. Thank you for pointing that out.


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