Canterbrooke visits the Faculty of Veterinary Science
For the past week we have enjoyed hosting a Danish veterinary student, Mary. Mary has been working in the greater Kruger region on a project about African cattle sickness and came down to Pretoria to tour Onderstepoort. We decided to go along for the ride.
The university was well prepared for our visit, we had friendly knowledgeable staff taking us on a tour through the faculty buildings as well as the animal hospital. We started off touring the anatomy halls and reference museum. OP is set up really well in this regards, they have a room full of skeletal samples available to students as a reference at any time. Our Dane was really impressed with this as I found that such facilities are not commonly available in European universities. Next on list were the production pens. We got to meet the OBP horses and some pigs and sheep. They also have a Beagle breeding program. These animals belong to the university and are taken care of by the veterinary students as part of their studies.
Next up was the animal hospital. The hospital is split into 3 sections, large animals which have the Equine, Bovine and Ovine patients. Small animals, which are all the cats and dogs and an exotic section, housing birds and reptiles, or any other little creatures that might need medical attention. They showed us the patients, we even saw a bull with a broken leg that had been set in plaster of paris. We had a look at some of the operating theatres and the radiology room. A dog just came out of surgery and we took a quick peek into ICU and said hi to the really sick dogs that were in need of some tlc. They have a full team of staff working in ICU at all times and their work is quick and professional and they take good care of the patients.
After the hospital we took a stroll through the grounds. They have a toxic garden with more than 40 plants that all students have to know and be able to identify. Students are taught to recognise all symptoms when animals come into contact with these plants and what the appropriate treatment is. The plants are tended by the toxicology students on rotation and they are constantly adding more to the garden as new research information comes to hand.
We ended an interesting afternoon with a walk through the faculty buildings and rehabilitation centre with a lecture on a bit of the rich history surrounding the faculty of Onderstepoort.