Postcard from Chile
Dr. Allison Stewart, associate professor in equine internal medicine, arrived in Valdivia, Chile, in March for a three-week faculty exchange program at the Clinica Veterinario at Austral University. Her host is Bruno Cavalho, a Brazilian veterinian who is Austral’s equine surgeon.
“Bruno spent two months with us in the clinic at Auburn last summer, and our dean needed someone to spend two weeks visiting the vet school in Chile and I, of course, was happy to oblige,” said Dr. Stewart. Below is an excerpt from her e-mail:
The level of medicine practiced here has been impressive. Bruno is a very thorough clinician and has great skill with tendon and joint ultrasound. He collects his own bone marrow and isolates stem cells for transplanting into injured tendons and ligaments. They also have radiology and CT facilities. I have also been impressed in the way that Bruno tries to save his clients’ money. The clinic sees a large number of wounds and the owners of the urban draft horses have very little money. The interns wash and resterilize the bandage material and the dollars are carefully utilized to provide the best for the horses and their owners. Bruno also obtained a grant to help subsidize the care of these urban draft horses that are so important to the livelihood of their owners…
I have been involved in the medical work-up of several patients and also have been learning a great deal from Bruno about lameness diagnostics. My Spanish is also improving. The Latin foundation of the language makes the anatomic and medical nomenclature very similar to English and I can sometimes get the gist of a regular conversation, but I have a huge way to go! Chilean Spanish also has the reputation as being the most difficult dialect to understand. Several of the interns also speak English, so I am actually doing fine.
When the clinic is quiet I have been giving some lectures and labs to the interns and students. On my last weekend I will be presenting five lectures to be translated into Spanish to local equine practitioners on neonatology and metabolic syndrome…
So far it has been a great experience. There is apparently a trip planned to Dean Tadich’s sheep farm and to go riding in the foothills below the volcanoes. I haven’t actually taken my week vacation as working in the clinic has been so interesting. I am also staying at a gorgeous little two-bedroom cabin on the lake’s edge surrounded by ancient towering conifers. It’s nice to come home and just admire the view, though normally it is after 9:30 p.m. before we get back, but the nights have been clear and in the darkness far from the city I have a wonderful view of the star-filled southern sky.