Eickemeyer, the way that (vet) festivals should be… – Vet Festival 2017

Eickemeyer Christoph Vet Festival 2017 Genius

On Friday night at Vet Festival 2017 the name shouted out by the DJ was that of an exhibitor, and they were not being paid to do this. For you see when I arrived to Vet Festival on Friday morning I was simply walking in looking for my first lecture when Christoph shouted my name and offered me a beer and pretzel.

I am hardly one to turn down beer even this early in the morning, the fact it is coming from one my favourite companies (Eickemeyer actually sent me a birthday present one year!!!), and is accompanied with a smile is winning combination. I was not sure I believed it at first as I was at a veterinary conference however it is Vet Festival.

You see Vet Festival is something different, you put lectures and an exhibition in tents in a field, yet it seems that people like me forget all about the second word. I know that in Germany the minute festival is mentioned it is Oktoberfest that springs to people’s mind – I actually managed to get an evening at Volksfest whilst there learning some dolphin medicine.

This word however was at the front of Christoph’s mind when he decided that it was going be about the festival. And so Eickemeyer arrived with 300 litres of German beer – HIRSCH HEFE WEISSE which had won gold at the European Beer Star Competition (also I heard rumours it was from Christoph’s home town) – and boxes of pretzels. It wouldn’t be a festival without the proper dress and hats were included as well.

The only thing lacking was anything related to the word vet until Friday morning when the beer started to flow. I’ve never seen such a stand so busy all day before, not only that but the queue gave the amazing opportunity to network and make new friends as well. If you asked anyone about their best exhibitor from Vet Festival 2017 it would be Eickemeyer – the company that didn’t bring a single thing to try to sell you.

Amazingly the concert on Friday eve though shorter was one of my best, it usually takes a lot for me to relax and stop thinking properly. I made many new friends, caught up with old friends, and danced as long as the music played.

I saw Christoph as he was driving away from vet festival on the Friday night, all packed up to go home as there was nothing left for the Saturday. Definitely one of the best marketing ideas I have ever seen in veterinary medicine, from one of the best companies I have met.

The VET Festival for One Medicine – Day 2 Roundup….

Festival busker at vet festival

In his last lecture yesterday Noel said that he had txt God asking for the Sun to be turned on, and this morning it really was. For the first time all week my sunglasses came out of their bag and onto my head. However that is not what I want to write about so back to the VET Festival…

Today is day 2 (and the last day) of VET Festival 2015….

vet festival with Noels ordered sun

One of the first vets I met when I arrived at the Fitzpatrick Referrals center on Tuesday was Clare Rusbridge, one of the senior neurosurgeons at the center. On Tuesday I learnt a ton (I will write about this later!) and Wednesday even more, however today blew me away with an update on Canine Epilepsy. Pushing the limits of technology Clare used interactive txt polling to engage the audience. It was such a big topic that I will write a post just about this later, however the take home messages were that diazepam is not effective (I tested Clare’s reaction here to confirm it!) and that diagnostic tests do not exist for idiopathic epilepsy. Something else I was shocked by is that pharmaceutical companies consider a seizure drug “effective” if it reduces seizures by just 50% – personally this seems a low threshold for me…

Canine epilepsy with Clare Rusbridge

I then headed outside of the main lecture streams (they’re being recorded so I will watch every single one later!!!) however I wanted to learn some more about The Humanimal Trust. This new charity is all about vets and human doctors working together towards One Medicine – sharing expertise for the benefit of all. Even though we are both in the medicine field until today there has been little collaboration between vets and doctors. Actually when you look at the drug development cycle it takes around 13 years to get a new drug to market, and 10% of drugs do not make it on a mouse model… Yet if vets were engaged and dogs were used in the development the time and cost to develop new medicines would decrease greatly! The Humanimal Trust is all about animal and human healthcare moving forward together sharing advances.

The Humanimal Trust for one medicine

It then all became about the spine, such a small amount of time for such a big topic, and my first lecture with Noel. This was different to most with the opening words being about remembering that picking up a scalpel needs to be a carefully considered and thought out decision. It has become tradition for Noel to pick on a member of the audience to help with demonstrating different techniques, and today it was Ian Holsworth…

Noel Fitzpatrick demonstrating on Ians Holsworth

I then had the pleasure of hearing Laurent Findji talk about hepatobiliary surgery – this is surgery of the liver and gallbladder with the associated connecting duct to the intestines. Generally liver surgery is one of the more interesting parts of soft tissue surgery with some highly technical procedures. The liver is split into different lobes all connected to a central area – in terms of surgery the left liver lobe is a lot easier to remove than the right liver lobe. Also it is somewhere you need to be able to get good exposure as the liver sits right against the diaphragm at the end of the ribs.

Laurent Findji talks about hepatobiliary surgery

Something I was really interested in learning about were limb sparing surgery options where instead of amputation a bone (or part of one) may be removed and replaced with an artificial one or a part from elsewhere in the body. This was given by Will Eward from the Duke Cancer Center who is a vet and a human orthopaedic surgeon. During this I learnt loads that will be useful into my future – however the most important points were that when dealing with cancer it really is important that surgery should be planned properly, as correcting future mistakes can be devastating. Once a joint capsule is contaminated then it must be removed preventing artificial joints from being placed. The most dramatic surgery discussed here was a rotationalplasty which is where a knee joint is replaced with the ankle joint – success of this hinges on which way you rotate the foot.

Dr Jane Goodall speaking at VET Festival 2015

The last lecture of the weekend was delivered by someone that is a driver of change in the world for the better, Dr Jane Goodall. The room was packed, and this was the first speaker of the weekend to get a standing ovation from some of the smartest vets, vet nurses and vet students in the world. Dr. Goodall told her fascinating story of how she went from a little girl reading Dr. Doolittle to one of the foremost experts on chimpanzees. It is not my story to tell so I will leave it there; however it is a reminder of how one can achieve whatever they dream if they take the risk.

Dr Jane Goodall standing ovation

The VET Festival is now over; however the journey to One Medicine for One Health has only just begun and I hope that I, as well as you all will be part of it!

Biela Noc / Nuit Blanche (White Night)… (Day 27)

White Night Live Music

Ok so last night I went to town with a group of friends as they had the Biela Noc (or White Night) festival in town which has different art exhibits based around light. This festival is on every year however as it was my first time here some of my Slovak friends wanted to show me around. It had 38 different exhibits spread across the city, and I’ve never seen so many people in one place before! We couldn’t make some of the exhibits simply due to the crowds, however here is the opening ceremony…

Kosice White Night Opening Ceremony
The opening ceremony at Hotel Jasmin for Biela Noc 2012

It was obviously more impressive in person with things like this massive winking face projected onto a massive wall.

Massive Winking Face on WallOr walking through a tunnel with swimming tadpoles projected onto the ceiling like you are walking under a pond….

Fish Projected Onto CeilingProbably the most impressive exhibit was the projection of a 3D video showing the history of the tower Urbanova veza onto the tower itself. This was so impressive I recorded it for you to watch here 🙂

We also found a candle exhibit with both sides of the streets lined with candles and live music as well which was really nice!

White Night Live Music
Live Music in the street!
Posing with some of the candles, this went on for the entire length of the street on both sides!

We then came across a hot air balloon in town on the way home…

hot air balloonNext year Kosice is the European Capital of Culture, I am going try and organise a weekend party for any of my supporters that want to come! However I really am so grateful for the opportunity to live in such a beautiful country and hope that I raise the money I need to stay here!

However that was last night, today I just played a little basketball this morning to keep active, I kinda wish I had some scales here as I am pretty sure I’ve lost weight… Either that or the washing machine here has managed to stretch my clothes 😀 Anyways it seems at the moment that I can barely go a single day without having moments where things just click into place. My Slovak is definately getting better and I’ve started to get more confident when shopping now I know my numbers which is pretty awesome.

Back to studying now for Histology tommorow….