I am first of all a Vet, a member of this beautyfull community of veterinarians. I graduated Vet school in Bucharest in 2006 and in 2015 the Law school at Romanian-American University. All my carrier I was around sales, communication and people. I have a passion for everything related to business and people management. And not in the end, I am a father and a husband :-).
Who is Andrei Timen?
I graduated Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca , Romania in 1993. After six months work in large animals I joined Surgery Department In Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Cluj from 1994 till 2006.
With two colleagues we started also private practice Trivet in 1996 in Cluj-Napoca. In 2002 I graduated the PhD program in orthopaedic surgery. In 2006 I started a new project , Trivet Clinic with 5 vets full time employed where I am practicing now. Cluj-Napoca is the second city in Romania , having more than 500000 habitants and about 60 cabinets and clinics offer veterinary services for pets.
Is it hard to be president of Small Animal Association on The Balkans?
I was AMVAC president for 4 years . Now I am Past president since November 2017. AMVAC means more than vets association. It is an honour to be president of Romanian Small Animal Vets Association. The team work is the most important thing and I was lucky to have dedicated colleagues. Every year we try to improve the level of education in our meetings. In our first conference 12 years ago we had 60 vets and now more than 1100 join every year the congress. During this time we had great support from the veterinary companies and from Romanian Veterinary Chamber. Everybody understood that continuous education will improve the quality of medical acts in all practices.
3.How you combine your professional life and your family life?
We are a vet family , my wife is also veterinarian so it is very easy to combine those aspects of life. Most of our holidays are linked to veterinary conferences, so the combination is a success one.
4.What do you think about professional level of veterinary medicine on the Balkans?
I am happy to see that the level of veterinary medicine in Balkans is improving day by day. More and more facilities are offered for the pets and the number of vet clinics is bigger every year. It means that we are on a right way and a great benefit will be the insurance program for small animals. I hope that in a few years pet insurance companies will understand the opportunities to be present in Balkans also.
What are you doing outside of professional life?
Your opinion about Vets on The Balkans?
Sharing information between colleagues from this region is very important for the profession.Cooperation between vets from different countries were started and will continue on the benefits of our clients.
Dr Mario Kreszinger, Croatia
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov, Bulgaria
Dr Marko Novak, Slovenia
Dr Zoran Loncar, Serbia
Who are you?
Dr Zoran Loncar:
My name is Zoran Loncar I am a vet who dedicated his professional life to improve the knowledge and to push the borders of veterinary science.
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov:
I graduated from University of Forestry- Sofia, in 2005. I started externship attendance in a private small animal practice quite early-since my second year. Right now I am one of the chief surgeons in the Central Veterinary Clinic, Sofia- one of the busiest 24/7 practices in the region. Working already 6 years in this sophisticated facility, I had the chance to master skills and advance in the field of small animal surgery, and particularly orthopedics. I am happy to be involved in BAVOT (Bulgarian Association Veterinary Orthopedics and Traumatology)- the very first specialized guild vet organization in BG. We feel proud to be quite active and have organized some really great seminars, already.
At present, my focused interest is regional implementation of advanced care standards in the veterinary orthopedics- popularizing the routine use of minimally invasive technique (arthroscopy), Canine Total Hip Replacement and one special pioneering project- “Feline amputee prosthesis”.
Dr Marko Novak:
I am a vet working in a private small animal clinic Klinika Loka in the city Škofja Loka in Slovenia. I graduated in 2006 on School of Veterinary medicine in University of Ljubljana. Since than I finished multiple courses in Orthopedics and Neurology including four years of an ESAVS program, AOVet courses, ESVOT etc. Most of my today’s work are referring patients from other clinics. Concurrently I am a board member of VOG and a treasurer of VOG and active speaker and table instructor on Orthopedic courses.
Dr Mario Kreszinger:
Prof. Mario Kreszinger, DMV, MS, PhD
Veterinary Faculty, University of Zagreb
What is VOG? What VOG means to you?
Dr Zoran Loncar:
VOG is a newborn that was created out of the frustration of the vets that are dealing in every day practice with neurology and orthopedic cases.
The idea was born after continuing education that we organized all around the world.
What we realized is that probably majority of orthopedics surgeries are done by general practitioners. The problem is that they don’t have guiding and possibility always to improve the skills.
This is what we found as a major frustration not only in east countries but also in developed ones. VOG role is to connect the knowledge, mentorship and to come close to the people who do orthopedics and neurosurgery in the practicesDr Zoran Loncar, Serbia.
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov:
When I joined the Veterinary Orthopedic and Neurology Group (VOG), I felt very thrilled. This newborn professional organization will face a bright future. It could not be different with so great open-minded co-founders, sharing the same sincere intentions.
The cradle of VOG may be Eastern Europe, but it is not confined geographically. It is open for all colleagues, interested in never ending process of learning and sharing. Standing for the evidence based approach, the group will encourage members to involve in clinical researches, too.
Nevertheless, the organization is focused just on veterinary orthopedics and neurology, the topics are still greatly diverse and laborious to explore. Unifying and sharing experience is the “enzyme” that fastens the growth of any vet community knowledge. Initiative like VOG may only make us better professionals and is a great chance for many new friendships to be started.
Dr Marko Novak:
A group of enthusiastic veterinarians who want to broaden the “knowhow” to other enthusiastic veterinarians in the region. By learning we evolve, by learning from those farther ahead and following “lege artis” we prosper as veterinary society.
Dr Mario Kreszinger:
VOG is regional orthopaedic Association established to promote and organize orthopaedic, neurological and traumatological education with objective to connect the members and provide cooperation among each others. Establishing close contact and thrue friendship is one of main goal.
What means to be an orthopedic vet nowadays?
Dr Zoran Loncar:
To be and orthopedic surgeon nowdays means that you learn and improve your knowledge and skills on a daily bases. The orthopedics is a mixture of knowledge and manual skills. That needs every day practice. On the other hand there is always a need to follow the new evidence based data in order to be updated.
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov:
The veterinary orthopedics was and still is tough field to work in, sometimes with quite ungratefully unforgiving obastcles. I have seen these: the vet staff staring at a radiograph with broken plate and shaking their heads meaningfully. Rarely you can see this with soft tissue surgeons’ work J
Indeed, the veterinary orthopedic surgeon is a person with serious proffesional responsibilties. Often, his work is not a matter of death or life. But almost always it affects the animal’s quality of life for many years. The job conatains a lot of not so obvious ethical issues behind many clinical decisions taken.
Speaking about “Nowadays”, there is a burst of companies that produce orthopedic implants and tools. Fortunately most of the products are faboulosly good and gives us a chance to help aniamls with “untreatable” conditions in the past. But for me I this also may raise a danger. Just because of a commercial emphasis, we can start easily implement new products without any evidence based justification. For me, there should be a carefull and responsible approach to the “ Fancies” in the sea of products offered to us.
Dr Marko Novak:
Well for one thing I am absolutly sure it takes a whole person ready to work, ready to work even more and finally uncompromisingly ready to work some more. And after you are finished working there comes a night shift… It takes a very, very loving and understanding wife. 😉
There comes a day when you want to quit but it always comes the next day when you want to get back and help some more. But I assume it is the same in any profession.
Dr Mario Kreszinger:
Being an Orthopaedist is one of the highest step in Veterinary speciality.
What do you think about the level of veterinary orthopedic on The Balkans?
Dr Zoran Loncar:
Unfortunately the level of knowledge at Balkan countries is low. The reason is old fashioned veterinary schools, the lack of continuing education at the field.
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov:
Our present status has a lot to do with the historical development of the region. I guess it is right to say that I am part of the “new generation” vets. At least in Bulgaria, this generation inherited the experience of very few small animal practitioners, working in the 90-ies. Unfortunately we cannot say that we have a long medical tradition in small animal care, as most Western Europe countries. But.. one way or another a new era has started. For me in the last ten years, the Balkan veterinarians put a hard work and did a huge development in every aspect of their work. The market was opened for Eastern Europe, the pet owners just demand and receive much better care. This includes also us- the orthopedic fellows in the region. I think that we already do quite a good job, with a real potential to shine for excellence
Dr Marko Novak:
I believe it has tremendously spiked in the last few years. There are still reserves, which is good. But what is most important is that people are more than willing to learn. Big thanks to many “good guys” who started teaching especially great orthopedic specialists like Allesandro Piras and Bruno Pierone, Massimo Petazoni etc.
Dr Mario Kreszinger:
The level is right now in extremely high learning curve, coresponds with highly developed western Countries.
Your ” golden rules “to be professional orthoped ?
Dr Zoran Loncar:
Learn, practice, learn, control your ego, learn, think out of the box and at the end, learn.
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov:
To be a good orthopedic, demands a lot. Vast stock of knowedge, skilled hands, attention to the small details. Usually it takes so many years to develop qualities, a great determination is needed to bare the road. And the learning never stops. But this is the common knowledge. I am a believer that to become an especial orthopedic, you should be able to think “out of the box”. We should follow the great minds’ work, but there is always a place for personal contribution. We should dare to fight paradigms; this is an essential “fuel” for medical science evolution.
Dr Marko Novak:
Be precise, train, learn, ask, always try to find mistakes and be better the next time, be objectively sharp to your work, take time for your family and for yourself. Charge your batteries regularly.
Dr Mario Kreszinger:
What do you think about the online journal Vets on The Balkans?
Dr Zoran Loncar:
Vets on the Balkan is refreshment and result of people with good energy and wish to improve our region. We live in small countries and if we cooperate together we have better chance to improve ourselves.
Dr Vladislav Zlatinov:
It is so great to have such a professional forum, connecting Balkans (and not only) vets! I literally see people from different countries in the region, getting to know each other because of your journal. The “Vets on The Balkans” deserve all the compliments for your great positive initiative and work!
Dr Marko Novak:
I came across VTB when I was scrolling down the facebook and I saw these interesting articles from guys doing great job. I think it is one of those starters that help people to become better at what they do.
Dr Mario Kreszinger:
Graduated in Veterinary Medicine in 1987 from the University of Milan, after that obtained the Specialization in Small Animal Practice and in Veterinary cardiology . Stayed for study, research and teaching, for several months, at University Veterinary Schools in U.S.A (Athens GA, Davis, CA, Philadelphia, PA, Ft Collins CO) and in Japan (Gifu) and was invited speaker in over 100 courses and conferences in Italy, USA, Japan, Cuba, Croatia , Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Spain, Poland, Romania, Czech republic. He is author and co-author of more than 40 publications in “peer-reviewed international journals “, 2 books on Heartworm disease 3 on CVBD on one about Veterinary Cardiology. Collaborates in research projects with the University of Milan, Parma, Zagreb and Salamanca. He is member of the American Heartworm Society, Feline Heartworm International Council, SOIPA, ESSCAP and WAAP, and is vice President of the European Dirofilaria Society. He is an EVPC (European College of Veterinary Parasitology) diplomate. He deals with Parasitology, Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery both in Italian Veterinary Hospitals (Clinica Veterinaria Lago Maggiore, Ospedale veterinario Città di Pavia, Ospedale veterinario Poggio Piccolo, Istituto Veterinario di Novara) and abroad (Spain and Hungary)
Who is Luigi Venco?
He is a 27 year old vet with 28 years of experience.
Lucky enough to start working when veterinary medicine started to catch up with the human one.
Lucky of having had great teachers in Italy and around the world and being grateful to them. Lucky of having had the opportunity to work in many countries. Lucky to have found true friends and wonderful colleagues anywhere. Lucky to still have a lot of enthusiasm in his work and to have the strength to be happy for a life saved and grieve for a lost one.
We know you work with many vets from the Balkans. People say we are different. What do you think?
Absolutely different. Full of enthusiasm and with great sense of friendship and collaboration. As young boys in love with what they do.
Tell us more about your daily work and your problems( as well your solutions) ?
The every day work of is full of joy for the victories and sorrows for defeated. It collides with little or too much love for animals. With the economic problems of the owners. With what we would like and we can not. It ‘s a battle to fight with your heart and your mind. The solution, at the end of a tiring and stressful day, is to be able to sleep thinking: “I do not know if I was perfect. But I did the best I could. Tomorrow anyway I will do better”
Can you share with us your “golden rules” for better practice?
– Be critical of yourself, not of others, you can do better always
– Not justify your mistakes but learn from them
– Do not be afraid to teach everyone and be humble to learn from everyone
– Never think you’re the best, always think that you will become
– You are taking care of a life, not a number or a name. Always look in their eyes and listen to what they say
– Nothing is useless. Also visit a healthy dog. Only by knowing what is normal you will be able to understand what is not normal
– Never stop studying and to update you. Veterinary medicine runs in a hurry
What do you think about the level of vet medicine on the Balkans( you receive so many vets, who come to learn from you) ?
I believe that the level of veterinary medicine in the Balkans is growing every day. As in Italy a few years ago. And it runs very fast. Thank you for transmitting us this feeling
What do you think about vet online journal Vets on The Balkans?
It ‘s a wonderful Journal. Open source. Clinical cases and tips useful for the reader. Not just a display of vanity for the authors. Congratulations to the editors for strong expended effort
Who is Dr Stefan Savov?
It is quite hard to answer that question.
Firstly, I`m just a normal person who enjoys life and learning. I think life is extremely beautiful.
Secondly, I am a veterinary surgeon. I definitely like animals. What I mostly enjoy about my job is when the pet is healed and is back to its normal behaviour, happily waging its tail – priceless. Currently I am doing general internship in Willows referrals close to Birmingham UK. It is a very busy program with rotations by different disciplines like Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, Internal medicine, Oncology, Neurology, Image diagnostics, etc. The hospital is amazing and the team is very friendly.
2.How many times you live abroad?
I have been abroad many times.
My first time abroad was in Italy in 2008 for 4 months. There I did internship program in one emergency clinic in Pavia – close to Milan. After that for short periods of time I have been in France, England and twice in Israel. In 2012 I went back to Italy where I worked for 8 months for the same clinic as before. After that I did more focused internship in Ophthalmology in a referral clinic close to Bologna. Then I moved to the UK where I started to work as sole charge vet in first opinion practice close to London. In general I have spent quite a long time abroad.
3.Why you left your country?
That is a very complicated question – I think the main reason was because I managed to achieve quite a lot here in Bulgaria in my field but I still felt that I need more and more things to learn. Unfortunately this couldn’t be done in Bulgaria. One thing lead to another and I packed my luggage and documents and I started to travel. I am happy to say that I was very well accepted everywhere and that over a short period of time I realised how much more I can study. This is the reason that I am doing my third internship program.
4. Differences between vetеrinary medicine on the Balkans and West Europe?
In my opinion there aren`t many differences. In Bulgaria there are several places where the level of Veterinary medicine is very high. One of the main differences, of course, is the money. Veterinary medicine is a really expensive job. More than 90% of the medical procedures are really underestimated but sadly that is the economic reality. Of course, that reflects on how Bulgarian clients spend for their pets. In UK there is a really well developed insurance system for pets. This allows the owners to use the services of specialists and, if necessary, really expensive investigations, and treatment plans to be performed. I think this is the main difference.
5.Do you think to turn back in your country?
Bulgaria is always in my heart and mind. I really cannot answer when I will be back but it could happen sooner or later. If I stay to work abroad I am sure that I will continue to come back as a speaker for workshops, seminars and congresses. I want to give all this knowledge that I am collecting to my colleagues. This is one of the best ways for our profession to go ahead in the eastern countries.
6. What do you think about Vets on The Balkans?
The journal is a really brilliant idea. I read all the articles. I find some really good examples there. It has proved that veterinarians on Balkans are no worse than the colleagues in the western countries. I wish you more and more interesting cases shared on the pages of the journal and lots of luck.
1.Who is Nikoleta Novak?
Nature lover. Social bee. Passionate reader. Wise Owl for close friends. Open-minded.. “Half-full glass” type of a person…
Apart from that Nikoleta is veterinary surgeon working in Veterinary Clinic Novak dealing with cardiology cases, but also seeing first-opinion cases and doing some soft tissue surgery.
She is also a mother of two girls, a writer of children’s books and the owner of a dog, cat and 55 years old tortoise.
2.Do you think is hard to be professional in veterinary medicine on the Balkans nowadays?
When one of my friends, who is also a vet, first time visited England, he said : “This is a Disneyland for a vet!” For veterinary practice on Balkans nobody will say such a thing. Here you need to struggle with lots of problems, drawbacks, lack of medicines ,equipment, different mentality of clients… On the other hand, being a vet on Balkans is more challenging. You need to think differently, to look for solutions outside the textbooks, be ready to be a service provider both for your clients and for your equipment, even if you are not a creative person you are forced to become imaginative and resourceful …
3.Why you didnt leave your country? (vet like you has many opportunity to do this)
One part of you really wants to be in Disneyland. Me and my former husband set and passed RCVS exam (exam set by British Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) and became their members which means we could work in the U.K or other E.U. countries. (Serbia is not part of the EU). The whole of our staying in the U.K. and the exam itself was a great experience for us and we enjoyed every moment of it, even very hard studying . But then it was a life decision: starting a new life in the U.K. or going back home and continue the life we left. We decided to go back and never regretted this decision. Why? There is a list of reasons, but for me probably the strongest one was a family. On the other hand it is not the same if you are just visiting Disneyland and if you live in it.
4.What do you think about the level of veterinary medicine on the Balkans?
It is getting better and better, but still we all have to put much more effort and more work. We need to educate both ourselves and our clients.
5.You are a writer of children’s books. I read some of them.They are amazing. Tell us more about this part of your life?
Since I was a child I loved to read and write. I even wrote my first picture book before starting school. It was about animals of course (smiling). Throughout my life I was a keen reader but the only things I wrote were professional articles. Then by lots of connected coincidences I was contacted by a children’s book publishing house “Pčelica” (www.pcelica.rs). They asked me to write a manual for children about pets. And that’s how it all started. Now I have three serials of eight picture books each, one manual and most recently, a novel published by “Pčelica”. So all together, I have 25 books published. I managed to connect my three loves together: love for children, for animals and for books – as I write books for children and most of the characters are animals. In my books I try to show children how amazing animals are, and to evoke love for animals in them, but I also do address some important human values, dilemmas and problems, on children’s level of understanding of course.
6. Tell us more about your project “Blue dog” ?
Blue dog is an European project designed to promote the education of children in their relationships with dogs . The first resouce was the interactive CD-ROM with its printed parent guide. This was well received in scientific circles. However, promoting a prevention message to the public proved to be challenging in Serbia but also in all other countries which are participating in the program.
As a member of the Blue Dog team in Serbia. I really do enjoy working with children but all the other issues connected with it (writing projects, raising money for it etc.) I personally find hard to deal with. That’s why the Blue Dog team needs to have people with different knowledge and skills involved in it’s work.
In Serbia we had lots of workshops and other kind of activates in preschools, schools and different public happenings designed to teach the children safe behavior towards dogs and to promote and spread the Blue Dog project idea.
7. What do you think about “Vets on The Balkans” ?
I read the interview you had with our colleague Nikola Bunevski, and I think he said it perfectly; “Sharing is caring. Vets on the Balkans can serve that purpose””Vets on Balkans” is really a great idea and I do wish you all the best on this exciting and high-minded mission.
The team of Vets on The Balkans would like to express their gratitude to this brilliant veterinarian from The Balkans and we are proud to have her as a colleague and friend!
Dr Nikoleta Novak
Nikoleta Novak BVSc MRCVS, surgery specialist, graduated in 1995 from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade. She attained her surgery specialist degree in 1997. From 2000-2002 she expanded her professional knowledge in Great Britain, mostly in Cambridge veterinary school.
Nikoleta has been a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) since 2002. More recently, she obtained three parts of ESAVS certificate in Small Animal Cardiology, and continuing to expand her knowledge in the veterinary cardiology area by attended June Boon’s Echocardiography courses in Belgrade and Italy, over the past few years. She has attended more than 50 various continuing education programs, congresses, symposia, workshops, round tables, professional meetings beside those where she was involved as an organiser.
Nikoleta was a member of the Scientific and Professional Committee of Serbian Association of Small Animal Practicioneres (SASAP). as well as a member of the Editorial Board of the SASAP Bulletin for eight years.
She works Small Animal Veterinary Clinic – Veterinary Clinic “Novak” ; which is an institution that provides general and specialized veterinary medicine and surgical services for small animals.
Nikoleta is the leader of the Blue Dog Project in Serbia. (European project on safe behavior between children and dogs).
In 2010 Nikoleta wrote a short manual for children “Let’s learn about pets” for the publishing house “Pčelica” . Continuing this successful partnership, she published 3 serials of 8 picture books each, and most recently a novel for older children.
1.How long are you working in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest, Romania? And tell us more about your practice?
I work in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest since october 1990, at the Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynaecology . Before, I have worked for two years in a dairy cattle farm, near Bucharest.
2.Do you think is hard to be a teacher nowadays?
I think that it is very different than 20 years ago, because, on one hand, the acces to information for the students is much easier, so you must pay attention to provide always the newest things and, on the other hand, besides teaching, every teacher is involved in research activities, documentation, etc. Supplementary, a teacher like me, who works in the clinical field, must have also hours of clinical activity with the students, on large and small animals.
3.What is the most important thing that you would like your students to learn from you?
That you cannot practice veterinary medicine without passion, without loving animals, but also the humans.
4.What do you think about the level of veterinary medicine on the Balkans? and in Romania ?
I think that that the level of veterinary medicine in the Balkan region, also in Romania, grows very fast, esspecialy in the field of companion animals. The demand on the market obliges the vet to learn every day the newest things and procedures, so that he can provide the best care for his clients.
5.Everybody has great opinion about you. Tell us more about your “recipe”?
It is not a recipe. I try to be honest to myself and to the others, and I try to do the best job possible to help the animal. I think that the students appreciate the fact that we can discuss freely on a certatin subject, as well that they can participate in certain surgical procedures, ultrasound exams, etc.
6.What do you think about our veterinary journal Vets on The Balkans?
I think it’s a great idea! All the vets in the Balkans area can learn from each other’s experience, we can share opinions, interesting clinical cases, etc.
I wish you good luck!
We would like to express our gratitude to Alexandru Diaconescu, DVM, PhD, Senior Lecturer! Or how romanians say ” SARUTMANA” (means ” kiss your hand ” ).
1.How long you work in Croatia? (tell us more about your internship in the university)?
I’m working in croatia for 2,5 years and 2,5 years on postgraduate studies on the University of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb Croatia. Postgraduate studies on the University of Veterinary Medicine where on the Department of Surgery Orthopedic Ophthalmology and Anesthesiology -they were excellent ,on the Department of Surgery here in Zagreb are working excellent veterinarians who are excellent in their surgical skills from which you can learn a lot!!! I’m really grateful that i have a chance to be there and learn so much.
2.Why and how you decided to go in Croatia,not in country of West Europe?
I was thinking a lot where to sign up for Postgraduate studies. I was looking for postgraduate studies in Athens, Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana, because they are offering programs that i can afford, and i see the Department of Surgery here in Croatia, and realize that they have new modern clinic and a lot of cases where I can learn a lot.
3.Tell us more about the level of veterinary medicine in Croatia?
The level of veterinary medicine in Croatia? I can tell you that the veterinarians are working very hard to push up the level of veterinary medicine to be similar like western european countries. Croatian Small Animal Veterinary Section (CSAVS) are organizing a lot of events workshops educations and a lot of professors and educators are coming from around the world and giving lectures and teaching us how to perform better veterinary medicine. The level is high and is growing rapidly. I’m really feel blessed that i have a chance to meet so good friends/veterinarians here in Croatia.
4.And in Macedonia?
The faculties of veterinary medicine in Macedonia are young. Veterinary medicine is changing especially from the young new veterinarians side. I know a lot of young veterinarians in Macedonia who are working a lot and they are giving best from them self to change the future of vet.med. in Macedonia.I really hope that soon a lot of young veterinarians will come in the clinic where im working so we can exchange knowledge and not just here but around Europe to experience some good veterinary practice . I really believe that those young veterinarians will make changes, I’m in very good contact with a lot of them helping in everyway that I can, and I’m expecting some of them here in Zagreb to work together for some time, some of them already came. It’s really great when you share knowledge.
I don’t have plans for future. But i have a dreams-to be a better veterinarian and have a chance to collect some new knowledge, maybe to return and work again in my home country Macedonia, or in some place where I can practice good veterinary practice, places like here in Croatia or somewhere around the world.
6 .What do you think about Vets on The Balkans?
Sharing is caring. Every information is priceless. We are working near each other we have similar problems and questions, it will be better for each of us if we share those questions and problems to one another, we will come to answers faster and painless. Vets on the Balkans can serve that purpose.Thank you for having me.
The team of Vets on The Balkans :” Thank you very much Dr Nikola Bunevski for sharing with us ! We are proud of having vet like you on the Balkans!!! “
Dr Nikola Bunevski
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – Stara Zagora , R. Bulgaria
major: Veterinary Medicine (September 2001 – February 2008)
Professional title: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
He got his Master calss :
University of Zagreb
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine-Zagreb Croatia
Department of Surgery,Ortopedics Ophtalmology and Anesteziology.
Profesional title:University Master of Surgery (2010-2012)
Member of the Veterinary Chamber of Macedonia
Member of Croatian Small Animal Veterinary Section
Member of the Veterinary Chamber of Croatia.
Member of the Society of Radiology genetically influenced skeletal disorders in small animals eV (GRSK)-Germany.
Participation in WSAVA Continuing Education Course in topic: Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery, Stara Zagora, R. Bulgaria (October 2006)
Certificate of attendance-Small Animal Veterinary Symposium Belgrade Serbia 2010
Certificate of attendance-17th FECAVA Eurocongress Istambul-Turkey 2011
Certificate of attendance-Small animal Orthopedics seminar-Belgrade Serbia 2011
Certificate of attendance-Small Animal Veterinary Symposium Belgrade Serbia 2011
Certificate of attendance-Small animal Neurology seminar-Belgrade Serbia 2012
Certificate of attendance-Small Animal Veterinary Symposium Belgrade Serbia 2012
Certificate Course Participant- All About the Stifle Joint Course Opatija Croatia 2013
Certificate of attendance-1 Congres of Croatian Small Animal Veterinary Section Zagreb Croatia2014
Certificate Course Participant-AOVET Course-Principles in Smal Animal Fracture Management Zagreb Croatia 2014
Certificate of attendance-Belgrade Veterinary Neurology Conference Belgrade Serbia 2014.
Vertificate of attendance-20th FECAVA Eurocongress Munich Germany 2014
Certificate attended as a Faculty-A Practical Approach to External Skeletal Fixation Opatija Croatia 2014
Certificate of attendance-2 Congres of Croatian Small Animal Veterinary Section Zagreb Croatia2015
1. How many years you are vet ?
I graduated in Belgarade vet University in 1997, spent one year working in a small animal practice as a volontier in Belgrade. As I could not get a job in Serbia I started to look for jobs on internet. That is how I find offer to work in Iceland but not as a vet. My first job in Iceland was training horses and a farm work.I got it in March 1999 just when bombing startet. That was the hardest period In my life.
Officialy I started working as a vet in Iceland in July 2000 ,but it was only a temporaly licence. I had to go to EU and nostrify my vet diploma as the Serbia was not me,mber of the EU.
2. How many times you left your country and why?
In 2002 I mooved to England and apply for the exam for membership in Royal College. I was working one year as a vet nurse in small animal practice in Brighton, learnig for the exam. In 2003 in July I passed exam and become MRCVS. I was now quolified to work in the UK but I still could not get the job. I applied for more then 50 job offers but not accepted . Than I went back to Iceland and continue to work there until 2004 . In 2004 I went to Uk again to atend the course for the official veterinary surgeons and got licence to work as a , vet inspector in the UK and the countries of comonwlth.
After that I got the job in May Bole in Scotland, where I was working part time in the abatoar as an OVS and part time in mixed vet practice. I was not very happy with that job. It was very badly paid and the standard in the practice was below the averige British standard. After les than a year I decides to quit and went back to Serbia where I started my own practice. But I did not stop working in Iceland. I continue to work in Iceland every year during September and October until now. At the moment while I am writing this letter I am in Iceland. Going back to Serbia in November.
3. Tell us more about the projects in which you are involved?
Project of comparative study of the joint development in dogs and jackals started two yars ago. Profesor Henri Van Bree from the department of diagnostig imaging at the Ghent vet University is the leader of the project. The aim is to compare the bone desity of the dogs bones with the density of the jackal bones. Size of the animales, conformation of the bones and joints and moovment. We choose the jackal as the closest wild relative of the dog. The size of the jackal is simlar to an average dog and the weight is from 11-20 kg. We are looking for any incongruency and deformities in elbow and tarsal joint of both species.
So far e have not find any abnormality in jackal joints but we need more animals to check. My duty is to colect jackals that had been shoot during the hunt in Serbia. Population of jackals is quite big and it is growing by every year. Only in my area it had been shoot about 20 jackals during the year and in all Serbia more than 500. I am also taking xrays of the elbows and tarsus.
Jackals are protected during the breeding season in Serbia. But their number must be under control as they are thret to other animals like row ders ,hares, fasans and domestic animales as well as threat of rabies spreding if the population of jackals went out of the control.
You can see more about this project on fb page veterinarska ambulanta livada, it is on English.
Another two projets I am running on my own.
My vet practice ia also registered as a rescue center for the wild life. Dears,foxes, badgers, birds of pray,jackals, sometimes bears and many other wild anmals. I usualy get yong or injured wild animals and keep them until they grow or recower .
This is a charity work and I don’t get paid for it. Yu can find more photos of those animals on the fb page vet ambulanta livada.
Last project I am, working on is establishing equine surgery or hospital in Serbia.
In 2012 I manage to performe the first succesful colic surgery on a horse in Serbia. It has never been done before in my country, not even at our veterinary university. All knoledge and experience in that field I have gained at the veterinary university of Ghent in Belgium. I was lucky to have opportunity to spend few weeks every year at the equine surgery departent at Ghent university and it help me a lot.
Facilities are the main prolem. Equipment is very expensive ,so I have to make most of the equipment on my own or to impovize everything from operating table to anaesthetic machine.
So far, we performed six surgeries on horses with colic and for of them had surviwed. Lot of work still has to be done . We need more knowlege, more experience, more cases, more money and equipment.
4. What do you think about veterinary medicine in Serbia?
The first private vet practice in Serbia was estalished in eaely 90ies. Before that we had veterinary service run by the government. They mostly worked with farm animals.
First private practice was open in Belgrade,than in other towns Novi Sad and Nis.
During the period from 1990 util 2000 develpment of the small animal practice was slow. Lot of vetrinarians started their own busines but the sanctions, war in former Yugoslavia and economy crisis had a big influence on develment of the vet practice.
After the year of 2000, situation was getting better. Lot of young veterinarians had left the country looking for better life but meny of them went abroad to get more experience and learn.
From that time it was much easier to get equipment and drugs from Europe and many people start importing veterinary equipment. We were also using equipment from the humane hospitals.
The most important moment in developing veteinay practice in Serbia was posibility to invite experts from all ower the world to give lectures in Serbia. Thanks to SASAP small animal veterinary practicioners assotiation, we had oportunity to see profesors from the best universities in Europe and USA. Step by step we gradualy rised standards of our veterinay practice to a level which is quite close to standard in some European countries. At the moment we have more than 100 registered small animal practices in Belgrade. Not all of them are working at the same standards and there is stil very big difference between practices in Serbia. Equipment is not a problem any more, every one can get an ultra sound or a xray machine. We have good seminars and meetings so people can continue learning. The things that we don’t have are specialists or diplomate.
We have a few good vets in neurology, radiology but we need recognised and aproved dipomates in every field of veterinary medicine.
It is dificult to achive specialy if your country is not member of Europen Union. Specialisation is expensive and very few people could aford it. First step in that direcrion would be to start cooperation between vet universities. Our vet university in Belgrade had made contract with vet university in Ghent and it is a bigining of cooperation. Exchangeng profesors, postgraduaes and mutual projects.
I can say that situation in small animal practice is far away from perfect but it is improving all the tme. Large animal practice is at the same level where it was before 2000, the number of cattle is going down and some improvemwnt was done only on a few big private farms.
Large animal practice is mainly surviwe with a help of govrnment which is finansing preventive mesures as vaccination and testing for the diseases.
Equime practice does not egzist in the form that is recognisable in developed Europwan countries. There are les than 20 000 horses In Serbia. More than half of that number are sport or recreative horses. We have 15-20 veterinarians who maily work with horses. We don’t have equine clinics or hospitals and all work is done at the field. Developing the first equme surgry theater and facilities for hospitalization of horses is still In progres. The number of horsis is growing gradualy and the quolity of the sport horses is gettinf better so I a expecting some improvement in equne medicine too.
I am opimistic
5. Tell us the most interesting(funny) vet story in your pracitice?
I will tell you the most embarasing story from my life which is now watching from the time distance one of the funniest I had in my life.
I have just graduated from vet university and I was already working a bit as a vet in my neighborhood.
I was in my village where my grandparents were living. I kept my horse there among some sheep that my grand parens had.
I got a phone call from some one that had a dog, a sar pei. Not any one could aford an sar pei in that time. They were some posh people and probably wealthy ones.
It was May, but a bit rainy so I was wearing a rubber boots and a short trouses and a T shirt, working something arround the garden and just thinking of having change to meet my new clients.
My father just came to me and said-
Ivan, it looks it is going to rain again,could you go to the field and bring the sheep back before the rain starts? Just watch the big ram, he started to atack and kik people!
Aaghh… I am expecting someone… but I went to bring the sheep, it won’t last long.
When I open the gate the big ram had atack me imediately, I manage to escape once and jump ower the fence. It was a big ram ower 120kg. He was looking at me and threatening . Next time when he atack I manage to escape again and grabe him arround the neck while he was in the corner of the fence.
I was holding the ram arround the neck but still didn’t solve the problem. I had to go at least 200m with sheep on a country road and if I let him go he will atack again and I will not be able to escape .
I grabed the wool on his neck and jump on his back, he turn in a full galop imediately. The next moment about 20 sheep with lambs were galoping along the country road toward the house and I was behind them riding the ram in a western style .
I was just thinking how clever I was when I sow a big black merceses in front of my house gate. It was too late to jump from he ram and I could not stop him.
The sheep pass through the gate and I was approaching in galop when smartly dressed gentlemen went out from the mercedes. I just rich the ground with my legs and it was eough for the ram to feel the freadom and run away. I stayed in front of my new client and he just steared at my boots and short trouses and asked-
Would you be so kind to show me where doctor Ivan Rakic lives?
6. What do you think about Vets on the Balkans?
I think most of our colleagues still believe that the world outside the Balcan peninsula is eldorado for the veterinarians.
I am working in Iceland at the moment. I am spending here two months every year, even I can stay and work here permanently.
There are too many vets in most of the West European countries. Just in Italy there are 18 veterinary universities. In UK 7 vet universities. It is more and more difficult to get a job as a veterinary surgeon in Europe. Sallaries are smaller than they use to be 10 years ago.
I Know some vets who are earning more in Serba than some vets in Germany or UK. But for the average vet is still difficult to find a well paid job in Serbia. People has to understand that university diploma is not enough. You need skills, specialisation in some field of vet medicine. We have very few real specialists in Serbia. I would advice young vets to go to England or Germany, Belgium to do internalship or specialise in some field and come back to their countries. Now a days you can’t imagine being a vet withouth speaking at least one foreign language. You need English language in every segment of your life. If you want to learn more – you have to go to some countries with higher standards in veterinary medicine and spend some time there . The goal for me is to bring that knowledge back to your home country. Veterinary Universities should be the first to folow that strategy.
I feel very happy and proud when I see colleagues from Bulgaria , Romania, Croatia, Greece , Macedonia, Bosnia at one veterinary simposium. Small animal vets are always better organised than others. It would be good idea to organize international meetings in equine medicine or large animal medicine. Hungaria is probably the leader in the region if we are talking about equine medicine. They should organize CPD s for equne vets. I am sure meny vets from the region would like that.
1. When and how you decided to be veterinarian?
I was inspired by my mom and she implement this idea in my mind, as early as I was in elementary school. For me it was my one option. It was life a goal to achieve. I studied veterinary high school and the next step was Veterinary Faculty. Another personal motivation was my first dog. When I was 10 years old and he unfortunately died of Parvovirosis. I was promised to myself that I will try to save as many animals as I can.
2.How did you choose Dermatology as your professional?
I think all started by frustration of dealing with dermatological cases in my clinic. Because if you think about Dermatology, are more less the same. So can you figure it out what is going on with the patient and what is the right diagnosis.Of course, you need to have patience , to have detective way of thinking. I think everything started by attending workshop by Chiara Noli in Bucharest. Then I understood that this is what I wanted to do . The more I got into it, I could not stop. Now, here I am, traveling as a specialist.
3. Tell us ” the price ” to be professional veterinarian?
This a good and hard question. Everybody is first concern about the money. Because the learning in this level is very costly. From my experience , I cannot say is not a financial matter, but is not the most important thing to reach your dream. Time is the most precious thing , because you need to learn, to prepare yourself for the mentor and college expectations. This is far beyond of my initial expectations.
To do residency at european level you need to be 200% motivated , 200% dedicated, 200% willing to succeed and more less leave everything aside. But at the end I know it will worthy.
4. Tell us about your Dermatology Association in Romania?
I am very proud about our association. I think, the biggest goal is to bring international high level of science and practice of veterinary dermatology, closer to our region. I think SRDV (Romanian Society of Veterinary Dermatology) is starting to do that. We are young society, but we already had our first annual congress with 300 participants, 2 workshops and we plan to do 2 more this summer. We are organizing the second big annual congress in October this year. For future plans we want to spread the knowledge over other countries on the Balkans, where I know, there are vets , who need to be part of our society. So we are open to welcome any vet from the Balkan to join us, whoever wants to get involve and join our spirit.
5.Which are negative and positive things to be vet on the Balkans?
Let’s start with the negative. We are depending of our countries economically substantial difference between our general practice level and this one in Western Europe. But there are a lot of good enthusiastic people who want to learn more and align the way of practice and knowledge.
6. Would you like to share with us your future plans?
Of course, I want to finish my residency and pass my exam. I want to build first dermatological clinic in our region. Another big dream of mind, is to have my own residents from the Balkans. So they continue this win. I am already looking for highly motivated vets that want to do performance.
7. What do you thin about Vets on The Balkans?
I think is a good interesting idea. I really hope that this project will continue for a long time and collect many vets as want to share their experience. So the whole community from the Balkans will progress in a good way.
Dr Rares Capitan, DVM , resident in ECVD
He graduated in 2006 at Faculty in Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest , Romania. He is member of ESVD- Europian Society of Veterinary Dermatology.
He passionate about all areas related to veterinary dermatology services to elevated to international standards.
Founder member and President of SRDV – Romanian Society of Veterinary Dermatology
He is passionate about all areas related to veterinary dermatology services to elevated to international standards