Twenty people took part in the study tour to New York run by Veterinary Practice and the British Veterinary Hospitals Association at the end of January.
The centrepiece was a visit to the Animal Medical Center (AMC), an eight-storey practice and teaching establishment – one of the largest clinical teaching hospitals in the USA – a few blocks from the UN headquarters on Manhattan’s east side.
The centre, which specialises in canine and feline medicine and surgery and employs nearly 80 veterinary surgeons and 200 support staff, will celebrate its centenary next year.
As well as being a first opinion practice for the local community, it handles emergency and critical care work for the bulk of Manhattan (though a rival practice has recently opened on the west side of the island) and takes in referral cases from a wide area.
The AMC is a not-for-profit organisation which operates an interdisciplinary team approach and combines expertise in 17 different specialities. The facility never closes.
The AMC states that generating new knowledge is a vital part its mission, so diagnostics and treatment are always based on the latest research and technology.
“As a teaching hospital, the AMC uses the knowledge gained to train future veterinary leaders through intensive postgraduate internship and residency programmes.”
Postgraduate students from Glasgow and Dublin are often to be found there. Interns, who receive a low salary but are entitled to subsidised housing, work a six-day week and are often on duty for 12-14 hours a day. Most practices in the region will only hire veterinarians who have done an internship, one intern told the group.
Among the non-medical features to catch the eye were: a crèche for staff dogs, but not for children; an ATM machine by the patient discharge counters; a theatre seating up to 90 people for CPD lectures; a substantial library; and a suggestion box at the entrance to the staff cafeteria.