Dog trains man

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pet health care taken seriously

image with courtesy of KU
Copenhagen University recently opened a brand new academic animal hospital with a special department for pets. There was a whole lot of buzz around the opening, where Her Royal Highness Princess Marie was present at the opening ceremony. "So what?" many people might think.

The new hospital embodies the new way in which we care for our pets. And these times have now seriously come to Denmark. If you would have a pet in need of special treatment, you were on your own. The average vet is more your vaccine-spay-euthanize type of vet. It was difficult to refer to more specialized vets. Let alone find them. Treatment quickly became scattered between multiple vets and clinics, depending on their specialism. It became expensive too, very expensive.

In comes the new hospital, with everything under one roof. It gets even better, as they on average only ask half of the price of what a treatment would cost in other clinics. Making it more affordable for people to treat their pets in need of special care.

The new hospital is, by far, the most complete and well-equipped in the whole country. It has all the latest facilities for diagnosis, treatment and therapy. Think ultrasound, CT- and MRI scanners, water walkers, physiotherapy facilities, acupuncture. And the list goes on. The hospital will service people and their pets directly and also service referrals for special diagnosis and treatment. The extensive staff contains the nation's specialists in treatment of cancer, neurological, heart and skin diseases.

The hospital will be used as a place to educate a new generation of vets. New vets that have the opportunity to apply treatments like acupuncture and other integrative medicine in practice and move beyond the textbook. They will spread these new health care standards throughout the country and into the regular vet practices. Pet health care in Denmark is about to make a leap forward.


  1. I think the integration of different types of medicine will be especially helpful. And the wealth of information in a teaching hospital is amazing.

    One thing gets even harder when you have access to this kind of resource, however. With more health care options comes more decisions.

    I live near one of the best vet school hospitals in the U.S. And the default ideal (in at least some of the doctors) is always medical intervention.

    I'll never forget bringing 16 year old Agatha to the vet school, riddled with what was most likely liver cancer, and obviously suffering, just to have the young resident ask if we were sure we didn't want to do a full medical work up to make sure it was actually liver cancer. At that point, I don't think Agatha cared and I had no hope of her recovering, so it was kind of an upsetting notion.

    The resident was young and I don't blame her for trying to do what she thought was her job. But technology has to be balanced with thoughtfulness and that's something that often doesn't happen in my country.

    I hope the new hospital brings a wealth of medical treatments for animals and spurs the conversations that always need to accompany the growth in knowledge.

  2. Wow. This IS really exciting for Denmark.

    Sometimes I forget how myopic we are here in America (including me). I just assumed everyone had access to specialists like we do. That obviously was an incorrect assumption.

    I cannot imagine what a great resource this facility will be for people on Denmark. When my Indy started having seizures, I was able to being her to a specialist who diagnosed cancer. It was not the answer I wanted to hear, but at least we had some answers. It's so vital to have a place like this.

    I love that they are teaching vets too.

  3. @Pamela
    Wise words! I don't know enough of the situation in the US with pet health care to compare. In Denmark the focus is on quality of life, not on lengthening it. Improvement of available medical treatment could unbalance that. It will be interesting to see how that develops.

  4. @Mel
    Absolutely. The specialists we have. But not the access (hard to get referral, price).

    There are exceptions of course. Like one of Viva's vets that is specialized in treating joint and back problems. She visits several clinics in the country to offer her services and at a price as low as possible. She is personally taking care of that she is accessible. For her it is all about helping the animals. Unfortunately, people like that are usually the exception :)

  5. That's great! What a fantastic addition to your pet care's needs. Sounds like this is just what you needed for Viva. We too have to travel for any kind of specialist and it is through a vet school so it would be costly. We haven't had to do it yet, (knock on wood), but how wonderful that you now have something locally for your dogs. Sounds like a wonderful gift for the animal world! :)

  6. Really exciting, i am all in for it.

  7. @24pawsoflove
    We have Viva "covered" with the vets she need, and I would not like to change because it is working out so well - "never change a winning team".

    It is a relief though, we have an alternative now. As we are financially stretched close to our limits it is good to know we have an option if we could not afford Viva's treatment with her current vets anymore.

  8. Wonderful news! We too have wonderful vets, but to know that a whole future generation of vets will have these tools to aide them in caring for our beloved pets is so hopeful! May more centers as such open.

  9. That is fantastic news, Kenzo. There are quite a few small animal hospitals and a good uni vet hospital here but I don't think they have the range of facilities you mention. I really wouldn't even know where to go for water therapy here. And while holistic vets that offer acupuncture and more natural therapies are available, they COST! It wouldn't be affordable for too many petowners.

    It'll be interesting to see what (if any) effect the lower costings have on current vet services. I often wonder why it's more expensive to take Rufus and Georgia to the vet than me to the doctor's!


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