University of Sydney veterinary students enjoy exchange in Indonesia

Story by Sydney Veterinary School student
In February 2017, three students, Lidya, Jonathon and myself spent one month at the University Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta Indonesia as a part of our final year veterinary intern rotations. This counted towards the public health component of our final year. It was interesting to be able to see the different diseases and different approaches employed in Indonesia. It was also great to be able to travel and see the sights during our down time.

We were greeted at the airport by our student buddies Stella, Nendis and Adretta who took us to our accommodation on campus, and continued to show us around and take care of us throughout the month.

University of Sydney veterinary students enjoy exchange in Indonesia
Sydney vet students’ exchange in Indonesia (Photo credit: University of Sydney)
Our first week was spent in the reproductive unit on campus, where we were involved in activities such as ultrasound of small animals, rectal palpation of small holder cattle farmer animals, and a visit to the AI cattle semen collection and processing laboratory.

Our second week involved internal medicine, where we learned about public health concerns in Indonesia such as rabies and anthrax. We also accompanied students in treating small animals in the clinic, had classes on reptile handling and visited the local zoo for a behind the scenes tour of the facility, quarantine and clinic area as well as exhibits.

After this we spent a few days at the government lab responsible for investigating disease outbreaks. We visited farms where sudden deaths had occurred such as a quail farm with suspected avian influenza, a goat farm where the goats had died from herbicide poisoning in the grass, and a calf rearing farm where the calves suffered from poor growth and sporadic deaths, likely due to poor nutrition and parasite burden. We also toured the lab and saw the facilities where virology, microbiology and chemical testing occurs.

After this we visited Lombok island where we saw the wet market and poultry farms and slaughter. This was very different to meat slaughter and distribution in Australia. We also volunteered with Lombok animal rescue where we assisted in castration of stray dogs.

In our final week we were involved in the parasitology and pathology laboratories, working with students in performing post mortems, blood smears, blood tests, and microscopic parasite identification. We also assisted in testing mosquito resistance to different pesticides.

Alongside the official activities, in our time off we visited some great tourist attractions including Borobudur temple, Taman Sari Water Castle, Pindul cave, the volcano Mt Merapi, scuba diving in the Gili islands and Marioboro shopping street. Before my placement commence I also spent a week in Bali and a week in Kalimantan at Tanjung Puting national park, observing orangutans in the wild at Camp Leakey.

Indonesia has so much variety to offer, and this has proved to be one of the most varied placements I have had, and has allowed many interesting learning opportunities, not only about veterinary medicine, but about Indonesia and international public health.

This exchange program was led by Prof Agung Budiyanto at University Gadjah Mada and A/Prof Jenny-Ann Toribio at the University of Sydney. Accommodation was kindly provided at the Faculty Guest House by UGM Dean Joko Prastowo.

Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sydney

The Sydney DVM program encourages enrolment of students from diverse backgrounds and aims to help them achieve their goals to become veterinary medical professionals in the global community. Teaching is research-driven to ensure students learn from the latest developments and advances in evidence-based practice, veterinary science research, animal behaviour and welfare science and veterinary public health.

Year 4 is a capstone experience combining intramural (in University Veterinary Teaching Hospitals) and extramural (in industry and private veterinary practices) placements. These extramural placements may be taken at any approved Australian or international industry or private veterinary practice. These placements enable students to gain workplace experience in a broad range of small animal, large animal and industry situations in preparation for introduction to the workforce following graduation.

Program: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Program duration: 4 years
Application deadline: TBA. For the 2017 intake, the deadline was September 14, 2016.

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