Merck Launches Overseas Veterinarian Exchange

The Nobivac Global Vet Exchange Program allows practitioners to observe how veterinary medicine is performed in other countries.

Ten veterinarians, starting with Florida’s Link Welborn and the Netherlands’ Roeland Wessels, will travel thousands of miles to participate in the Nobivac Global Vet Exchange Program.

The initiative, sponsored by Merck Animal Health’s Nobivac vaccine line, is designed to introduce veterinarians to a different culture, expose them to how veterinary medicine is performed there and share best practices.

“[Merck] aims to offer a rewarding learning experience, not only for the veterinarians participating in the exchange, but also for those following through blogs and videos that will be shared online,” company spokeswoman Karin Jager said.

Drs. Welborn, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, of Tampa Bay Animal Hospitals, and Wessels, DVM, MS, of St. Anna 404 Animal Clinic in Nijmegen, Netherlands, took one-week trips in November. Welborn shadowed Keiko Uchida, DVM, at Kariya Animal Hospital in Chiba, Japan, while Wessels followed Koichi Fujii, VMD, at Fujii Vet Clinic in Yokohama, Japan.

Wessels reflected on his visit in a series of blog posts. One highlighted the differences between Dutch and Japanese veterinary practices:

  • “The size of the dogs. In Japan, mainly toy breeds. The biggest dog I saw was [33 pounds], a goldendoodle. Koichi will be surprised seeing our European giants!”
  • “Japanese vets are quite technology driven. Lots of veterinary hardware, ECGs, CTs, scopes, ultrasound … analyzers and so on. Blood testing during general health checks is very common, and I think we can learn from that.”
  • “In the area of medication, there are remarkable differences in the use of antibiotics, steroids, food supplements and vaccines. Japan has no tailor-made antibiotic and vaccine approach, but Koichi was very eager to learn more about it. We talk quite a lot about this subject.”

The other pairings are:

  • Dr. Pat Warpinski of The Animal House in Green Bay, Wis., and Dr. Yi Dong of Beijing Puppytown Animal Hospital in China.
  • Dr. Paul Gambardella of Oradell Clinic in Paramus, N.J., and Dr. John Turkington of Scarsdale Vets in Derby, England.
  • Dr. Robert Santos of Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital in Turlock, Calif., and Dr. Lumin Wang of Beijing Meilian Aikang Veterinary Hospital in China.

Requests to participate in the next exchange are being accepted at

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