The year at the hospital
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital examines animal patients and carries out veterinary education and research all day, every day. Students pursuing a licentiate degree in veterinary medicine work at the hospital to obtain the necessary clinical skills and put their theoretical learning into practice. The patients also provide an important basis for clinical veterinary research. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital comprises the Viikki Small Animal Hospital and Equine Hospital, as well as the Production Animal Hospital in Mäntsälä. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital is also part of the national veterinary services: the Small Animal Hospital and Equine Hospital serve as the municipal emergency veterinary service for the municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, while the Production Animal Hospital serves as the municipal veterinary service provider for several municipalities in its region. The Equine Hospital is the only one of its kind in Finland providing round-the-clock on-call services.
I started serving as director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital on 25 March 2019. For a veterinarian such as myself, the position is a great honour. After all, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is to many professionals in the field the place where our veterinarian identity is primarily established.
In 2019 the operations of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital were assessed as part of the assessment of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s teaching operations under the European ESEVT evaluation system. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital was particularly commended for providing its students with an education that is of a high standard on the European scale, and also very practical and personalised.
Small Animal Hospital
The Small Animal Hospital houses units specialised in surgery, internal medicine and emergency/intensive care. The operations are supported by a diagnostic imaging unit, an anaesthesia unit and physiotherapy services. The Small Animal Hospital also holds a significant role in admitting demanding patients referred by veterinarians from all across Finland.
In 2019 the operations of the hospital saw an upward trend continue in terms of both patient numbers and revenue. During the year, more than 20,000 patients were treated at the hospital.
The Equine Hospital is important to the entire Finnish equine community, as it is the only institution in the country providing hospital-level care to horses all day, every day.
The discovery of hospital-acquired MRSA in the Equine Hospital cast a shadow on it daily activities in 2019. Today, hospital-acquired bacteria are the bane of many top-level hospital units, in this instance the Equine Hospital. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital facilities were renovated twice during the year, in addition to which operations as well as safety and security measures were developed. The bacteria did not result in serious damage to patients, and the outbreak was brought under control. Operational development carries over into 2020, by which time an infection control nurse will have been recruited for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
In spite of setbacks, life at the Equine Hospital continued to be busy, especially in the autumn. As in previous years, almost 2,800 horses were treated during the year.
Production Animal Hospital
The operations of the Production Animal Hospital on the Saari Manor grounds in Mäntsälä continued to be busy. A total of 2,800 farm visits were made, during which more than 10,000 cows, pigs and horses were treated.
The long-awaited renovation of the Production Animal Hospital facilities finally commenced in autumn 2019, after a delay of some years, and is expected to be completed in autumn 2020. All in all, the project has progressed outstandingly well and on schedule, and it will result in the Production Animal Hospital getting new and appropriate facilities for both clinical production animal operations and the provision of services related to small animals in accordance with municipal agreements.
Helsinki One Health network and the hospital
The Faculty’s research strategy is founded on the One Health theme, under which the Helsinki One Health (HOH) research network has been established together with a range of operators and with the help of various funding channels.
In 2019 the research efforts carried out under HOH at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital gained two new appointees. Docent Tarja Pääkkönen, specialist in veterinary neurology, ECVN, DVM, was appointed assistant professor of comparative pathology, a position shared with the Faculty of Medicine. Docent Heli Simojoki, DVM, who works at the Production Animal Hospital, was selected to the associate professorship in ruminant medicine. The position is shared with the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Congratulations from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to the appointees.
Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Helsinki