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Viva Vet in Bulgaria

Boyko A. Georgiev, DVM, PhD

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In this installment of Practice Profile, Boyko A. Georgiev, DVM, PhD, describes his practice Viva Vet in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Our Team & Practice

Established in 1991, the Viva Vet veterinary clinic is one of the first private small animal veterinary practices founded after the end of the communist regime in 1989.

The practice has 12 team members—8 veterinarians, 2 radiologists, and 2 clinical specialists—and is equipped with a digital CR system, ultrasound machine, blood and biochemical analyzer, patient monitor, and inhalation anesthesia. All procedures are performed by veterinarians, as Bulgaria does not have a category for veterinary nurses in small animal medicine.

As do all veterinarians in Bulgaria, every member of our team has access to CE seminars and courses, organized by the Bulgarian Association of Small Animal Veterinarians (BASAV), and can visit all WSAVA or Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) events. Two of our team members specialize in horse medicine, and one is working on a PhD thesis on embryo transfer in horses.

Clinician's Brief

Our most frequent cases involve tumors and GI or dermatological disorders, whereas the top veterinary and public health concerns involve parasitic diseases.

Challenges We Face

There are several challenges to providing state-of-the-art patient care in Bulgaria. First, clients are not prone to spending money on prophylaxis and treatment for pets, potentially because most clients have low income levels. In cases where clients do seek medical treatment, they first wait to see if the patient will heal independently. In many cases, clients look for treatment advice on the internet or ask friends.

Second, and of serious concern, owners can buy therapeutics in pet shops, stores, or pharmacies and start treatment without first consulting a veterinarian. As a result of delayed and often wrong treatment, treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful once a veterinarian is consulted.

Yet another problem is the lack of the newest pharmaceutical products, which are unavailable in our country. For this reason, we often have to use human medicines. In addition, there are no referral centers or laboratories, making diagnosis difficult in many cases.

Services We Provide

Our practice performs routine blood, biochemical, and microbiological analysis and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In some cases, we offer home visits, and we deliver medications and prescription diets to clients. Patients needing additional analysis or prolonged treatment are hospitalized.

In Our Region

In Sofia (Bulgaria’s capital), the dominant practice type is small animal; however, in the country the predominant types are mixed or mainly farm animal. Recently there has been legislation that punishes cruelty toward animals, but it has not been enforced.

Preventive medicine is still not a well-established practice among our clients. Pet neutering is not obligatory in Bulgaria, and clients perform this procedure rarely or when medically necessary. For end-stage diseases, we offer euthanasia with client consent; for other cases that are less medically involved, clients may still prefer to perform euthanasia instead of treatment because of financial concerns.

Clinician's Brief

Most clients consider their pets as family members, especially when pets are young and healthy. When the pet needs special medical attention, some clients invest money and time to cure the pet, whereas others are more likely to perform euthanasia or abandon the animal somewhere outside the city.

Bulgaria has several professional associations: The Union of Veterinarians in Bulgaria, mainly involving state veterinarians; the Bulgarian Veterinary Union, created several years ago by the government with the intent to collect membership from practitioners; and the BASAV, Bulgaria’s exclusive organizer of seminars, congresses, and CE events.

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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This article is published as part of the Global Edition of Clinician's Brief. Through partnership with the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, the Global Edition provides educational resources to practitioners around the world.


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