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Story and Photos by Maka Kapanadze | Project Assistant | Heifer Georgia

The Heifer International project, Animal Health Management in Cross-Border Areas of Armenia and Georgia, held a joint workshop for veterinarians in Borjomi, Georgia, April 4-5, 2013. The workshop raised awareness for management of a private veterinary business and the principles and aspects of successful veterinary services.

Andris Zalitis, veterinary-surgeon of Vidzemes Veterinaries Service in Latvia, led the workshop in cooperation with the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) foundation and with the financial support of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).

Ten veterinarians from each target cross-border region attended the workshop with CARD and ADC representatives, Heifer Georgia staff and other representatives from local governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Zalitis caught the attention of participants with his thorough knowledge, remarkable experiences and well-selected visual aids. The fact that Latvia, his country of origin, has transitioned toward the development that Georgia and Armenia are passing through now brought Zalitis much closer to the participants' problems.

The first session focused on private veterinary business development opportunities, which appeared to be of great interest to participants. They discussed the status, value and role of newly created veterinary service units and how providing high-quality services increases trust between veterinary associations and farmers. He also discussed ways to raise the awareness of veterinary specialists and help them improve their skills and further their self-development.

Zalitis also compared veterinary service development in Latvia during 1992-2012 and the present situation of Georgia and Armenia, discussing the issues in historical context. He explained structure, characteristics and nuances of veterinary organizations and gave examples from Latvia on successful livestock management that resulted in the growth of milk yield over the past decade.

The second session covered control and prevention of calf diseases. Much attention was paid to the prevention and treatment of E. coli, Rotavirus, Coronavirus, cryptosporidiosis, coccidiosis, Salmonella, nasal infection and pneumonia.

The trainer explained the importance and nutritional value of colostrum, and participating veterinarians shared their knowledge and expertise on the calving process, including complex deliveries, situation assessment and decision making.

After the closing session, which centered on economics, participants evaluated the workshop as successful and essential to build the capacity of Armenian and Georgian veterinarians and create a sustainable network for effective livestock management.

The workshop was successful thanks to the efficient effort of all involved. It established networking among Armenian and Georgian veterinarians and gave participants the opportunity to begin listing topics to discuss during future workshops.

Armenian and Georgian veterinarians, CARD foundation and Heifer Georgia express sincere gratitude to ADC for the financial and technical assistance to promote livestock development in Armenia and Georgia.

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.