After the cloud-enshrouded mountains of Fukushima, the raucous riot of sound, smell, and sight that is Taipei is a full-on assault of the senses. Street vendors line the narrow alleys of Shin Lih selling all manner of carnival-colored fruit, meat ranging from crispy chicken nuggests to readily identifiable body parts, bubble tea, hot cakes, giant stuffed pancakes, stinky tofu (true to its name) and thousands more morsels of exotica, each booth more daring in its gustatory appeal (or revulsion) than the last.
Here, we are visiting National Taiwan University, home of the Taiwan Veterinary School and one of the many partnerships CVMBS is working to build in the Far East. Of course, TU and CSU go way back to the 1950s when Dr. Isaac Newsom, an early dean of Colorado A&M’s Veterinary School, came to Taiwan to help establish its fledgling veterinary program. A tour of the hospital reveals a nine-floor facility, with nine clinical faculty members and a caseload of about 25,000 patients per year. Each year, the veterinary school enrolls 60 students into a post-high school, five-year program. A morning research exchange reveals possible areas of collaboration including tuberculosis and MRSA.
NTU also would like to partner on educational opportunities and could offer American students a unique opportunity for clinical “rotations” particularly because patient records are kept in English. The patient caseload provides a look at how cultural differences in pet ownership are reflected in commonly seen medical problems. For example, the NTU Animal Cancer Treatment Center sees many more cases of advanced mammary gland tumors because of lower rates of spay and neuter.
After scientific meetings and an extended tour of the expansive NTU campus ( the university and it’s numerous campuses cover 1 percent of Taiwan’s land mass), including its elegant library, we enjoy a traditional Taiwanese dinner with the Taiwan Veterinary Medical Association, meeting many of its members and expanding our circle of veterinary colleagues on this beautiful island nation.
On Tuesday, we head back to Tokyo for meetings at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba before heading home on Thursday.