Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life SciencesCityU positions itself to become leader in veterinary medicine

CityU positions itself to become leader in veterinary medicine

The university’s commercial diagnostic lab and animal hospital promote cutting-edge research

With its commercial diagnostic laboratory and animal hospital, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has a close eye on emerging diseases in the city, says Veterinary Medical Centre executive director Duncan Hockley.

The medical centre, which is a small animal hospital, sees roughly 3,500 cases a month, staffed by 35 veterinarians, including services by 10 specialty disciplines such as cardiology and internal medicine. Opened in 2019, it is one of the largest veterinary centres in Southeast Asia.

“This is the platform where students receive their clinical education and training, and the avenue where we can implement clinical research on emerging diseases or health trends,” says Hockley.

CityU has a “One Health” agenda, he explains, and this involves seeing human, animal and environmental health as interconnected. “We are fostering a leading hospital providing a clinical service with cutting-edge technology that enables these clinicians not only to provide excellent client care, but also perform research as well as clinical teaching and education,” he says. 

The centre acts as a referral hub and so it receives “difficult cases and conditions that are uncommonly seen by local veterinarians”, he says. 

As part of its One Health agenda, the Veterinary Medical Centre and university staff will offer Covid-testing for small mammals and is planning to facilitate lodging for pets whose owners have tested positive for the virus and need to undergo mandatory quarantine.

CityU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is operated by specialist veterinary diagnosticians. The laboratory offers diagnostic services to the centre and other vet clinics, as well as providing research services to the government. Hockley says the laboratory aims to be the leading veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Asia.

Acting as an interface between academia and the public “demands excellence within our clinical practice, and it’s a great model for students to see how a fast-paced clinic works”, Hockley says.

The Veterinary Medical Centre will soon launch a Veterinary Wellness Centre, which will provide health screenings and vaccinations for animals. “It actually provides something that is really needed within veterinary education,” Hockley says. “The cases that come into our Veterinary Medical Centre are very complex, but the more students perform physical exams on healthy pets, the better they will be able to detect when something is abnormal.”

CityU’s range of veterinary services encourages collaborations with scholars within the institution, as well as the wider community. The laboratory supports the government with its research programmes, as well as providing services to other universities and veterinary clinics. For example, the clinic assisted the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department with its detector dog breeding programme so they no longer had to import dogs. 

The centre also undertakes charity and community work with different groups in Hong Kong. “We have a very extensive network,” Hockley says. “We try to be part of the community in Hong Kong and internationally, whether that’s with veterinarians, community groups or government agencies.”

Because of its location in Hong Kong, the centre and laboratory has about 17 nationalities represented by its staff. “This is something we’re very proud of,” Hockley says. “We’re trying to bring knowledge from across the world into Hong Kong and establish ourselves as a  leading provider of veterinary medicine across Asia.” 

Duncan Hockley

Duncan Hockley is the executive director and board member for CityU Veterinary Health Group and CityU Veterinarian Diagnostic Laboratory, subsidiaries owned by City University of Hong Kong. Previously, he had leadership roles at Purdue University and the University of Saskatchewan veterinary programs. He has more than 12 years’ experience in corporate senior executive leadership roles in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.

Find out more about the Veterinary Medical Centre at CityU.

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