Prof Simon Priestnall, Treasurer, European Division and Board Member, Davis Thompson Foundation
Dr Tamara Dolenšek, Eastern European Representative, European Division, Davis Thompson Foundation
25-27th May 2022, Ohrid, Republic of North Macedonia
After a two-year delay imposed by a certain virus, pathologists and trainees from more than 12 countries gathered by the beautiful azure blue waters of Lake Ohrid in the mountains on the border between N Macedonia and Albania. Dr Trpe Ristoski and his team from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje organised a truly memorable three-day meeting. Foundation CEO Dr Paco Uzal, UC Davis presented the alimentary and respiratory pathology of ruminants, pigs and horses. Dr Uzal held the attention of participants throughout with active audience participation, something we have all missed in the last two years of virtual meetings, and beautiful gross and histopathological images. His use of first-hand case examples, such as the crucial role of the veterinary pathologist in early recognition of vesicles caused by foot and mouth disease virus, highlight his extensive experience. Dr Ristoski presented a great overview of infectious viral diseases of cats and dogs and discussed a project he is leading to increase the immunohistochemical diagnostic capabilities for these infections in N Macedonia. At the end of the first day we were treated to a wonderful walking tour of the old city of Ohrid. Our guide discussed the long and interesting history of a city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural as well as Natural site. Incorporated into the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires and latterly part of the former Yugoslavia the city features beautifully preserved churches and mosques, side by side, which illustrate this complex past. The tour allowed participants to mix and share experiences and ideas in beautiful surroundings. The final day of the meeting was devoted to dermatopathology expertly delivered by Dr Monika Welle, Vetsuisse Faculty Bern. Dr Welle discussed pattern recognition, anatomy and diseases of the hair follicle and engaged the audience with ‘boards-style’ case discussions. Many participants greatly appreciated seeing excellent gross and clinical images of diseases often only described on a submission form or viewed histologically. The meeting culminated in a boat tour of Lake Ohrid – sailing along under the Balkan sun, viewing the breath-taking forested mountains (with snow still on the peaks) and listening to Balkan hits, new friends and fond memories were made by all. As the first face-to-face Foundation meeting in Europe post-pandemic it was a truly memorable event and great way to relaunch the Foundation’s in person meetings.