|Suturing post surgery with the supervision of Dr. Carvajal|
VIDA is a nonprofit organization that sends groups of students to third world countries in Central America. The participants are comprised of mainly pre-vet, med, and dental students who are given the rare opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience while aiding the disadvantaged communities of people and the overpopulation of stray animals that inhabit the area. The majority of these people are living in poverty, making less than $2 a day, and don't have the necessary knowledge or resources to care for their pets or children, let alone themselves.
|Ometepe Island, Nicaragua|
During our small animal clinic days, the student groups were able to remain with their patient throughout the stations of the clinic. We began by performing thorough physical exams on dogs, noting all abnormalities. For those intended for spay or neuter surgery, we were able to calculate dosages and administer the pre medications and anesthetics necessary for sedation during surgery. During surgery, students actively participated by performing incisions, ligatures, removing reproductive organs and unnecessary tissue, and eventually suturing (stitching) the epidermal layers.
|VIDA veterinary team taking a rest|
Being able to actively partake in every aspect of a vet clinic is a unique opportunity that I would not be able to find anywhere in the United States. We were given real life opportunities to perform the duties of a veterinarian and be responsible for a patient’s life. It was truly an amazing feeling to leave the program knowing that we helped save animals lives, improved the welfare of those that were malnourished and ill, and prevented unwanted lives that would otherwise not be cared for.
The whole experience left me with overwhelming feelings of empowerment and happiness derived from helping those in need, communicating with the locals in their native tongue, and being able to accomplish advanced veterinary tasks at this stage. These accomplishments were the motivations that kept me excited about the next days’ clinic work after a long, grueling day in our humid work space and even more so about my future in the veterinary medical field.
I want to thank CANIDAE so very much for offering me this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit such a beautiful country and offer my time, knowledge and compassion towards enhancing the welfare of so many underprivileged people and neglected animals. There are millions of stray and abandoned animals all over the world, and several organizations through which you can volunteer/donate. I encourage everyone to look outside of their own borders and to help the communities that need it most.