Volunteer Training Opportunity for Students

IVM-banner-studentsWorld Vets International Veterinary Medicine (IVM) Program held in Granada, Nicaragua, is a surgical and veterinary training program for veterinary, pre-veterinary and technician students who wish to gain clinical as well as practical veterinary experience. In addition to surgical instruction (provided to veterinary students), you will participate in a multi-disciplinary veterinary program and cultural experience that not only will enhance your education, but will also give you a broader understanding of international veterinary medicine.

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The bulk of program activities will take place at World Vets Latin America Veterinary Training Center which is equipped with central oxygen, pulse oximeters, fluid pumps, an autoclave, centrifuge and ultrasound machine. We are also able to perform some basic diagnostic tests such as blood and tissue smears, fecal flotations, PCV/TP, and urinalysis.

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All surgeries are performed on community animals that require sterilization. Members of the local community own most of the surgical patients, but homeless cats and dogs are also considered for sterilization.  These much needed spay/neuter services, as well as any additional medical treatments, are provided free of charge to pet owners and the community.  Although it is a training facility, patient care and patient needs are always our top priority, so patient comfort and appropriate pain management is always implemented.


How much will it cost?

The 2016 program fee for students is $1,550 USD. For these sessions, students will be required to pay a deposit of $400 USD at the time of registration. The remaining amount ($1150 USD) will be due at later date posted on the specific session page. Due to a longer duration, the full 2016 Summer IVM Session 1 Program fee is $1795 USD, again, only a deposit of $400 USD is due at the time of registration. The remaining amount ($1395) will be due at a later date and posted on the summer session page.  All remaining amounts will need to be paid via a personal check made out to “World Vets” and payable in US currency. If you reside outside of North America, please inquire about alternative payment options.

What’s included:

World Vets scrub top, volunteer kit, pre-trip planning and coordination (per the program’s itinerary), accommodations for 7 nights (for the session dates listed), breakfast with accommodations, lunches on clinic days, airport transfers per established meeting times, one on one instruction, a group activity (carriage ride and boat tour) as well as all supplies and full participation in the program.

What’s NOT included:

Airfare, optional excursions, incidentals, travel and/or health insurance, dinner and snacks, personal equipment necessary for the course, World Vets membership fee ($40 USD), and anything not specifically outlined as included.

Don’t have the funds?  Click HERE for online fundraising tips!


What will I be doing?

Veterinary Students

You will have the opportunity to perform spay and neuter surgeries in a low stress environment with your own experienced veterinary instructor to guide you through the entire process. It doesn’t matter if you are a first year or fourth year vet student, or what your level of surgical experience is, you will be allowed to work at your own pace and perform as much of the surgical procedure as you and your instructor are comfortable with. Our goal is for you to be competent at performing uncomplicated spay and neuter surgeries by the end of the program. You will also assist pre-veterinary and technician students with pre-operative and post-operative procedures on your patients. 

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Pre-veterinary and Technician Students

You will work under the guidance of licensed technician and veterinary instructors. You will learn how to prepare patients for surgery, such as performing complete physical exams, administering pre-anesthetic medications, catheter and endotracheal tube placement, bladder expression, anesthetic induction, and monitoring of patients while under anesthesia. You will also assist with post-operative recovery of patients. This program is targeted at students who do not have significant clinical experience and have not worked extensively in a veterinary clinical setting. If you already have extensive experience with the above mentioned procedures, this program is probably not going to fulfill your needs.

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Will I have the opportunity to perform other types of veterinary procedures?

Yes, we have planned a half-day community outreach clinic where you will have an opportunity to help a rural Nicaraguan community, interact with local residents and evaluate and treat local animals that often have conditions not commonly seen in US pet populations (i.e. ehrlichiosis, TVT, severe malnutrition and tick infestations, etc). During this clinic you will be working alongside US and Nicaraguan veterinarians to provide free vaccinations, deworming and basic treatments to local animals.

Our community outreach clinic also incorporates treatment of horses where you will be able to vaccinate, deworm and treat other common medical conditions. This is a good opportunity for you to get comfortable working around horses and to practice some basic procedures such as giving IM and IV injections, trimming feet, etc.

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Will I have free time to explore the area?

Yes. World Vets will arrange one day for the group to take a horse carriage ride tour of the historical downtown district of Granada, followed by a boat expedition around the “Las Isletas” in Lake Nicaragua. This will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with your local surroundings, as well as interact with other members of the group.

There is additional day with no scheduled activity so you are free to make your own arrangements. There are several tour companies in Granada that can arrange for day trips to various places such as shopping at Masaya Market, ziplining at Volcano Mombacho, cocoa and coffee farm tours, a chocolate-making class and horseback riding to name a few. There are also several spas in Granada that offer massages, manicures, pedicures etc.

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Accommodations

Student participants will stay at a colonial style home with beautiful gardens located just a few blocks away from the center of town and within walking distance from restaurants, shops and others sights. The house has hot water, a fully equipped kitchen, cable, air conditioning and ceiling fans.  Accommodations and living quarters will be shared.

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Typical Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrival Day

Today marks the official arrival day of the IVM session. You will arrive at Augusto C Sandino International Airport located in Managua, Nicaragua.  Airport code: MGA. There will be airport shuttles provide for early afternoon and evening arrivals.

Day 2: Group Activity & Orientation

In the morning you will take part in a group activity followed by orientation at the training center in the afternoon. Participants will hop in a horse drawn carriage for a tour of the city of Granada. These horses are recipients of free veterinary services as a result of World Vets equine welfare project in the city. You will then be taken down to Lake Nicaragua and get on a boat for a tour of “Las Isletas” (“Little Islands”). Once the tour is complete you will lunch at a local venue and proceed to the training center for orientation. The evening is free for participants to explore.

Day 3: Training Center Clinic Day

Today students and instructors will work out of World Vets training center and provide free spay/neuter services for community animals in need of the operation. Students will receive one on one instruction and have the opportunity to work with the following equipment; gas anesthesia, central oxygen, pulse oximeters, fluid pumps and an autoclave.  There may also exist the opportunity to perform basic diagnostic tests such as blood and tissue smears, fecal flotations, PCV/TP, and urinalysis. (More details provided under the project description on session page).

Day 4: Training Center Clinic Day

Today students and instructors will work out of World Vets training center and provide free spay/neuter services for community animals in need of the operation. Students will receive one on one instruction and have the opportunity to work with the following equipment; gas anesthesia, central oxygen, pulse oximeters, fluid pumps and an autoclave.  There may also exist the opportunity to perform basic diagnostic tests such as blood and tissue smears, fecal flotations, PCV/TP, and urinalysis.

Day 5:  Leisure Day

Take advantage of your day off and explore the area! World Vets will have 3 activities that we can arrange and you can sign up for upon your arrival. These activities include a canopy ziplining adventure, horseback riding as well as an evening excursion to the Masaya Crater and bat cave. All other activities you will need to make your own arrangements for. Any and all activities you take part in will today will be at your own expense.

Day 6: Community Outreach Day

Students will take part in a community outreach clinic today. They will be involved in assisting with health consultations and administering vaccines and preventative health medicines to cats and dogs. We will also be attending horses that show up allowing students to assist with administering vaccines and preventative health medicines to horses as well as cleaning and treating wounds and abrasions.

Day 7: Training Center Clinic Day

Today students and instructors will work out of World Vets training center and provide free spay/neuter services for community animals in need of the operation. Students will receive one on one instruction and have the opportunity to work with the following equipment; gas anesthesia, central oxygen, pulse oximeters, fluid pumps and an autoclave.  There may also exist the opportunity to perform basic diagnostic tests such as blood and tissue smears, fecal flotations, PCV/TP, and urinalysis.

Day 8: Departure Day

Today marks the official end/departure day of the session. There will be airport shuttles provided for early morning and afternoon departures.

Participants are welcome to extend their stay in Nicaragua under their own arrangements. If you are not planning to travel back to Managua with the group, you will need to make your own arrangements for departure airport transportation.

Comments from previous participants:  

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“Upon arrival I met up with a group of complete strangers from all over the world. Veterinarians, technicians, vet students, pre-vet students and volunteers all joined together to help a community. Little did I know that these strangers would later become lifelong friends and amazing mentors.” ~ Vet Student, IVM Winter 2013

“Though the clinic was not air-conditioned, I was surprised by the up to date monitoring and anesthetic equipment that we would be fortunate to use. This was a pleasant surprise as it would help to make surgeries much less stressful and ultimately improve the welfare of our patients.” ~ Vet Student,  IVM Winter 2013

” I learned more in those few days in that surgery suite then I had in my 5 credit junior surgery lab course. More importantly, I learned problem solving skills that I will benefit from throughout my career.” ~Vet Student, IVM Winter 2013

“We we’re able to help so many animals and their owners in Nicaragua. The faces of the dogs, cats, children and owners will remain in my mind, continuing to reinforce and revitalize my passion for veterinary medicine.” ~Vet Student, IVM Winter 2013

“The surgical instruction couldn’t have been better! I feel much more confident about performing even a difficult spay/neuter after this trip. Everyone was incredibly patient and supportive and it was a fantastic learning environment.” ~ Vet Student, IVM Summer 2013

“My experience with World Vets exceeded greatly my expectations. I will definitely be recommending this organization to students in the pre-vet and tech track. I learned more in one week than I did in months of shadowing.” ~ Pre-Vet Student, IVM Summer 2013

A few special notes:

  • Participants are responsible for obtaining any travel documentation required of them to enter/exit Nicaragua (i.e a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure, visa if applicable).  U.S. volunteers can find passport information at TRAVEL.STATE.GOV
  • Participants are responsible for obtaining any health requirements and/or precautions (i.e. vaccinations) prior to the course and its associated cost. World Vets is not able to provide medical advice. Participants are encouraged to consult with their family physician, nearest travel clinic and/or theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention regarding recommended immunizations and/or health precautions prior to the trip.
  • Participants are encouraged to purchase travelers insurance to cover for any unforeseen illness, injury, extreme weather causing flight delays and/or cancellations. Affordable travelers insurance, that also covers World Vets project fee in the event of a last minute cancellation, can be obtained HERE.