World Vets has been operating veterinary field service projects in Latin America since 2008. During our time working in this region of the world, we experienced that many local veterinarians and veterinary students with whom we worked had received minimal, if any, surgical instruction and in turn did not perform sterilizations. Meanwhile dog and cat populations ran rampant as the local capacity to de-sex animals, and thus humanely control their reproduction, was limited to non-existent.
To address the gap in veterinary surgical skill, in addition to animal population control efforts, World Vets founded the Latin America Veterinary Training Center (LATC) in 2011. The main objective, and cornerstone of the center, is to provide free surgical instruction and training to Latin American veterinarians and upper level veterinary students. As such, it is our aim to equip trainee participants with the necessary skills and competence they can in turn use to benefit the animals in their own communities. The center also prides itself on teaching as well as practicing high quality veterinary care. Subsequently, the facility is equipped with modern equipment such as central oxygen, pulse oximeters and fluid pumps, as well as an autoclave, ultrasound and microscope.
The LATC is located in Nicaragua and since its inception has established relations with all the veterinary schools in the country. It has even received acknowledgements from such institutions regarding the invaluable skills our training has provided its students. The LATC training program has also developed to the point where weekly sessions are offered year round and we host participants from many Latin American countries such as Mexico, Guatemala and Paraguay. We have also incorporated an ongoing internship program, which allows those selected to obtain greater clinical experience and mentorship.
Furthermore, as a result of the activities at the LATC, World Vets is able to provide thousands of free sterilizations and health treatments every year for local animals in Nicaragua. We operate daily pick ups/drop offs for animals living in outlying rural communities, which make spay/neuter and other needed veterinary services accessible for those who otherwise could not afford it. We even operate outreach clinics in other nearby areas benefiting animals, due to distance, do not have access to the LATC or our pick up/drop off service.
Often times we also encounter unique or emergency cases that require immediate attention. One such animal was Pinta. She had an old wound that had been growing and growing on her left hind leg. Her owners were very concerned but admitted they were not able to afford the transport into the city and the associated veterinary costs. Although challenging to the size of the wound, our LATC team was able to clean the wound of old tissue and close it enough to allow it to heal. After three weeks in our care, Pinta is almost healed and ready to go back to her family! Unfortunately without care, Pinta was unlikely to survive the infection. As Pinta’s case highlights, many local animals benefit greatly from the free services provided at the LATC, not only from spay/neuter but life saving veterinary interventions.
In short, the LATC greatly benefits its immediate community and beyond through the training and mentorship provided to its trainee participants. What’s more, it also provides essential veterinary services for local animals and rural communities who otherwise may never have access to quality veterinary care. If you support capacity building of future and present veterinary professionals, and if you believe that all animals deserve access to skilled veterinary care, we encourage you to support our Latin America Veterinary Training Center! We also accept corporate sponsorships and welcome other partnership opportunities.