Posts by: Katie

World Vets Provides Education & Veterinary Services in Samoa


Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

Photo Credit: Amanda Saavedra/World Vets

World Vets volunteers were hard at work this past week on the Samoan islands of Upolu and Sevai’i doing everything from spay and neuter clinics, educational lectures, and even having some fun with kids at two Special Olympic health fairs. While they were there, they witnessed a culture very different from their own, where community and sharing are very much the way of life. Along with the U.S. service members and other partner nations participating in the Pacific Partnership 2013 mission (PP 2013), they integrated into the different villages of Samoa working to better their communities and the health of both the people and the animals in them.

Spay and neuter clinics were held on both Upolu and Sevai’i, where World Vet volunteers and U.S. Army veterinarians and vet techs set up free clinics at local churches and various other sites. Countless families came with their furry friends to get them spayed and neutered to better their communities. In Samoa, dogs have begun to create a problem due to overpopulation, lack of regulation and proper confinement. Many homes in Samoa are called “fallahs,” which is a home without walls. The homes are a part of communities where everything is shared among them. Naturally, these communities have no fences and many dogs run freely, contributing to the dog over population problem. Spay and neuter clinics provided by Pacific Partnership gave these communities the opportunity to bring their dogs and cats in and prevent their own pets from contributing to the problem.

An overpopulation of dogs also means dog bites are a common occurrence. World Vet volunteers and U.S. Army veterinarians visited several schools educating young children about dog bites, how to prevent them, and what to do in case they get one. The children in these schools were so eager to learn and quickly caught on to the signs of what a mean, scared, or unthreatening dog looks like. US Army vets also spoke about the importance of washing ones hands after petting animals and even gave the kids a great way to remember how long hands should be washed for by singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with them. With these tools given to the children Vets are hope that not only will the information be passed on to their families at home, but that dog bites will be prevented in the future.

World Vet volunteers and U.S. Army Veterinarians also held educational lectures for the members of the Animal Protection Society in Upolu and those who work in the meat industry. Lectures covered everything from body scoring of horses, learning about new drugs available for neutering dogs, proper physical examinations of both large and small animals and properly preparing animals for slaughtering and the process that follows. These lectures brought the local veterinarians and “para-vets” up to date on the latest information and also ways to complete procedures and examinations with what the local community has, making the procedures and examinations available to them in the future.

On both Sevai’i and Upolu, World Vet volunteers and U.S. Army vets joined other U.S. service members Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and other partner nation service members of PP 2013 for Special Olympic eligibility health fairs. While children were checked-out by various members of the PP 2013 medical team they were given the opportunity to learn about preventing dog bites and color in books featuring their unique furry friends. With more than 100 kids in attendance, many children got to meet with veterinarians for some fun and learning. Some vets even got to throw around a rugby ball with the kids participating in the events.

Samoa is just the beginning of the Pacific Partnership 2013 mission and World Vets has already accomplished so much. After departing Samoa, World Vets, other NGO’s, partner nations, and U.S. service members will be heading towards Tonga, where more exciting and community based projects are waiting.

*This article was written by Amanda Saavedra, World Vets photojournalist on board the 2013 Pacific Partnership mission

World Vets Helps Animals Impacted by Tornado in Oklahoma, USA

942279_10151369423591571_720522014_nIn response to the tornado that hit Oklahoma this month, World Vets teamed up with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and BlogPaws to help animals impacted by the disaster.

World Vets set up a tornado relief fundraiser that provided direct support to three organizations operating in the area. The recipient organizations were the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Relief Fund and the Pampered Pets Veterinary Clinic Disaster Relief. We also sent a  truckload of veterinary and pet 941767_10151373418956571_1194790480_nsupplies that were delivered as part of a shipment organized by local Fargo, North Dakota TV station Valley News Live. These donated supplies were set up next to the “Reunion Facility” for owners that had been recently reunited with their pets to “shop” for food, crates, toys and more.

A huge thank you is in order to all of those who have supported us and our partners; BlogPaws, American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and Pet360, and everyone who contributed to our tornado relief fundraiser – it made a huge difference in the lives of both pets and pet owners affected by the disaster.

Love at First Sight: The Story of Puma


Dr. Joe Zulty in recovery with Puma after his leg amputation. World Vets Cusco, Peru project 2012.

It begins in the stone streets of Cusco, an ancient city of 600 thousand people, constructed by the Incas in the magnificent Andes mountains at 3,400 meters above sea level.  There are many dogs in the streets, in doorways, everywhere.  Unlike those of the U.S., these dogs are very talented.  They know how to negotiate the streets, to stop at corners, and incredible how to avoid traffic.

Well, maybe not all of them.

On day two of World Vets spay/neuter clinic, three members of the Peruvian National Police, dressed in green uniforms, appearing strict and emotionless, delivered two dogs that had been running the streets.   Both were discovered with 2 other dogs, all four belonging to a woman who loved them but unfortunately was not capable of providing for them.  The older of the

Dr. Joe Zulty with Puma following World Vets project in Maryland, USA.

Dr. Joe Zulty with Puma following World Vets project in Maryland, USA.

two was scruffy but OK, the younger one however needed our help.  He had a paw that was completely paralyzed and severely swollen. Its appearance was that of the paw of the Puma in the ancient wall of the Saqsayhuaman ruins.  And there was something else worth mentioning.  Perhaps another sign from the Incas, I am not sure.  It is that moment in time that captures your heart and gives a true relevance to why we do what we do.

One of the police officers, a woman who was especially very quiet and very reserved, spoke not with words but with the hardly noticeable tears in her eyes.  Those wet eyes touched me, made their way to my heart, and reinforced what the Incas were trying to tell me.

So the next day, on the last day of clinic, with the help of local Peruvian veterinarian, Dr. Carmen Caceres, the paw that touched but did not feel the surface of the street, was removed.  Incredibly this dog, just 2 hours after surgery, was awake, standing, and wagging his tail!   That was when one of World Vets volunteers stated, “It is not too difficult to take a dog back to the U.S.  We brought a dog back from Ecuador on a past World Vets project.”

With the  assistance of Monica  Chacon of Pataz Pro Animalista Cusco, officer Glenda Anchea Garavito, Dr. Edgar Ochoa and his colleagues at Lazzie Vet Clinic, and the spiritual support of the Incas, the process  of transporting a dog from one hemisphere to another became a reality.   The forces were too strong.  It was meant to be I suppose.  In the airport in Cusco, my son Zack and I , with our new pet Puma, said goodbye to our friends from Cusco and of course the conversation was full of tears.  But special moments like this do not come often.  I was proud to be a veterinarian.  I was proud of having worked with people who make a difference in the life of an animal.  And I am pretty sure the ancient Incas were smiling from above.

**This article was written by Dr. Joe Zulty, a World Vets field service veterinarian. This article reflects his participation on World Vets Cusco, Peru project in 2012 when Puma was assisted and then adopted. Dr. Zulty is leading a World Vets small animal project to Sosua, Dominican Republic in November 2013. Read more about this volunteer opportunity here.

 World Vets has an upcoming volunteer opportunity to Cusco, Peru operating September 28 – October 5, 2013. Volunteer positions remain open for the tech/student category. This position can be filled by licensed vet techs, non-licensed vet techs, vet students, pre-vet students and vet tech students. Read more about this volunteer opportunity here

July & August Volunteer Opportunities still available for Veterinarians

130323_1610Volunteer veterinarians are still needed for two small animal projects that are scheduled to take place this summer in Ecuador (July) and Nicaragua (August). World Vets has been working in both areas since 2009 and has well established spay/neuter and animal health projects in and around Otavalo/Ibarra, Ecuador and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

On a small animal project, veterinarians are typically involved in 130322_1278providing sterilization surgeries for cats and dogs, medical diagnosis and treatment, health consultations, and may be involved in performing other surgeries, teaching and/or instruction to students and/or local volunteers or pet owners.

Aside from three full days of veterinary work, volunteers will have free time to explore the local area and/or do some sightseeing and activities. Whether you like the beach or the mountains, either location has much to offer as a travel destination.

Read more about volunteer opportunity in Ecuador (July 17 – 24, 2013)

Read more about volunteer opportunity in Nicaragua (August 3 – 10, 2013)

World Vets Equine Welfare Clinic in Nicaragua

601726_603464746330298_1442177817_nWorld Vets recently deployed a volunteer veterinary team to Granada, Nicaragua as part of our equine welfare project in the area. Our team, along with Nicaraguan veterinarians and students, held a free equine welfare clinic in and around the city which benefited 300 horses.

This clinic targeted carriage and cart horses whose owners can`t afford veterinary services for their working equines. Services included parasite control, hoof and dental work, vaccinations, castrations, pregnancy checks, wound treatments, mass 401841_648067338552532_1668835080_nremovals and more!

This project is generously supported by Fondation Brigitte Bardot.

See pictures


World Vets “Wonder Women” in Grenada

Team GrenadaIn April World Vets sent an all female volunteer veterinary team to St. George’s, Grenada. There they worked in collaboration with the Grenada SPCA as well as students from St. George’s University. Together we provided a large scale spay/neuter and animal health campaign which resulted in animals from all over the island benefiting from our free services. We’d like to thank World Vets veterinary volunteers as well as  GSPCA and St. George’s University for all of their support in making our visit and campaign a reality.

See pictures

Accepting New Project Requests for 2014

World Vets Cusco Peru World Vets strives to work in partnership with foreign animal welfare groups, veterinary professionals, local and national governments and NGO’s as well as their respective agencies responsible for animal welfare, agriculture and public health. Throughout the year World Vets sends volunteer veterinary teams, who work in collaboration with many of these entities, to provide free veterinary services to animals in need. More specifically, we provide skilled teams of veterinary professionals to execute large scale community and/or island wide veterinary care.

Team Zanzibar If you would like to request that a World Vets team visit your area in the coming year to provide free veterinary services, please send an email to to receive our official requesting veterinary assistance form.This form must be filled out by a member of the requesting organization and/or animal welfare or volunteer group who resides in the requesting project location.

To be considered for a veterinary team visit we must receive a completed requesting veterinary assistance form from you by if not before the deadline posted. The prospective project must also be located in a developing country and there must be a strong existing base of local support or at least the ability to create such partnerships that would aid and/or host a World Vets campaign. All of World Vets services are provided free. Our services should not be seen and/or solicited to serve as an income generating opportunity for requesting organizations.  Read more about requesting veterinary assistance here

We will be accepting new project requests for 2014 until August 1st, 2013.


1 Spot Left on our Pilot Project to Suriname!

Suriname dog2There is just 1 TECH/STUDENT position left open for our June 2013 pilot project to Paramaribo, Suriname, located in South America.

Join us in this new project location to be part of and provide a three day large scale sterilization campaign for cats and dogs. There will also be time for leisure to explore the surrounding area and sights. Read more about this volunteer opportunity here

The “Tech/Student “position is open to licensed and non-licensed veterinary Suriname2technicians as well as pre – veterinary students, veterinary students and veterinary technology students. To learn more about the anticipated activities and tasks under this category, see volunteer descriptions.



Making the Impossible, Possible

Peca & OwnerPecas 1Pecas 2“Pecas”, a 13 year old female dog, arrived at our most recent spay/neuter and animal outreach clinic held last month in San Andres Island. Overall she was in good shape and generally well looked after. However, over her lifetime she had had countless litters and was still cycling in her old age. For fear that she would accidentally become pregnant again, her owner wanted to have “Pecas” spayed. While this was not an uncommon scenario, what made this case especially unique was that “Pecas” had recently been diagnosed heartworm positive by a local veterinarian. She was also discovered to have a fast heart rate and murmur. It was claimed that because of this condition she would not likely survive the surgery.

Our team spoke at length to the owner and advised on the ideal way to get “Pecas” spayed – with gas anesthesia and more monitoring equipment – luxuries that were not present at our field condition clinic. Unfortunately this was not a viable option either as such equipment did not exist on the island for animals and the owner could not afford to fly “Pecas” to the Colombian mainland for the procedure.

After much consideration and being made aware of the risks involved, “Pecas” owner elected to have the surgery done as he believed it was in her best interest. Even though we did not have a fancy surgical suite, we did have on hand an AliveCor heart monitor to run an EKG as well as monitor “Pecas” heart rate. World Vets veteran Dr. Michelle Ward monitored “Pecas” with the AliveCor while Dr. Barry Nichols performed the surgery. Upon her return to the United States, Dr. Ward had the EKG analyzed, which confirmed that there were no EKG abnormalities. We would like to thank Antech for donating their services in the EKG analysis.

We are happy to report that “Pecas” recovered very smoothly from the anesthesia and had been doing great following her discharge from the clinic. In the end, the owner was very happy that he had decided to do the surgery and that World Vets had come to the island making her surgery impossible to possible.

Pecas 3 Pecas discharge 1

IVM Program Spring Session Results

WorldVetsGroup19During the whole month of March, World Vets operated its International Veterinary Medicine (IVM) Program out of its Training Center facility located in Granada, Nicaragua.This program is specifically designed for veterinary, pre-veterinary and technician students who wish to gain clinical and practical experience, in addition to immersion within the field of international veterinary medicine. This program also provides volunteer opportunities for licensed veterinarians as well as licensed veterinary technicians as instructors.

As a result of this program, 214 spay/neuter surgeries were performed (during the month of March) on community owned animals that were in need of the operation.  These much needed spay/neuter services, as well as any additional medical treatments, were provided free of charge to pet owners and the community.


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