Volunteer Training Opportunity for Students

IVM-banner-studentsWorld Vets International Veterinary Medicine (IVM) Program 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.

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. Although it is a training program, patient care and patient needs are always our top priority, so patient comfort and appropriate pain management is always implemented.

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. 

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, and we recommend you volunteer on a veterinary field project

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

Yes, as part of the IVM Program we incorporate a half-day community outreach clinic where you will have an opportunity to help a local 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 provide free vaccinations, deworming and basic treatments to local animals. Depending on the location of the outreach activity, you may also have the opportunity to work with and treat livestock such as sheep, cattle, pigs, in addition to horses.

Will I have free time to explore the area?

Yes. World Vets will arrange one day for a group activity, and there is an additional day with no scheduled activity so you are free to make your own arrangements. Specific activities and excursions may vary depending on the location where the IVM Program will be operated.


Accommodations may vary depending on the location where the IVM Program may be operated. Nevertheless, IVM participants can expect to stay in similar lodging as this; a colonial style home or beautiful inn located just a few blocks away from the center of town and within walking distance from restaurants, shops and others sights.  Accommodations and living quarters will be shared.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrival Day

Today marks the official arrival day of the IVM session. There will be two airport shuttles provided for arrivals. This typically how they will be scheduled:

Pick up #1: Early afternoon/evening arrivals (i.e. no later than 7 PM)

Pick up #2: Late night arrivals (i.e. 11 PM – 12 AM)

Day 2:  Group Activity & Orientation

In the morning you will take part in a group activity followed by orientation.

Day 3 & 4:  Clinic/Surgical Days

Today students and instructors will work to provide low volume 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 various types of equipment. 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 | Free Time

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.

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 may also be attending horses (depending on location) allowing students to assist with administering vaccines and preventative health medicines to horses as well as cleaning and treating wounds and abrasions.

Day 7: Clinic/Surgical Day

Today students and instructors will work to provide low volume 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 various types of equipment. 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 after the IVM Program under their own arrangements. If you are not planning to travel back to the airport with the group, you will need to make your own arrangements for departure airport transportation.

Project Fee

Please see specific IVM session page for the student program fee.  A deposit will be due at the time of registration and the remaining balance will be owed at a later date. Before you register, please ensure you do not have any scheduling conflicts that may impact your participation as program fees (both deposits and full payments) are non-refundable and/or non-transferrable to other trips and/or persons.

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 specific session dates listed), breakfast with accommodations, lunches on clinic/veterinary service days, airport transfers per established meeting times on the official arrival and departure dates of your session, one on one instruction, a group activity 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 (i.e. watch, water bottle), World Vets membership fee ($40 USD), and anything not specifically outlined as included.

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

A few special notes

  • 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 responsible for obtaining any travel documentation required of them to enter/exit the country hosting the IVM Program (i.e a passport that does not expire 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 encouraged to purchase travellers insurance to cover for any unforeseen illness, injury, extreme weather causing flight delays and/or cancellations. Affordable travellers insurance, that also covers World Vets project fee in the event of a last minute cancellation, can be obtained HERE.
  • The gloves provided on World Vets projects are made with latex. Volunteers who have a latex allergy will need to provide their own gloves for this project.
  • World Vets is able to accommodate vegetarians on this program. However, we will notable to accommodate any specialty diets such as vegan, kosher and/or gluten free etc. Those who have strict dietary restrictions will need to bring their own supplements and/or snacks for the program. The gloves provided as part of this program are made with latex. If you have a latex allergy, you will need to supply your own gloves for this program.

Comments from previous participants:  










“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