In veterinary medicine, there are many international and non-international summer programs available for veterinary students. Through these programs, vet students like me can explore diverse fields in veterinary medicine, visit new countries and enrich themselves with other cultures. Here, I have made a list of great veterinary programs where you can gain surgical experience:
VIDA Veterinary program: Organized by a non-profit organization to provide spay and neuter services in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. They have two programs the pre-veterinary and advanced veterinary program. In the advanced veterinary programs, students may perform surgeries if they have completed the surgery course in vet school. All students can assist during surgical preparation, in patient physical exams, catheter placement, sedation techniques, anesthesia induction and intubation. The program is only 9 days. You have 2 days for recreational activities and 4 days in the clinic. The cost of the trip is around $1,600 to $1,950; price varies depending on the country. I heard great things about these programs from pre-vets and vet students whom traveled to Peru and received a lot of hands on experience.
World Vets International Veterinary Medicine: Provide volunteer and surgical training for vet students at any level. This program has tons of opportunities in small animal, equine, and wildlife medicine around the world. Some places where World Vet clinics are established include Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, and India to name a few. This program is 6 days and you receive individualized and rigorous training by a veterinary mentor in surgery. Students are able get a lot of hands on experience in spay and neuter techniques. The cost of the program is around $1,095 – $1,700.
One of my classmates, Chantel Simmons said her experience in Ecuador doing World Vets was nothing short of amazing! She was able to aid a small community called Otavalo and provide health care to their pets as well as learn so much about their beautiful culture. She performed numerous spays and neuters for dogs and cats as well as provided general wellness checks and treated the animals accordingly. She would highly recommend this unique experience.
The Humane Society Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS) Program: A non-profit veterinary outreach program that provides high quality care to animals in impoverished communities and mentorship to veterinary students. It allows veterinary students to gain clinical experience in the small animal field, community outreach, surgery, and anesthesia. Students can work in Native nation clinics located in North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Arizona. The U. S Surgery /Medicine Teaching in North Dakota is 4 days of small animal spay/neuter and 2 days of vaccination and wellness services, surgeries vary by clinic and days. Students receive training materials for anesthesia and surgery techniques. They take a practical skill assessment on suture patterns, medical records, anesthesia set up before starting the program. Students must pay their travel expenses and create a fundraising campaign ($200-$500).
My classmate Daniela Martin participated in this program last June and she stated she left the Dakotas with a newfound love for field medicine and an even greater respect for our Native American communities. RAVS allowed her to work one-on-one with different veterinarians from across the US resulting in new clinical and surgical skills. This program was hard work, but she does not regret it for one second and looks forward to working with RAVS in the future.