Team of OSU Vet Med Students Set Volunteer Effort in Nicaragua


CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of Oregon State University veterinary medicine students will journey to Nicaragua at the end of fall term to spend two weeks in remote villages providing veterinary care to large animals, conducting public outreach and education, and hosting free spay and neuter clinics.

The seven students are part of the International Veterinary Student Association chapter at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Brianna Beechler, a third-year veterinary student from Maupin and secretary of the OSU chapter, said the demand for veterinary services exceeds the supply of trained veterinarians in Nicaragua.

“They do have some large animal vets trained in veterinary schools in Nicaragua, as well as others trained in the community,” Beechler said. “But it isn’t unusual for a vet to rotate through a village only once every three months. And the need for veterinary care in developing countries is critical.

“So much of the people’s health depends on the health of their animals,” she pointed out. “If they get parasites, the people can get parasites, too, whether it’s from their milk, the meat, or other forms of transmission.”

During their Nicaragua visit Dec. 9-22, the OSU students will treat the villages’ large animals – primarily cows, goats and work horses – with parasite control medicines and provide vaccinations. They also will counsel animal owners on the latest information on nutrition. And they will hold free spay and neuter clinics to help the villages deal with skyrocketing populations of feral cats and dogs.

Many of the supplies for the trip have been donated by industry, especially Bayer and Novartis. Additional donations of veterinary medicine supplies or money to help the students pay for their trip also are encouraged, Beechler said. An account has been set up through the OSU Foundation; more information is available by calling Beechler at 541-740-5716.

Other students confirmed for the trip, in addition to Beechler, are third-year veterinary students Jennifer Fitzpatric, Rhonda Reaves and Katie Thonstad; second-year students Sara Neilson and Brad Barnett; and first-year student Ruth McDevitt.