CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of Oregon State University students, alumni, and local veterinarians is visiting the island of Ometepe, Nicaragua, from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5 to volunteer much-needed veterinary medical services for the island livestock and pets.
The 30 students from OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine will also disseminate information to island residents about animal wellness and the prevention of zoonotic diseases. The trip is being coordinated by the International Veterinary Student Association at OSU.
Six veterinarians also will go on the trip to supervise and assist the students, including one from Seattle and one from Idaho.
The student group raised funds for the trip, which they pay for themselves, through sponsorships. One effort included an adopt-a-dog program, through which American donors can help care for a Nicaraguan dog for $20. One of the students on the trip will send a photo and story about the animal and the care it was provided. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NicaraguaVeterinaryBrigade?fref=ts.
“Animal over-population is a problem on the island,” said Susan Tornquist, dean of the college. “Many of the animals are undernourished or sick.”
Last year the OSU volunteers spayed or neutered 81 dogs and cats, and castrated 22 horses and pigs.
The island has no veterinarians, so animals routinely lack even the most basic care. The OSU students acquired all of the supplies for the trip, including vaccines, medications, gauze, bandages, sutures, needles and other supplies. During the trip, they will hold eight days of clinics, where under the supervision of a veterinarian, they will perform examinations, conduct spays and neuters, treat a wide range of illness, and hold educational seminars.
“Because we have more volunteers this year, we hope to treat over 400 large and small animals,” said Ariana Borba, secretary for the student organization at OSU.