All ISL Vet Teams are “service-learning” in the truest sense.  Experiential learning is the hallmark of Latin American veterinary training, and it is appropriate that we use the Latin American system of instruction while working in their countries.

According to student levels of academic training and experience, ISL Vet Teams do not just observe, but fully participate in their clinical experiences.  Vet school students, for example, may assist in the local spay/neuter clinics of dogs and cats, as well as in immunization and other injective procedures for farm animals—all done under the close supervision and assistance of licensed host country veterinarians.

At the discretion of the supervising vet clinician, and based upon student academic and clinical experience, pre-vet students may also participate in a variety of clinical procedures.

Activities common to most ISL Vet Teams:

  • Community vet health surveying and screenings through family and farm visits
  • Wildlife veterinary field trips
  • Vitamins for cattle, horses, donkeys, and pigs
  • Neuter/spay clinics for smaller animals
  • Application of vaccines (seasonal) and immunizations
  • Clinics to provide vaccinations and immunizations for parasite control and nutrition supplements
  • Dental care for animals
  • Parasite medication and application
  • Parasitic hygiene education
  • Urgent animal care in the field
  • Practice and history of indigenous veterinary techniques and medicines
  • Primer in veterinary medical Spanish
  • Community veterinary health education programs
  • Types of feed and their nutritional value for cattle and horses
  • Castration of animals
  • Breeds of cattle and their relative appropriateness for the climate and conditions in Central America
  • New methods of intensive cattle production (experimental farm in Ometepe, Nicaragua)
  • Risks posed by vampire bats to animals
  • Application of bat poison to wounds on cattle and horses
  • Visit to vet school for tropical vet medicine seminar

How to determine your level of participation:

  • Follow the advice of your field clinic supervisors—they can help you evaluate your capabilities.
  • Do a self evaluation–evaluate your own capabilities based on previous experience and training.  You may choose NOT to participate in any aspect of veterinary care.

ISL always follows the policies of the local Health Ministry or supervising school or hospital, and we believe that students can and should be a vital part of the provision of veterinary services for the millions who do without. But remember:  this experience is not about you—it’s about serving the underserved, while respecting their rights.

Preparation and Orientation Seminars (in addition to the training activities listed above)

  • Comparison of the vet health care delivery systems of the host country to those in the U.S., Canada, and Europe
  • Importance of community veterinary education and public health
  • Review of standard safety precautions and waste materials disposal
  • Basic veterinary Spanish or Swahili, depending on location



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