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International veterinary medicine programme at World Vets’ LATC

Nicaragua is the poorest country in central America, with a turbulent history involving dictatorship, civil war and natural disasters. World Vets has been working in the country since 2008 and, in 2011, set up the Latin American Training Centre (LATC) in the colonial city of Granada.

Most of the year the centre offers free-of-charge training for Latin American vets and students on how to safely perform sterilisation surgeries on dogs and cats. The vet course in Nicaragua is very focused on agriculture, so this is a valuable opportunity as they may often be called on to deal with small animals. Free-roaming dogs are a common sight across the country and although may appear to be strays, they are often owned.

More than 400 Latin American vets and students have been trained so far, and the short course covers prepping animals for surgery, anaesthesia and pain medication, as well as practical surgical techniques. This is a sustainable way to improve the standard of veterinary care, as the attendees leave to work as vets all over Nicaragua and further across central America. The LATC works with local veterinary clinics to develop a sustainable community – sick animals whose owners cannot afford veterinary care are treated, usually after referral.