WCVM students journey beyond borders

WCVM student Steve Kruzeniski, who travelled to Ghana with the VWB/VSF student program in 2010, will spend time in Uganda this year. Photo: Steve Kruzeniski

Veterinarians Without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières (VWB/VSF – Canada) has selected six students from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine to be part of its 12-member student program for 2012.

This summer, WCVM students Colin Taylor, Rebecca Jackson, Graham Ellingsen, Andrea Pellegrino, Morgan Findlay and Steve Kruzeniski will travel to Asia, South America and Africa as volunteers for the global veterinary organization.

• Colin Taylor, a first-year WCVM student, will be working at the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre (KAT Centre) in Kathmandu, Nepal. He and a teammate will help to provide care and treatment to the animals – mainly stray cats and dogs – while sharing their experiences and knowledge with the centre’s veterinarians and other staff.

The KAT Centre partners with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Humane Society International (HSI) in their efforts to eliminate rabies in Kathmandu and to create a stable, healthy street dog population. Currently, there are more than 20,000 dogs living on the city’s streets.

• Second-year WCVM student Rebecca Jackson and first-year WCVM students Graham Ellingsen and Andrea Pellegrino will travel to Puerto Natales, a small Patagonian community in Chile. They will participate in a collaborative project investigating ways to reduce the problems associated with large numbers of free-roaming dogs.

The students will monitor the behaviours, social activities and roaming patterns of male dogs before sterilization. Their findings will contribute to the project’s goals: improving animal welfare while reducing human-dog conflicts and disease transmission.

• First-year WCVM student Morgan Findlay will provide veterinary care and extension to smallholder dairy farmers living in rural Kenya. She will also work on a research project investigating the effectiveness of various drugs on the gastrointestinal parasites found in dairy cattle.

As part of the dairy health management program, Findlay will work on a team composed of North American and Kenyan veterinarians and veterinary students. Team members will collaborate on clinical, extension and research activities with the goal of benefiting all participants as well as the local dairy farming community.

• Fourth-year WCVM student Steve Kruzeniski, a member of the VWB/VSF 2010 student program, will donate his time and skills to a goat production project taking place in Mbarara, Uganda. He and a teammate will help train paraveterinarians (people trained to help veterinarians), assist in disease monitoring and vaccination programs, organize livestock management workshops and conduct on-site inspection visits of existing farms.

The goat production project was developed by WCVM professor Dr. Claire Card in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, the Foundation for AIDS Orphaned Children and VWB/VSF. It’s aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Ugandan families by providing them with goats and goat training.

Since its inception in 2006, the goat production project has laid the foundation for a more hopeful future and has raised the socioeconomic status of some of the most vulnerable families – many of them affected by HIV and AIDS.

VWB/VSF Canada was established in 2005 by Canadian veterinarians from private practice, academia, government agencies and non-government agencies. Dedicated to working for as well as with communities in need, the group’s programs include education; food, health and sustainability; companion animals and community health; and wildlife health. Visit the VWB/VSF Canada website for more information.


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