I travelled many hours to get to Ooty in the south of India to take part in an animal birth control programme with my friend from vet school. I chose this to become more confident with surgery and to see some more of the world as well as cuddle some dogs!
One of the many dogs spayed during the course. Each student performed around 16 surgeries in the two weeks. The vets pay very close attention to pain management and strict asepsis. And the students are supervised by the vets.
I was worried about my safety while travelling but the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) was excellent and not once did I feel unsafe in India. We stayed in an enclosed compound and as a group of 13 we stuck together. The flight was 10 hours long which wasn’t too bad. My friend and I flew into Bangalore and were picked up along with the rest of the participants on the course and we set off for the south of India.
12 hours later we arrived late evening, exhausted and bursting for the loo!
The two week course was fantastic. The vets were very knowledgeable and taught us all well. The days were long from 08:30 to 19:00 and we worked in pairs performing surgery and monitoring anaesthesia. In the evenings we were given tutorials on many different topics from fluid therapy to wound management. Rabies was also spoken about as it is an issue in India. The area we were located; the Nilgiris is proud to be rabies free and it is through the work of the WVS India and mission rabies that this is possible.
At the end of the first week of surgery it was crazy how much I had learned, I was comfortable castrating a dog on my own and my intravenous catheter placement skills had come on so much. I also felt more confident monitoring anaesthesia. On the Saturday the team took us out in groups to do a rabies vaccination drive, a great morning and where we got to meet so many lovely locals and help protect against rabies. The skills and knowledge that I gained while on the course will be of great value to me throughout my career as a veterinary surgeon.
The Sunday we spent sightseeing around Ooty which was a well-earned day off.
The second week I got the opportunity to perform a rumenotomy on a calf that had eaten a lot of plastic! I feel very lucky that I was able to be a part of the course and it’s with thanks to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund.
Rumenotomy on Nandi the bull calf
If anyone is considering the WVS course in India I highly recommend going for it you’ll gain so much from it and meet new friends!