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WSAVA Outreach Projects make a Difference to Pets in Latin America

Published: 12/12/2016

Ahead of this year’s World Congress in Cartagena, volunteer WSAVA veterinarians helped dogs, cats and their owners in impoverished areas of Colombia and Brazil.

Our Outreach projects around the World Congress enable our global veterinary community to provide support for regional veterinarians, pets owners and their animals. This year was no exception, and WSAVA veterinarians joined with local veterinarians and not-for-profit organizations on a number of projects:

Curitiba, Brazil

Our Animal Welfare and Wellness Committee (AWWC) team was in Curitiba, the capital of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná from 20 - 23 September. The team, supported by Waltham and led by Dr Rod Jouppi, ran a spay and neuter program, preceded by pre-surgical assessments, vaccination and de-worming. During the three days, more than 100 pets were sterilized with help from Dr Andreia de Paula Vieira and veterinary students from the newly-established veterinary faculty at the Universidade Positivo.

CURN, Colombia

The AWWC held its second WSAVA Shelter Medicine Summit in Cartagena at Corporación Universitaria Rafael Nuñez (CURN) following World Congress, with delegates from Colombia, Brazil, India, Norway and the USA. It was led by Tess Kommedal, AWWC Committee member, and Julio Aguirre and was supported by Waltham and CURN. The group discussed the latest thinking on shelter medicine and animal protection in a Colombian context, and also visited a private shelter to offer advice on enhancing the care offered to the many dogs and cats in the shelter. Tess Kommedal said: “Animal protection and shelter medicine demand an approach that blends herd health, animal welfare and individual medicine. There is work still to be done to increase awareness of animal welfare needs in Colombia and neighbouring countries – but progress is definitely being made.”

Cartagena, Colombia

We held a two-day Global Outreach program, supported by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, in a district of Cartagena where poverty levels are high. Ten volunteer veterinarians from around the world joined forces to provide veterinary care to more than 300 dogs and cats ahead of the World Congress. The team worked alongside local NGO ‘Organisacion por el Respeto y Ciudado de los Animales’ (ORCA) to provide preventative health treatments and routine veterinary care. They also carried out a spay-neuter program to help limit population growth among dogs and cats in the city.
Dr Jolle Kirpensteijn, former WSAVA President and Chief Professional Relations Officer at Hill’s, says: "Hill’s is delighted to support the WSAVA’s Global Outreach initiative because it aligns perfectly with our mission to support the veterinary community in caring for and transforming lives of companion animals around the world. WSAVA Global Outreach empowers veterinarians to apply their skills in an environment which may be very different to the clinic that they work in every day and, in our experience, they invariably rise to the challenge and find the experience of helping animals with so little access to veterinary care very rewarding. It was touching to hear the gratitude of so many owners and of our colleagues at ORCA and we were delighted to be able to offer them the help they so badly needed.”