Start the adventure by making your way through stunning canyons and a lowland tropical rainforest. The lush canopy provides a home for some of the beloved creatures you’ll be working with directly. Naturalist guides give an intriguing introduction to Costa Rica’s ecological wonders as you raft Class III rapids. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, tropical birds and the Blue Morpho butterfly.
Santa Clara becomes your home for the next few days. Local vets teach you how to diagnose cow pregnancy through palpation. Your work at dairy and beef farms helps you understand the industry as you dive into large animal handling and disease lectures. You will also lend a hand at the wildlife rescue center, which has become a home for sloths, otters, toucans and more. Volunteer at a nearby dog rescue and practice small animal examinations, identifying and treating ectoparasites and skin conditions. Build your knowledge of sheep, goat, pig and chicken production management during visits to local farms. Then head to La Fortuna and relax in the local hot springs.
With the majestic Arenal Volcano as your backdrop, dive into the world of equine medicine, a very specialized part of veterinary study. Learn about preventative care, nutrition, routine vaccinations and more as you work directly with the horses. Perform lameness examinations, interpret radiographs, set up blood smear slides and get a glimpse of what the care of horses is about. Take a break from your studies to go on a short horseback ride. Focus on animal behavior as you learn a bit about how horses communicate. Wrap up the equine section of the program with a canyoneering expedition and a rappel down a waterfall.
Travel to a wildlife sanctuary and refuge near Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Central America’s most beautiful parks on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. There, you”ll learn about different species of monkey, bats, reptiles and birds as you shadow the on-site vet. Your responsibilities at the rescue center include conducting ethograms to monitor animal behavior, creating enrichments, assisting with physical examinations and practicing necropsies. Through lectures, hands-on experience and group discussions, expand your familiarity with ethical issues in veterinary medicine and non-human primate medicine. Finish with a day of exploring the lush rainforests and pristine beaches of the park, followed by a morning of surfing.
Your focus shifts to small animal surgery as you take patients through the intake, anesthesia and surgical processes of spays and neuters. This controlled environment is the perfect place to practice surgical preparation, IV catheter placement, endotracheal intubation and more. Conversation moves from anesthesia protocol to career opportunities in veterinary medicine as you consider the possibilities of your new found knowledge. Enjoy a farewell celebration with your new friends on your final evening, and reflect on just how much you learned and experienced in just a few short weeks.