High School Adventures

Costa Rica Costa Rica Veterinary Experience

Work with horses, cows and native Costa Rican wildlife on a hands-on vet summer trip. Assist veterinarians in clinics and in the field. Join fellow animal lovers on an adventure of a lifetime.

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students feeding tropical birds on vet trip for teens
Student giving medicine to animal on vet camp in Costa Rica
River through jungle on Costa Rica vet summer trip

Days of veterinary clinics, animal rehabilitation and pura vida fun

  • Build confidence while working with animal care professionals at wildlife rescue centers, private farms and animal clinics.
  • Participate in equine and livestock medical procedures through experiences like drawing blood, giving injections, performing diagnostic tests and physical examinations.
  • Explore preventative medicine and animal behavior in various contexts.
  • Observe necropsies, assist with spay and neuter surgeries and work with professionals in the field to learn more about animal anatomy and care.
  • Create enrichment activities for the rehabilitative habitats of rescued wildlife.
  • Participate in classic Costa Rican adventures like whitewater rafting, ziplining through the jungle canopy and surfing rolling waves off the coast of a national park.
PROGRAM DATESCOSTAVAILABILITY
June 19 - July 10, 2022$7,180AvailableEnroll Now
July 14 - August 4, 2022$7,180AvailableEnroll Now
“This trip provides an environment where you can explore, adapt, learn and grow with every experience. You are exposed to different views, ethics and beliefs culturally and medically in the vet community. Instructors ensure you are prepared in the field and always feeling comfortable, healthy and happy. This trip is an experience you will never forget, giving you hands on experiences in a field you are passionate about. It is a dream come true.” Madison, high school alumna

This vet summer trip offers:

3

Credits Available

20

Service Hours

Three natural science college credits available through Lesley University. 

Course description: In this course, students will get hands-on experience through academic classes, labs and work alongside animal care professionals. Students will learn comparative anatomy, physiology, medicine, surgery, behavior, conservation and more.

Course objectives: 

  • Understand basic animal anatomy/physiology in a range of species.
  • Explore opportunities, importance and limitations of veterinary medicine when applied to civil service and nonprofit centers.
  • Perform physical examinations and basic phlebotomy/venipuncture on common species.
  • Assist with welfare husbandry needs, understanding veterinary standards required to maintain each species.
  • Explore potential veterinary and animal care career paths through hands-on experience in a veterinary clinic.

20 hours of service learning through projects with farms, rescue centers and clinics.

Requirements:

  • Introduction to Biology or equivalent experience.
  • Available to students completing grades 9-12.

Itinerary

Day 1-3

Get ready for the thrill

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 we’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.


 

Day 4-7

Gain an introduction to veterinary medicine

Santa Clara will be your home for the next few days. Here, local vets teach you how to diagnose a cow’s pregnancy through palpation. Learning and practicing your skills at dairy and beef farms will help you understand the production management industry, and you’ll also dive into large animal handling and disease lectures. Lend a hand at the wildlife rescue center, which has become a home for sloths, otters, toucans and more. Later, practice small animal examinations, identifying ectoparasites and skin conditions, at a nearby dog rescue organization.


 

Day 8-12

Explore equine medicine in paradise

With the majestic Costa Rican landscape 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 examinations of hooves, gums and teeth, and get a glimpse of what the care of horses is like before taking 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. Get out and absorb the natural beauty of this biodiverse environment through high-energy Costa Rican adventures.


 

Day 13-18

Experience life as a wildlife vet

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. 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. Wrap up with a day of exploring the lush rainforests and pristine beaches of the park, followed by a morning of surfing.


 

Day 19-22

Practice animal surgery

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. As you discuss topics ranging from anesthesia protocol to career opportunities in veterinary medicine, begin to understand 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.