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Veterinary Pilot Project Heads To The Caribbean

Veterinary clinic with vet handling female cat

By Mia Hildebrandt

Animal health technology students are headed out of the country to practically apply their skills. In June Dr. Elaine Degrandpre is taking 10 students to Grenada, an island in the Caribbean.

Dr. Degrandpre said she reached out to a colleague who regularly provides free veterinary service on the island and asked if she could bring her students to experience an opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for them to experience a different culture, to experience how people interact with their animals outside of Canada” said Dr. Degrandpre.

The students have the opportunity to apply the skills they learn in the classroom in real life and teach school children about animal care. Jordyn Hoszyuski, one of the vet students going to Grenada, says she’s not only excited to put her skills she’s learned in the classroom to use but also to leave the country for the first time.

“I’ve never actually left Canada so it will be my first trip outside [the country]. The fact that we were doing this, what I love and what I’m passionate about is just super exciting for me,” said Hoszyuski.

Gabrielle Namchuk is another student going on the trip. She says that students will normally get one day a week for the practical skills portion of their program, so she is excited to have an entire week’s worth of opportunity to practice in the real world.

“We’re going to be immunizing stray dogs, deworming them and also working on cows and their health,” said Namchuk.

Dogs and cats in Grenada have a fair amount of worms and ticks and cases of rabies due to a lack of easily accessible veterinary care. The students are going to be providing veterinary service for free to people who can’t normally afford it. Dr. Degrandpre says she believes the opportunity will be a rewarding experience.

“To provide veterinary services to people who don’t have a lot of money is a very fulfilling experience and I think they are going to see diseases that we don’t see very often in Canada,” said Dr. Degrandpre.

“We’re hoping that this being a pilot project, that in the future we can have students from different health sciences programs that are dealing with people’s health bring their expertise.”

A trip of this kind is a first for NAIT, and the animal health technology program is hoping this trip can become an annual event. To help raise funds for the trip the program is fundraising throughout the semester via bake sales and other events with more information to come.

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