Posted August 19, 2019

Through the College’s Nachreiner Overseas Fellowship Fund, Kristy Herman, DVM Class of 2021, traveled to Costa Rica and participated in the CVM (Christian Veterinary Missions) program. She details her trip below.

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We met all our CVM (Christian Veterinary Missions) team members, who came from various parts of the U.S. and Canada, at the airport. Thanks to a name-game that connected participants’ first names, self-describing adjectives, and physical gestures, I knew everyone’s names by the end of the first night.

We met some goats shortly after we arrived at the Pasteje Ranch, the place where we stayed while in Costa Rica. We helped inject the does (female breeding goats) with PG600, a prostaglandin (chemical compounds rich in sperm), paired with a CIDR insert (controlled internal drug release) to synchronize the does estrus cycles (fertility cycle).

The next morning, at 5:15 a.m., we removed the CIDRs. This was a great day to be an early riser, as I got to take part in an experience, one I might not have become familiar with otherwise. Approximately 56 hours after the CIDR was removed, the does were artificially inseminated, and Dr. Berglund-Fosdick, one of the veterinarian leaders for the mission, did an incredible job teaching both the North American and Costa Rican students about all of the intricacies involved in the field of artificial insemination. In addition to learning about goat breeding, I had the joy and privilege of vaccinating several dozen goats, trimming hooves, and assisting with fecal collection and parasite identification.

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On Wednesday morning our group packed up three-days-worth of veterinary supplies and boarded a bus for San Ramon. There, we divided into working teams for the vaccine, surgery, and recovery clinic that we ran. Each student rotated through the roles. While I was thrilled to successfully perform four dog spays, four dog neuters, and four cat neuters. I enjoyed interacting with the Costa Rican families and their pets most of all. I was able to speak in Spanish with them, and I even remembered words I had forgotten.

In total, the CVM group vaccinated 192 animals; spayed 49 dogs and neutered 31 dogs; spayed 19 cats and neutered 11 cats; dewormed 5 goats, 4 sheep, 1 bull and 2 cows; and castrated 2 goats. Dogs and cats were dewormed and provided with flea and tick preventatives as well. This clinic was provided free to the community through the work of CVM and Goats for God.

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I was overwhelmed with joy throughout the week. I loved bonding with my schoolmates and now new friends from around the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica. I would recommend short-term mission trips for any student who feels a calling in their heart and a desire to build faith and confidence alongside a group of empowering and compassionate professionals.

A note of gratitude

I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who was involved in helping Chelsea Bates, Alli Harju, Nicholas Moore, and me participate in the CVM (Christian Veterinary Missions) short-term mission trip to Costa Rica