Veterinary Training Comes to Tecomán, Mexico

June 25, 2010

by Susan Monger, DVM

Dog receives epidural
Dr. Susan Monger teaches epidural technique to Dr. Irma Munguia.
Stan Burnett

HSVMA Rural Area Veterinary Services (HSVMA-RAVS) International has worked in many universities throughout Latin America. We are greeted with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn every place we go; the University of Colima in Tecomán, Mexico was no exception. In fact, our reception at Tecomán demonstrated what a great commitment they had to enhancing surgical training.

This was our first full teaching course at Tecomán. Although many students are eager to participate, our classes are limited in size in order to provide the best learning experience for those who do participate.

Upon arrival, I was amazed and extremely pleased to learn they had arranged to film and simulcast from our teaching venue. Everything from the initial lectures and power point presentations to anesthesia and surgical training was broadcast throughout the week. In addition, all participants and faculty, as well as the veterinary students, were actively engaged throughout the entire course.

Dedicated to continuing education

Dr. Irma Munguia, who oversees the small animal clinic at the University, showed a clear display of her desire and dedication to enhance her knowledge and skills by spending all day, every day with us for training. This is often difficult to do in foreign countries with limited faculty and resources; often they cannot afford the time away from their obligations in their daily lives. Her dedication to this project is a force to be reckoned with.

Filming the teaching course
The footage taken during the teaching course can be used to train future students.
Stan Burnett

Dr. Alejandro Rodriguez also assists in clinical training in the University, in addition to running a small, private practice on his own. This is common in Mexico, as many veterinarians find it difficult to support themselves with one job. Despite his obligations in the clinic and private practice, he too was present almost the entire week for our teaching course.

I had communicated extensively with the Dr. Munguia prior to the clinics, providing some basic information that would be used as the core curriculum, which she in turn presented to the students in the form of a manual. As a result, the students were prepared—they had studied the material and could address many of the parameters associated with surgery, such as analgesic and anesthetic protocols, dosages, and fluid calculations.

HSVMA-RAVS clinics require a tremendous amount of communication and organization, both domestically and internationally. However, it is even more of a challenge internationally, due to the language differences and logistics involved to get the necessary equipment and supplies on site in a foreign country.

We appreciate the effort made by The University of Colima, Tecomán to organize and conduct international clinics; it certainly demonstrates their desire for and commitment to continuing education. We would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Cisco's Amigos and PATA Manzanillo, two groups in the Manzanillo area dedicated to animal welfare and spay/neuter initiatives, for their assistance with logistical support on the ground.

Dr. Susan Monger is the Director of HSVMA-RAVS, International Program.