I am a final year veterinary student at the University of Bristol. Having been the University of Bristol WVS Rep, I was fortunate enough to attend a surgical training course in Southern India – and what an experience it was!
After arriving in Bangalore we enjoyed a very long but fascinating journey through beautiful, rural southern India spotting monkeys, peacocks, warthogs, spotted deer and I even caught sight of an elephant. The mountains and scenery are absolutely stunning.
The WVS training centre was to be our home for two weeks and we settled in to our dorm sharing with students from around the world and making new friends. Everyone was very welcoming and we enjoyed delicious home cooked vegetarian food – lots of yummy curries!
Before attending the course I had scrubbed into several surgeries and performed castrations but had never performed a bitch spay start to finish - by the end of two weeks I was confidently performing bitch spays unassisted and the time taken for me to carry out the operations dramatically improved too. The supervisors were really friendly, patient and supportive and were willing to scrub in with me for as long as I required. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of veterinary care despite the limited resources. In total each student performed 16 surgeries and monitored 16 total intra-venous anaesthetics during our 2 week stay. In the evenings we had interesting lectures and discussions.
At the weekend we had the opportunity to vaccinate local dogs as part of ‘Mission Rabies’ – this involved walking through the neighbourhoods in Ooty educating the local people about the prevention of rabies and vaccinating as many dogs as we could – both owned and stray. We were divided into groups and my small group alone vaccinated 186 dogs in a day.
On the Sunday we had the day to ourselves and the opportunity to explore parts of India not often seen by visitors. We rode the Nilgiri Mountain Railway ‘toy train’ from Conoor to Ooty which runs through the picturesque Nilgiri Mountains; the scenery was stunning. Once we arrived at Ooty we took a rickshaw to Ooty Lake and hired out pedalos. A lovely relaxing day after a busy week of surgery!
I cannot put into words how much I would recommend this course to any future vet – the surgical experience was invaluable and the whole course was so much fun, culminating in a brilliant evening of singing and dancing!
Congratulations to my fellow course attendees and a huge thank you to the whole team at WVS.