A group of veterinary students and veterinarians from Colorado State University will be traveling to Costa Rica to provide a free vaccination, parasite control, and spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats from Jan. 4-10, 2009. The goal of trip is to reduce the number of homeless animals in the country and improve the quality of life for pets.
The group is sponsored by VIDAS - Veterinarios Internacionales Dedicados a Animales Sanos (International Veterinarians Dedicated to Animal Health). VIDAS was started by six veterinarians when they were students at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2002, along with two community veterinarians. The group previously traveled to Mexico to provide clinics.
The Costa Rica volunteers hope to reach about 150 animals, both strays and those owned or adopted by local residents in the town of San Isidro. In addition to providing medical care, the veterinarians plan to conduct daily educational talks with the local community and children about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, and the importance of vaccinations and parasite control.
The volunteers, who are paying for their own travel and will stay with host families to reduce the costs of the trip, are seeking donations to pay for medicine and supplies for the clinic. About $4,000 is needed to cover expenses.
Animals at the clinic will be sterilized; receive vaccinations for rabies, local diseases such as feline leukemia virus, canine distemper and canine parvovirus; and receive parasitic control medicine.
The group is accepting monetary donations on the VIDAS Web site at www.vidas.org or mailed to VIDAS Costa Rica, PO Box 20246, Boulder, CO 80308-3246. Donations must be marked for the Costa Rica trip to be applied to the expenses. An animal can be sponsored for $100.
The group also is asking for donations of collars and leashes. Many pet owners use wire, shirt hangers, rope or other objects as collars. The makeshift collars often are so tight they must be surgically removed at the clinic. Collars and leashes can be dropped off any time at the Small Animal Reception area in the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 300 W. Drake Road, Fort Collins.