News & Events

Experts Help Vet Students Plan International Aid

May 16, 2012

On May 14 at the School of Veterinary Medicine, an international seminar, "Making International Veterinary Aid Sustainable," brought to faculty and students inspiration and practical advice about veterinary care programs abroad. 

Hosted by the International Animal Welfare Training Institute, the seminar was facilitated by John Madigan, DVM, director, and Eric Davis, DVM. The discussions included welfare issues of companion, equine and livestock animals worldwide, including Mongolia, Mexico, and countries of South America and Asia. Special guests included representatives from the World Society for Protection of Animals and Vets Without Borders. Featured speakers shared their work experience, travels and training. 

Featured Speakers

Susan Monger, DVM, presented an overview of international opportunities for veterinarians and veterinary students. Director of International Programs for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association-Rural Area Veterinary Services, Monger spent 10 years in private practice, then decided to follow her passion for helping animals and people in need. She moved to Guatemala and took a position with the Humane Society International and Rural Area Veterinary Services in 1999. She has worked to provide veterinary care on Indian reservations and in Appalachian hamlets in the USA. She has participated in projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia. Monger organizes teaching clinics and training programs throughout Latin America and Ethiopia and facilitates the development of sustainable veterinary outreach programs throughout the world. She is the recipient of the 2009 Ohio State Alumni Recognition Award and is one of the few veterinarians to have a day named after her by the Lakota Sioux Tribe. Susan Monger Day was instituted on the Cheyenne River Reservation in appreciation for her many years of hard work on behalf of the animals and residents of that Native American community.

Dave Turoff, DVM (UC Davis 1983) operates an equine practice in Placerville, California, and still manages to volunteer large amounts of his time to work on equine welfare projects in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Peru. He is active in the Field Services division of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Equitarian Initiative. He travels several times a year to Central and South America to offer equine services to impoverished, remote communities. Turoff is a skilled equine dentist and speaks Spanish fluently. He works with veterinary students from both the USA and Latin America.

For 15 years, Richard Bachman, DVM, MPVM (UC Davis 1982) has directed Shelter Medicine Support, a private shelter medicine consulting practice specializing in design development and management of animal shelter medical programs. Bachman has worked internationally in India, Romania, and Mexico with various animal welfare organizations, primarily assisting with shelter operations and small animal sterilization projects. He is frequently a speaker on animal sheltering and spay/neuter services at national veterinary meetings.

Bonnie Markoff, DVM (UC Davis 1988) is the owner and founder of Animal Care Clinic in San Luis Obispo, California. This is a five-doctor small animal practice recently named one of the top five AAHA accredited practices in North America. Markoff is board certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners - Canine and Feline Practice. She is very active with Christian Veterinary Mission, serving in both Mongolia and Uganda on short-term trips. Markoff is a member of the advisory board for the Mongolian organization called VetNET. She has made six trips to Mongolia, where she teaches leadership and team building and helps in the small animal hospital. She recently helped organize a seminar on cross-cultural leadership for the Mongolian team. Markoff has made one trip to Nicaragua with World Vets. She is one of only a handful of veterinarians certified in Veterinary Family Practice and has completed a fellowship in small animal abdominal ultrasound at UC Davis.

Madigan comments, "At this
IAWTI sponsored event, UC Davis veterinary students were given the unique opportunity for one-on-one questioning and discussion with a panel of veterinary experts regarding the challenges of providing needed veterinary care to animals in underserved countries of the world. 

"Examples of successes and failures and models of sustainability were brought forward by the panel of world authorities," he adds. "Dean Michael Lairmore provided opening remarks, stressing the commitment of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to international efforts to improve animal health and welfare. The international audience connected by Webinar provided additional dialogue and commentary, which enhanced the knowledge sharing."

Eric Eisenman, class of 2014, was one of the attendees. He says, "The stories shared by the speakers were incredibly enlightening for the students that are interested in making an impact in the veterinary community at a global level. The speakers have all contributed to the international veterinary community in numerous ways, and it was very inspiring to hear all of their different perspectives." Eisenman is interested in contributing to international veterinary activities in Nicaragua, where he made a visit in 2011 to assist with spay-neuter surgeries and client education.   

Participation at the seminar included 55 students, staff and faculty. In addition, 30 participants from local, national and international  universities joined online via webinar.

Future Animal Welfare Topics and Webinars are being planned for the 2012-2013 School of Veterinary Medicine calendar.