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Veterinarians share knowledge, supplies with Haiti


"For centuries they have relied on animals, but they don't know how to take care of them," she says. "They put these big packs on poor little donkeys and horses, and they get big sores. There are also worms, ticks, and malnutrition. Most of the diseases and problems affecting these animals are preventable."

While she has always loved animals, thanks to visits to the family farm in Nebraska while growing up, it took her years to accept what she had known all along. "I always wanted to be a vet," she says.

With a bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Florida, her grades were not good enough for vet school. Instead she worked on a master's degree related to horse insemination, a doctorate in pharmacology, and post-doctoral work in neuroscience.

"After 18 years of graduate school, I decided I still wanted to be a vet," she says and applied to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University.

It was during vet school that Berglund-Fosdick had her first chance to travel.

"I received a scholarship to travel and went with a Christian Veterinary Mission group to Mongolia for four weeks."

As a goat artificial insemination expert, she focused on that while in the field. She also tested animals for brucellosis which can cause abortions, she says.

She returned to vet school, graduated, and a year later headed to India for four weeks.

"I had received an NIH grant and had to do service projects as part of paying back the grant," she says. "I helped missionaries with their farm on that trip."

As for future trips to Haiti, Schumann says they may be close to finishing their work there.

"When we started, there were only a handful of veterinarians in Haiti," he says. "Then a couple years ago, the government decided to send 25 Haitians—each year for three to five years—to Cuba to study to become veterinarians. They began coming back about three years ago. I'm not sure what will happen now."

If there is another trip, Berglund-Fosdick plans to be part of it.

"I get a lot of satisfaction in doing this," she says. "The way I see it, it takes $100 a year to educate a child in Haiti. They also get $100 to sell a calf. I feel that if I save a calf, I've helped to educate a child."


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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