Rachel Hattersley our Head of Theatre volunteers in India for Worldwide Veterinary Service

26 May 2023


Rachel, alongside two of her veterinary colleagues spent two weeks volunteering at the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) Hicks centre in Goa, India.

The centre has three main aims within its ethos; firstly practical surgical training of Indian veterinary surgeons from across the region and wider country centred around animal population control, secondly population control and Rabies vaccination within Goa and thirdly, provision of veterinary care to the local population. 

The visit was organised directly with the charity who work around the globe to care for vulnerable animals, including sending vital aid parcels, delivering veterinary training to raise the standard of care locally and mobilising vets on the ground. In India there is a real issue with feral and street dogs, so humane population control through neutering and education is required to ensure there are fewer numbers of unwanted animals and road traffic accidents. Community dogs are often fed by members of the local community and often very friendly dogs. 

Rabies has also been an issue in the past so dog catchers and local charities will bring community dogs and cats into the centre for rabies vaccination and neutering.  Goa has now significantly reduced the number of rabies cases through humane population control and vaccination which consider the high mortality rate associated with this disease, is a wonderful achievement.

Working alongside local vets Rachel and her colleagues spent a busy two weeks helping with training, neutering, working within the clinic, reading x-rays and also undertaking some more complex surgeries such as hernia repairs, skin grafts and amputations.  

Rachel and Ben also delivered a two-day CPD course for local Goan vets on topics around emergency surgery including hands on surgical training in techniques such as splenectomy and bladder surgery. Daily teaching sessions were also held with the team within the centre on more complex surgical techniques.

Rachel said “The centre is an incredibly impressive operation with dedicated and experienced vets working tirelessly day and night to look after the many animals that come in from the streets. It was a great experience to be able to support the teams and see the way other countries operate in their veterinary procedures with limited equipment. The charity do amazing work to support people and animals on the ground.  I hope to be able to visit again to provide further training for this wonderful team”