International Veterinary Education

International Veterinary Education logoBackground

The Strategic Plan 1990-2000 for Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) emphasized the need to increase its graduates' awareness of the international dimension of veterinary medicine. In 1991 the CVM established the International Veterinary Education (IVE) program to provide students with an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of international issues in veterinary medicine. The IVE program uses a multidisciplinary approach to explore the critical and expanding role that veterinary medicine has assumed within the global agricultural marketplace. This approach also takes into consideration the importance of socioeconomic and cultural systems, and the environment. Through the IVE program students have the possibility of taking up to two elective courses. The linkages between courses allow students to acquire an introductory background in regional animal health issues and promote an in-depth understanding of specific problems through directed study and international experience.

Course Offerings

International Veterinary Medicine (VM 501) This introductory course focuses on international issues concerning animal health, disease, and production within a socioeconomic and cultural context. Topics covered include issues relating to animal-environment interface, women in livestock development, and wildlife conservation. Instructors involved in teaching the course represent eight university departments, as well as non-university guest lecturers. Some lectures may be delivered from other locations as live web presentations. The one credit course is offered during the fall semester and can be taken as an elective by first through third-year students.

Global  Studies (VM 504) This course is open only to students who have successfully completed VM 501. The externships require students to spend a minimum of one month working in countries having established exchange agreements with WSU or with a cooperative state or federal agency. The externships provide an opportunity for students to obtain practical working experience in the areas of animal health and well-being, livestock production (including poultry and aquaculture), public health, and trade within the cultural environment of another country.

Seminars and Symposia

The IVE program also supports seminars and symposia organized by the International Veterinary Student Association (IVSA) -WSU Chapter which features speakers with international experience who address topics of importance not usually covered in detail within the curriculum (e.g., poultry production and diseases). In addition to lectures, the symposia incorporate "hands on" experience in production and disease diagnostics.

For more information about the above courses and other IVE program activities please contact:

Margaret A Davis, DVM, MPH, PhD
Paul G Allen School for Global Animal Health
College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7090
Phone: 509-335-3831
Fax: 509-335-6328

International Organizations Sources of International Information

Looking for information about international organizations, animal diseases in other countries, travel and customs, health and vaccinations requirements, names and addresses of veterinary schools or zoos, or sources of funding? Here are places to look for information on those topics and more:

Animal Health

OIE – World Organization for Animal Health
The OIE is the intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide. 

Veterinary Information and Databases

NetVet: everything veterinary or animal-related: veterinary school home pages, publications, and much more.

Selected Non-government Organizations involved in animal health

World Vets is a non profit organization dedicated to providing veterinary services and knowledge to areas in need around the globe.  World Vets work with animal advocacy groups and other non-profits to coordinate veterinary resources and match volunteers with projects needing assistance.  

Selected Veterinary Websites

Livestock Breeds of the World: Photos and descriptions of livestock breeds of the world, from cattle to camels.

IVSA Home Page: Home page of the international veterinary student association.

WSU IVSA home page
WHO Veterinary Public Health Program: Issues dealing with global food hygiene and zoonoses.
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Import-Export Directory; Regulations regarding US imports and exports of animals, plants and agricultural products.

Travel Information

CDC: Centers for Disease Control: Includes health information for international travelers.
CIA Fact Book: Information on every country of the world.

WHO: World Health Organization

Monetary exchange rates: A quick conversion table for converting currencies, such as to $. 

IntelliCastCurrent U.S. and world weather.
Languages for Travelers: Hear pronunciations of common words and phrases in more than twenty languages.


Yahoo Newspage: Online full text of world newspapers

Worldwide List of Online Newspapers: More online world newspapers

Electronic Journal Indexes

VETCD, BEASTCD, and CABCD can be found in most veterinary libraries, are invaluable in locating references on international veterinary diseases, services, etc.

Personal contacts

International associations: Join associations, attend meetings where you can meet international colleagues in Email: it’s a fast, cheap, and easy means for communicating with your new international colleagues.

International Organizations Involved in Livestock Production and Animal Health

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): Since its inception in 1945, FAO has worked to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition and the pursuit of food security. Sustainability is the byword in FAO activities in land and water development, plant and animal production, forestry, fisheries, economic and social policy, investment, nutrition, food standards and commodities and trade. 

The AGRIS and Agrovoc databases are now available at this site. Click on Documentation Services and proceed.
Animal Production and Health: The Animal Production and Health Division is entrusted with the promotion of livestock production within the context of sustainable development and improved food security. Its objective is to increase productivity of domestic animals by making better use of available resources. The Division is concerned with the development of animal health and production technologies and with the provision of strategy formulation and policy advice to member countries. It collects and disseminates information on animal health, feed resources, animal genetic resources and livestock production systems. The Division also provides an international forum where governments discuss policies and negotiate international agreements in the area of animal production and health.

International Fund for Agricultural Development: IFAD was created in response to the appeal made in Resolution XIII of the 1974 World Food Conference for the mobilization of financial resources for agricultural development projects, primarily for the improvement of food production in developing countries. The Fund, a specialized agency of the United Nations, was launched in December 1977 as an international financial institution with the mandate of assisting exclusively the rural poor. The initial resources of the Fund amounted to USD 1.02 billion. The projects and programmes financed by the Fund are geared to enhancing food production systems and to strengthening related policies and institutions within each country's national policy framework as they relate to poor rural people. Specific objectives are food security through increased agricultural production, the improvement of nutritional levels and the incomes of the poorest rural populations, the landless, marginal farmers, pastoralists, fish erfolk, indigenous peoples and, across all groups, poor rural women.
OIE (Office International des Epizooties)
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), founded in 1994, incorporates the resources of the former International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD, Kenya) and the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA, Ethiopia). ILRI, a non-profit-making research institute, is sponsored by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The global mandate of ILRI is to undertake research to enhance the role of livestock in sustainable agricultural production systems in Africa, Asia, and the Latin American/Caribbean region. Six programme areas address Conservation of Biodiversity, Production Systems Research, Utilisation of Tropical Feed Resources, Animal Health Improvement, Livestock Policy Analysis and Strengthening National Agricultural Research Systems.

Special Program for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR) 
SPAAR is a regional forum established in 1985 to: (a) enhance the quality and relevance of agricultural technology development in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); (b) improve consultation and collaboration among stakeholders in agricultural research in SSA; and (c) increase the exchange of information on research activities.

International Employment Opportunities

International jobs include clinical veterinary medicine, public health, animal production and health, economics, and research. Most jobs are with government, service/assistance, educational, or religious organizations. There are likely to be openings in industry for DVMs with language skills and an interest in travel. International opportunities may be found in a variety of ways. Practicing veterinarians can host an international student through the International Veterinary Student Association; This may lead to an opportunity to visit that students home country and learn about veterinary needs there. Contact the IVSA at your area's veterinary school. Veterinarians who are interested in helping others through environmental awareness may find a niche in international work. The Alliance of Veterinarians for the Environment is developing a career counseling project to help DVMs find work related to conservation and environmental health. A wide variety of service and church groups may provide opportunities for short-term international work. Contact those in your area for more information. Write to veterinary schools and associations in countries of interest, and ask if there are any courses, internship or volunteer opportunities. For instance, the University of Pretoria in South Africa offers an opportunity for training in tropical diseases and parasites prevalent in Africa. Short courses (one week to one month long) vary each year; subjects might include veterinary laboratory diagnostics, African epizootic diseases, or wildlife immobilization. 
For a wide variety of new opportunities, do a search of the Web, using the words veterinarian and volunteer. For more ideas, try different search words such as "international," "internship," "fellowship," "science," "livestock," "conservation," or the name of a specific country. The Peace Corps Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance Non-veterinary college programs may also offer opportunities. Look for international fellowships and internships for graduate students in the life sciences. When approaching some international assistance groups, you may be turned away when you ask about positions for veterinarians (the person you re asking may think of veterinarians as dog doctors). Instead, start by asking about positions related to agriculture or livestock management. 

Please refer to the following book for additional information:
Tending Animals in the Global Village by David M Sheaman. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2002

Margaret A Davis, DVM, MPH, PhD
Paul G Allen School for Global Animal Health
College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7090
Phone: 509-335-3831
Fax: 509-335-6328

Washington State University