Local Vet Helps Haiti

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

It's Dr. Lee Ann Berglund-Fosdick's 10th trip to Haiti. She and a team of vets from across the U.S. will teach basic veternary skills to the people who live off their animals to survive. She says her work there won't be for the animals but the people.

"A calf is worth $100, that is equivalent to what it costs them to educate a child for 12 years. So if I can help save one calf, I feel I'm education one Haitian," said local veterinarian Lee Ann Berglund-Fosdick, DVM, PhD.

Ticks, lice and parasites are rampant in Haiti. The 2.5 week crash course will teach Haitian caretakers the basics---like animals need drinking water, what bacteria is, and how to perform a c-section and sew stiches.

"The way the veterinarians become veterinarians there---they are told you are an outstanding citizen so you will be our veterinarian," said MSU veterinary student Kim De La Peza.

The team of vets will bring hundreds of supplies and dozens of surgical packs to be divided up between 30 Haitian veterinary agents. Each will get about 25 syringes that most doctors in the U.S. would throw away after one use. The Haitians will be taught to sterilize them to be used for at least a year.

"They have nothing. We have everything. You can't understand what it's like to live with nothing until you see it," said Berglund-Fosdick.

Gathering enough supplies for the trip is always a challenge. Each year to Berglund-Fosdick's surprise an organization always steps up to help.

"We have great volunteers here at the shelter and we know they give at the drop of a hat," said Teresa Carter of the Ingham County Animal Control.

"You always want to take more with you and I get discouraged. This year, they are the ones that make me feel like 'Yes, I can do this. I can make a difference,'" said Berglund-Fosdick.

Lee Ann will take eight thousand dollars worth of equipment. She will max out her personal credit cards to buy everything that wasn't donated.

If you'd like to make donations for next year's trip to Haiti, you can contact the Heart of the Shepard Lutheran Church.

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