Combine a fascination with reptiles and a unique set of species and it was the perfect international experience for Lonny Dredla, a fourth year veterinary medicine student at Iowa State University.
Lonny was one of 20 Iowa State veterinary students who spent two weeks in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador as part of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s international program offerings. Each summer, the college offers trips to a variety of international destinations including Galapagos and Africa.
“I have always been fascinated with different species of animals, especially reptiles,” he said. “Galapagos has a unique set of reptile, avian and mammalian species and since it has always been on my bucket list to visit, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity.”
During the two-week stay, Lonny and other Iowa State students participated in a variety of educational and fun activities. For two days the group participated in a spay/neuter campaign where they saw over 50 animals.
“This was a great experience that taught me to work with minimal drugs and supplies. I had to learn to do things quickly and correctly,” he said. “It also helped me see a variety of patients, from the young and healthy to the elderly with some health issues.
“Each and every animal we worked on offered a new learning experience.”
The Iowa State veterinary group also went to a reptile rehabilitation facility where they dewormed snakes, caiman and turtles. A large animal experience castrating hogs and a horse was also on their agenda.
But it wasn’t all work and no play for the Iowa State group. Zip lining, waterfall repelling, kayaking and snorkeling were all part of the itinerary.
“Not only was this a great vacation, but I learned how to practice medicine in situations I’m not normally used to,” Lonny said. “We had to jump in and make do with what we had.”
“It was scary at first, but I now feel more confident to be able to control an emergency situation than I did before I had this experience.”