Michigan veterinarian using online shelter medicine Master’s to help pets in Guatemala and at home

The homeless pets of Michigan and Guatemala have one thing in common: Dr. Jim Bader on their side.

Dr. Bader practices in western Michigan,where he and his wife manage a 501c3 adoption group while his practice provides services to about 15 other groups, and assists local law enforcement with potential animal neglect and cruelty cases.

In addition, he and his staff travel several times a year to Guatemala to bring veterinary supplies and provide free veterinary services to groups, individuals, and a wildlife organization. My family or staff members accompany me on these excursions. Their primary focus is on spay/neuter clinics, but they also address wellness education, including vaccines and heartworm prevention. Dr. Bader recently earned his Master’s degree in the University of Florida’s online Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program, where his capstone presentation was on heartworm and tick-borne disease in Guatemalan community dogs.

Dr. Bader started testing for heartworm disease in Guatemala when, at the start of his first clinic, four people approached him about what had killed their dogs who presented with coughing and death. When he began testing, he found a heartworm-positive rate of 80 percent. He also began testing for tick-borne diseases when he noticed an unusual degree of post-operative bleeding.

He’s been able to take the education he received in the online shelter medicine program in a number of ways ” First, we remodeled an area of my clinic for our adoption program,” he said. “I used the knowledge from the curriculum to design a current, state-of- the-art adoption center.

“Second, I use the knowledge to assist other adoption groups in the areas of medical issues of adoptable pets and advice on adoption programs. And finally, I use the knowledge with my work in Guatemala assisting several adoption groups manage diseases, educating pet owners on proper pet care, and performing high volume high quality spay/neuter clinics.”

His dream for the future includes bringing UF students to Guatemala to assist in the spay/neuter clinics, and help them learn more about the challenges facing adoption groups in developing countries.

You can view Dr. Bader’s capstone presentation here: The Incidence of Heartworm Disease and Tick Borne Diseases in Community Dogs in Guatemala