The course runs over 6 or 7 full days covering both theory and practical. There is an opening workshop, and daily or alternate-day classroom content. Core content is delivered and different volunteer trainers may also deliver supplementary content as well. We may also close the workshop with a classroom session on the final Saturday.
Core modules: Multi-stakeholder working; TNR theory; Catching and trapping; Handling tame cats; Veterinary aspects of TNR
Additonal modules (depend on time and trainers’ preference): Infectious diseases; First Aid; Early Neutering
All participants – vets, delegates and trainers, attend the core modules. Therefore the timing of these has to be fitted around the schedule of catching and neutering the cats – usually the classroom session will be from 3pm to 6pm but if there are lots of female cats and the op list takes time to complete, then it may be deferred. You will need to attend the full course and arrive in good time early (by 1900hrs) on the day before (usually a Saturday or Sunday) and leave the day after the end (usually a Sunday). It is not possible to attend only part of the course – demand is high so we focus on delegates who are committed to the course and supporting their fellow delegates.
Confirmation onto the course: You should only regard yourself as confirmed onto the course when you receive a confirmation email from us. This will only be sent if we have received all the information requested, and have also received a nomination from the association or municipality you work with. Until this is confirmed to you, do not consider yourself registered. Once this has been sent we expect you to acknowledge receipt within 4 days so we know you're still coming. If you don't confirm attendance we'll offer your place to another delegate.
We prioritise places onto the course according to the countries of highest need and also according to those who complete the applications fully and are reliable in communicating by email. We may also offer you a place on an alternative course if we feel the delegate mixture would be more suitable or if the trainers would be (for example if we have trainers that have worked in the deegate's home country). We do not accept applications from countries with well-established animal welfare movements and we prioritise applications from countries with limited small animal veterinary infrastructure. We also do not accept applications from vet students, new graduates, or individuals without an organisational nomination.
Visas: We supply supporting letters for visas for non EU-residents but please note we cannot state that we take responsibility for your medical or food costs. You must have adequate travel insurance. You must have received visa approval at least 4 weeks prior to the course - so apply in good time.
Qualifications: All non-Portuguese vets must provide a scanned-copy of their Bachelors degree certificate at the time of registering.
We will provide details of the location of the centre once you're confirmed on the course. We do not provide this in advance to avoid problems of delegates contacting our local partners.
The centre is equipped as a neutering facility to a good standard - with 2 surgical tables, gaseous anaesthesia (via oxygen concentrator) and positionable lighting. You are provided with all medications, surgical instruments sterilized by heat between every surgery, swabs, drapes etc. We ask vets to bring 15 pairs of sterile, in-date surgical gloves in your size with you to use, and also if possible your own scrub tops – these must be plain without any logos. Facilities for washing these are available in the accommodation. We do not normally use hats or masks, if you normally use these then please bring your own. All cats arrive in cages or traps which can be transferred from without handling or which can be used to restrain the cat for injection. There is no direct handling needed. Cats are released the next day so all cats recover in the cage or trap they came in. There are no recovery kennels or pens as the cats are not present long enough to need these. Cats will be neutered from 8 weeks of age, spayed while pregnant, and euthanased if there is no prospect of a quick treatment for injuries.
Food and accommodation: We pay for two evening meals – a welcome meal taking place either on the Friday or Saturday before the course and a goodbye meal on the final night of the course. All other meal costs are the delegate’s responsibility. There are facilities to cook in the accommodation; supermarkets and mini-markets close by, and cafes and restaurants nearby. An evening meal in a good restaurant will cost between 15 and 20 Euros. Within 5 minutes of the clinic is a shopping mall with a food court. This has a good selection of lunch meals at around 4-9 euros, including some good vegetarian options.
Please be aware that there is virtually zero tradition of veganism in Portugal and only a tiny amount of vegetarianism. Therefore restaurants and cafes reflect this. If you are vegetarian please be aware that you will need to cook at home a lot and you need to learn the Portuguese names of food items before you leave if you want to eat out. Similarly if you are Jewish, Moslem, Adventist or of other faiths which prohibit consumption of pork, be aware that pork is used a lot in Portuguese cooking, and you will need to learn how to advise Portuguese waiting and serving staff of this. If you are a non meat-eater but eat fish then you will not have any difficulties in locating fish options on menus.
We have a code of conduct which all delegates need to follow, click here to view this.