Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clinic work - Days 3, 4, 5

Work at the clinics - two separate veterinarian offices in Trujillo - is (obviously) a very different experience than the shelter work. While the shelter working is physically taxing, the clinic work is emotionally taxing. Courtney and Matt set this part of the project up so that we had two US vets (Lisa and Stephanie) at one clinic working with two Peruvian vets (Fernando and Jack) and at the other clinic we had a US vet (Brenda) and a US vet technician (Natalie) working with one Peruvian vet (Ingrid). Each day at the clinic, there were also Perros Project volunteers assisting the vets in many ways and this is what I did for the majority of days 3-5. Courtney and Matt worked diligently with the vets and other locals who work with the municipalities of Trujillo and Huanchaco to advertise that we would be there offering folks free spays and neuters June 21 - 26, so people brought in their dogs and some cats in to the clinics on all of those days. No appointments, so yes, it was chaotic at times.

The first day of clinic work for me was at the San Theresa clinic workinng with Brenda and Natalie. I found that they were doing more spays than neuters because in the Peruvian culture (and still the US culture for some) people are hesitant to take away the "masculinity" of their dogs. Much of the outreach work and education we did focused on explaining the health benefits (less incidence of cancer) of neutering the males and how it also helps their temperment. San Theresa was fairly clean, but small - approximately half the size of the waiting room alone of the vet that I go to here in the states. Because neuter and spay is not prevalent in Trujillo, there is really not a good "recovery area" for the animals post-surgery. We had to make do with laying them on the floor on cardboard and newspaper in a small back room and helpd some of the animals who were cold post-surgery until they woke up. At this clinic I assisted in taking notes of the vitals - gender, species, weight, history if any was known and then notes about the pre and post medications we gave them. Every dog and cat we treated while we were there received post-op antibiotics and pain medications and flea treatment - this is not par for the course for regular spays and neuters is my understanding. Spays and neuters and all of these medications are extremely expensive in Peru - a spay costs about $100 or nearly 300 soles in Peru and that does not include post-op medications. The motivation to spend so much money on what is deemed an unnecessary surgery is just nonexistant. One Day three at San Theresa, we had an influx of cats, so we ended up fixing four dogs and 6 cats that day. Brenda is a very experienced vet who has done similar veterinary volunteer work in other countries including Bolivia and countries in Africa.

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