Our third day of full on veterinary work with Amazon Cares found us motoring to a new site to provide wellness services to dogs fresh from the streets of Iquitos.
No, these dogs weren’t on the cutting edge of fashion with their edgy street style. Their trend was more akin to emaciation, parasite infestation (mange, fleas, and ticks), pendulous mammary glands and testicles, and swollen vulvas. Needless to say, these were not well cared for dogs, as they lacked homes, owners, and any regular veterinary care.
Led by the amazingly committed Bruno Antoine, the Peruvian Amazon Cares crew spent the previous evening and a portion of the morning capturing over twenty dogs with large nets and keen persistence. Once the dogs were assembled in caged groups, their personalities were revealed; some were docile and friendly, while others were aggressive and challenging to handle.
Our team had a pre-procedure meeting to smooth out some rough spots challenging us in our attempt to bridge the communication gap between Spanish speaking local and non-Spanish literate international (United States, United Kingdom, and Scotland) Amazon Cares volunteers. How could we reasonably work as a team and provide appropriate medical care to dogs in need when we can’t understand their language (or vice versa).
The meeting was a success and we took off examining, medicating, performing surgery on, and recovering our patients. As compared to the two days before (see Up the Amazon River and Into the Surgery Suite We Go and When Spaying a Pregnant Dog in a Third World Country What Happens to the Puppies) when dog and cat owners brought their pets into Amazon Cares’ mobile clinic for complimentary wellness care, today’s group of street dogs appeared considerably more unwell.
There is such remarkable contrast between the lives of these abandoned dogs and those I typically treat in my Los Angeles based house call acupuncture practice. The poor physical condition of most of these canines far exceeds anything I have ever seen during my years of clinical practice.
Post-treatment, these dogs will be released back into the street and will have a fresh start to leading a healthier life. They have been sexually altered and treated for both external and internal parasites.
Once neutered or spayed, they are incapable of further contributing to the massive canine overpopulation in Iquitos. After being dewormed (yes, let’s make sure that we are using the term correctly….NOT “wormed”, it is dewormed) and treated for fleas, ticks, and mange, a noticeable improvement in their immune system’s functioning will occur.
Another day has come and gone and we are feeling the fatiguing effects of continuous patient care, subprime working conditions, and equatorial heat. We ended the day on a pleasant note having a beverage at a riverside hostel/bar with amazing views of the sunset strewn sky.
Please help Amazon Cares continue to make grounds in enhancing the health of dogs and cats in Peru by making a tax deductible donation to their cause. As I am donating my time, experience, and labor to Amazon Cares, the other volunteers and I would appreciate your financial aid.
Thank you to i Love Dogs premium canine supplements for your premiere sponsorship of our vets abroad trip into the Amazon Jungle in the name of animal welfare.
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Copyright of this article (2011) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.