Up the Amazon River and Into the Surgery Suite We Go

April 12, 2011

Photo of Amazon Cares Sign Iqitos PeruToday was our first official day of work for our crew of Amazon Cares volunteers. From our quarters in Iquitos, we boated up a branch of the Amazon River to Amazon Cares’ regional office and veterinary facility to pick up supplies for our day.

We had a brief chance for WiFi access, so I was eager for the opportunity to post a new article, Journey into the Jungle: From Lima to Iquitos.

Our task was to run a mobile spay and neuter facility in the Nuevo Versalles neighborhood of the District of Punchana along with a local veterinarian and assistants from Amazon Care. Once our government escort arrived, we gathered our scrubs, scalpels, and surgery skills and headed out by truck and motor rickshaw over the muddy, rough road.

Once there, we were greeted by an eager group of pet owners with their dogs and cats in need of medical services. Being the only true spanish speaker, Molly Medinikow, president of Amazon Cares, checked in the pets and left the surgical preparation and procedures up to the relatively spanish illiterate gringoes.

Photo of PM MM i Love Dogs Sign Peru
As i Love Dogs premium canine supplements is the top corporate sponsor of our trip, we displayed our gratitude prominently through a banner at the front of our pool hall turned makeshift veterinary hospital.

Both dogs and cats required spays and neuters, so Dr Jessica Vogelsang (Dr V) and I worked efficiently alongside our Peruvian veterinary compatriot to complete our procedures.

Photo of Molly Mednikow Dr Patrick Mahaney Catherine Mock Surgery

The most dramatic aspects of our cases included my dog suddenly waking up and projectile vomiting moments from the conclusion of her spay and Dr V removing two extremely premature kittens from a pregnant queen.
Photo of Pregnant Female Cat Spay Surgery

The conditions were steamy, sweat soaked my scrub top, pool tables served multiple roles as surgery tables (which had me hunching over in a fashion very ergonomically incorrect for my fragile back), and my head lamp adequately served as a surgery light. Truly, it was an experience none like which I had ever previously participated.

Our team is now adequately warmed up to be more proficient with patient intakes, examinations, and procedures on subsequent mobile spay and neuter clinic days.

Photo of Sunset Amazon River Boat Peru

Now, we will soak in the sunset on our treck back down the river to our quarters to shower off all this perspiration, miscellaneous environmental debris, and DEET topical insecticide. More vets abroad adventures to come tomorrow!

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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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Manuela April 12, 2011 at 7:35 PM

You ROCK Dr. Patrick!!! I am so glad to read about your first official day, and see couple of pictures! Really amazing!

sally cameron April 13, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Hi Patrick! So glad you are posting about your adventure. It’s got to be amazing being there with the working conditions and all. I’m sure people are very appreciative to have you and the team there to help them. Congrats on the success of your first official day.

Patrick Mahaney April 14, 2011 at 6:28 AM

Hi Sally,
Thank you for your well wishes from California, my true home. I certainly better appreciate the things we have in our Western world when I see the conditions in which the Peruvians live!
I’m glad to be here and making a difference though.

Kurt Schmitt April 17, 2011 at 7:34 AM

Wow, amazing stuff! Is anyone videotaping all of this? It would make a cool documentary. I think we need a well run, well publicized, mobile clinic in every area of the United States.

Patrick Mahaney April 17, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Thank you for your comments. Do you know of a documentarian that will be willing to film me on a future trip? I am getting some of our Vets Abroad trip on video, which will be published on my Patrick Mahaney You Tube. Please sign up for email delivery of my blog and share it with others. Dr PM

Kurt Schmitt April 18, 2011 at 5:03 AM

Hi Dr. Patrick,

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any resource for the filming. I have to believe that it would be a good project for a film student, though, or perhaps there is a video blogger or YouTube partner somewhere out there who would do it. Maybe Joe Vass http://twitter.com/JCVdude would be interested?

Patrick Mahaney April 18, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Thank you. I will definitely check him out! Keep in touch and I hope to hear from your again. Dr PM

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