Our second official day of clinical work with Amazon Cares brought its own set of unique challenges. The makeshift veterinary facility was the same, but today even more people showed up with their pets seeking wellness care.
Fortunately, our group was able to work more cohesively with each other and the local Amazon Cares veterinary staff. Therefore, the flow of patient intake, surgical preparation, and completion of procedures was smoother and we were able to get more accomplished.
From a standpoint of the surgical cases for which Dr V (Jessica Vogelsang, AKA Pawcurious) and I were responsible, both the number and technical challenge increased.
There is extraordinary canine overpopulation (cats, slight less so) and lack of routine medical services in Iquitos neighborhoods that are less well developed. As a result, many pets live much of their lives in an unhealthy fashion on the street and become sexually capable of producing offspring with remarkable regularity.
Yesterday, Dr V did a spay procedure on a pregnant cat with embryonic kittens. Today, I performed two spays on dogs having very well developed fetuses potentially capable of sustaining life outside of the womb if given a longer time to mature and be born.
Unfortunately for the puppies, there is an exceeding need for population control in Iquitos and the owner was unable to care for the newborns. They were humanely euthanized immediately after being removed from their mother’s abdomen.
If the canine infants were born on the street, it is unlikely they would survive without human assistance. Even with help from people who adopt the puppies into their homes, scavenging is the main means dogs acquire nutrition, infectious diseases (mange, gastrointestinal parasites, etc) run rampant through the population, and the likelihood of trauma (hit by motor rickshaw or car, animal fights, etc) is extremely high.
Through the amazing work of Amazon Cares, pet owners in Peru receive free or low cost veterinary care. Many dogs and cats are sterilized and receive quality of life improving treatments that otherwise would be inaccessible or financially unattainable.
The ethical dilemma of having to terminate the pregnancies of female dogs put much stress on the entire volunteer team and we were grateful to return town for a late lunch at a place that reminded us of home, called Texas (even though I am from California). Our spirits were elevated by the restaurant’s truly tacky and entertaining entertaining decor, including some very amusing, hand painted signs.
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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.