Team Nicaragua is sharing their last night together at the casa. The students have all had the opportunity to perform spays and neuters and the vets have thoroughly enjoyed teaching. The community was very welocming and we did a lot of good while we were here. This project was the first of many to come and we hope that spaying and neutering of pets will be commonplace in the coming years. This week was a big step in the right direction. We are thankful to Chris, Katie, Elvis, Harry and everyone else from Pelican Eyes for all of the organizing and planning that made this week a success. We were thankful to have Laura along as our translator this week and hope she comes on our trips often. We will watch for Jessica to apply to vet school instead of med school (we may have changed her career plans this week). We may also see Paulynne heading for vet school as well. They both have what it takes to make it. All of the students do. This was a truly a great group of individuals who came together for a common cause. I am thankful for everyones time, dedication and help. We saw a few last appointments at the clinic and did a final check up on Surger, our dog with the broken pelvis. He is walking and expected to make a full recovery. Tonight we were treated to a fabulous BBQ at the Pelican Eyes Hotel. Its time for me to sign off as we have to be up at 2am to head to the Managua airport in the morning.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
A new day and another clinic in Las Delicious, a barrio outside of San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua. All of our surgery patients from the past two days have fully recovered without complication. One person brought her dog back for a recheck but fortunately she was doing great and didn't have so much as a swollen incision area. Dr Shelley continued in appointments while Dr Mike, Dr Karen and Dr Kazi worked with the students (who by now can almost go solo in surgery). I helped Lester, our Nicaraguan vet student, in surgery while two local vets observed our methods and techniques. By mid-day the team was fading. Unfortunately we had 5 people come down with suspected food poisoning. A "sick ward" formed in the corner of the building where they all had some down time away from operating tables. After we returned home, Paulynne and I summoned a local nurse practitioner to come to the aid of our fallen teammates. Most were feeling better as the evening progressed. Even with a few people out of commission we still had a good day. In the past three days we have seen 189 animals. Tomorrow brings a much deserved day off for the team. While the group heads out for some fun in the sun, I will be scoping out our next clinic location for the November project and doing some strategic planning with Katie and Chris at Pelican Eyes about our future veterinary programs in Nicaragua. World Vets is excited about the prospect of helping so many animals in this area of the world .
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Today was the second day of our clinic in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. The day started off with Sarah and Katrina heading off on a farm call to check on a horse with severe anemia and photosensitization. Back at the clinic we had a steady flow of appointments and surgeries all day long. Katie and the crew from Pelican Eyes have done a fantastic job of getting the word out and keeping things moving smoothly through the day. All of the students had the opportunity to do several surgeries. We have all been very impressed with how well the students surgical skills have progressed in just two days. Part way through the day the power went away (as well as the water). Fortunately, our mobil clinics are equipped to run without either. We were happy to have plenty of headlamps, as they came in very handy today. Dr Shelley hung out her shingle and and was the primary vet seeing appointments today. She saw more than 30 appointments today alone ranging from skin conditions, to paralysis, to parasites and tumors. Two of her clients were gringos and the rest were local Nicaraguans. All were very grateful for the consultation and treatments they received. Kyle and Rachel ran the anesthesia induction and IV catheter station, while Jere and Paulynne oversaw the recovery ward. All of the vets really enjoyed teaching today. Dr Kazi spent quite a bit of time mentoring Fernando and Lester (Nicaraguans) in surgical techniques. His animated teaching stlye kept us all entertained! As we were winding down for the day we were presented with another dog hit by a car. Ironically, this dog also had a broken pelvis just like Surfer, the dog we saw yesterday. Speaking of Surfer, he did well through the night and was able to urinate, deficate and stand with assistance. He will be spend the next 6 weeks receiving care fromt the Stones and Waves Veterinary crew who well help rehabilitate him from his injuries. We will keep our fingers crossed that he will be able to recover without surgery. As I write this blog, the group is roasting organic coffee in the kitchen with some classic rock playing on the stereo. The coffee smells good and the mood is great!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The World Vets Nicaragua team is winding down after a long, hot day of surgeries and cosultations. Since this was the first sterilization clinic that has ever been done in the barrios of San Juan Del Sur, there was much curiosity and some apprehension from the locals as we expected. As the day went on, more and more dogs showed up. The nice thing with the pace being a little slow on the first day was that all of the students (vet students, pre-vet students and one pre-med) got to glove up and do surgery. All of the veterinarians thoroughly enjoyed the teaching aspect of the project today and I think the students were all thrilled to do, for most of them, their very first surgery. We also had a Nicaraguan veterinarian and vet student (Fernando and Lester) helping out in surgery and learning from the group. The day finished up with a taxi screeching down the dirt road to the clinic with a dog that had been run over by a surfing truck. We were able to stabilize the stray dog and determine that he had a broken pelvis. We will re-evaluate his condition in the morning and determine his course of treatment. All in all it was a great day. After work we headed back to the Casa and made our way up the hill in our 4wd shuttle truck. It takes two trips to get everyone to the top of the road but fortunately we have Jose (the guard), a pet monkey and trees full of Howler monkeys to keep us entertained at the bottom. Tomorrow we are head out early for another day of surgeries.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Even with several delayed flights, everyone made it safely and to Nicaragua. The long day of flights was followed by a three hour bus ride to San Juan Del Sur, followed by a a 4WD shuttle up the mountain to our final destination. Tomorrow we set up the the clinic in the barrio called Las Delicious. Patients will begin arriving bright and early tuesday morning, We have already heard that there are many dog owners anxiously awaiting our arrival to address a variety medical problems. This will be our first projet in the barrios and we hope to have a huge turnout. The Internet (which we are thankful to have) is a bit slow, so my post will be short tonight. This is a picture of some new friends we encountered on our travels today.
Friday, July 24, 2009
World Vets is having yet another busy month. Actually a busy week for that matter. While one team is busy spaying dogs in Farallon, Panama another is working on cattle in the South Pacific (Tonga to be exact) and yet another team is packing their bags for Nicaragua. The latter includes myself as the trip leader. Bright and early tomorrow morning 16 World Vets volunteers from Washington, South Dakota, Minnesota, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, California and New Jersey will head to the airport enroute to Nicaragua. A few are World Vets "veterans" like Dr Kazi a USDA veterinarian who worked with our Panama group earlier this year, and Rachel Baird a technician who went on our Honduras trip last year and Shawn Flottmeyer a pre-vet student who worked with us in Belize last year. Most of the others have never met and will be embarking on their first World Vets trip. Its hard to fully comprehend what we really do and and the impact that we have on the communities we visit until one has actually gone on a trip. Soon they too will have World Vets memories and experiences that will probably last a lifetime. We'll keep you updated this week (Internet permitting) on the happenings in Nicaragua. For me, the easy part starts once I board the plane tomorrow morning. The preparation that goes into each project is enormous. Once I pass the airport security gates I know that the packing, organizing, planning, e-mailing, permits, licenses and all the other various details are complete (at least I hope!). Now comes the good part. Meeting the team and working together to help the animals. Our project in Nicaragua will be taking place in an outlying barrio of San Juan Del Sur (about 3 hours from Managua). I was there just a few weeks ago setting up all the final logistics for the project along with Katie our local coordinator. Without Katie, the project couldn't happen. There is a ton of preparation that takes place on her end as well (advertising, securing a location, gathering supplies like tables for surgery and many other things). I am including a picture of the community where we will be working, called Las Delcious. Its now time for me to sign off and and finish up the last minute details before heading off to bed. I look forward to sharing the details of the project over the coming week.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Nearly every month, we send a veterinary team from the US to work with our Panama Division of World Vets called Spaypanama. SpayPanama is run by director Pat Chan, who is one of the hardest working and most dedicated people I have ever met. Thanks to her leadership, the SpayPanama team and the efforts of countless volunteers and veterinarians, more than 21,000 cats and dogs have been spayed and neutered all over Panama. Pat Chan is a true hero! The large scale sterilization efforts have brought about significant and lasting positive change to the overall animal welfare situation in Panama. A World Vets team arrived in Panama earlier this week and will be working in the clinic in Panama City, followed by a weekend spay blitz in Farallon, Panama. I don't have any picture updates from this group yet, but thought I'd share some photos from previous Panama projects with World Vets/SpayPanama.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Pacific Partnership is now nearly 6 weeks into the 4 month humanitarian aid mission providing medical, dental and veterinary assistance to the people and animals of Oceania. World Vets is proud to be a part of this important mission with the US Navy. Below are some pictures from the mission and a little glimpse into their morning commute.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
There's one thing that is very predictable on our trips abroad. There will always be lots of kids; helping, watching, catching dogs, peering through windows to the surgery room and bringing their pets to be spayed and neutered. I thought it would be nice to share pictures of some of the cute kids who have "helped out" on our projects.
Monday, July 20, 2009
We received official notice today that World Vets has received a grant from the Fondation Brigitte Bardot in Paris, France to support the first phase of a spay/neuter initiative in Ibarra, Ecuador. It is common practice in Ecuador for city governments to carry out mass strychnine poisonings of dogs and cats to control overpopulation. World Vets is hoping to bring an end to that practice. We have entered into a signed agreement with the municipal government of Ibarra stating that with our implementation of a spay/neuter program, the poisonings will end. We hope to have a team in Ecuador by this November to implement the surgical, training and education phase of the project. Dr Mike Corcoran, an emergency and critical care veterinarian of Vancouver Washington will be our project leader and Abraham Herrera will be our local logistics coordinator. For all our World Vets volunteers who have been anxiously awaiting a project in Ecuador, keep an eye on our website for official sign up information!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
We Facebook, Twitter, E-mail and Photo Share, not to mention sending veterinary teams to the far reaches of the globe multiple times every month to help thousands of animals in need. I guess it's finally time that we have a blog too. So here it is! With so much World Vets news happening every day, this is the best way to share the news and keep all of our dedicated volunteers, donors and supports up to date. I am not a writer or a photographer, but I'll do my best to share the news and pictures of World Vets in action.
So, whats happening RIGHT NOW? Something big, that's what! Daniel Gildea, a World Vets volunteer from San Jose California is currently in Tonga representing World Vets on Pacific Partnership 2009 (PP09). PP09 is a four month humanitarian aid mission providing medical, dental, veterinary and construction/engineering aid to the Oceania region. The mission is carried out with teams traveling from country to country onboard a US Navy ship. World Vets is honored to be the veterinary NGO represented on this partnership with the US Military, partner nations and other NGO's.
Daniel boarded the USNS Amelia Earhart in San Diego in mid-June. After spending a couple weeks at sea organizing gear and supplies, the team made a mid-sea helicopter transfer to the USS Richard Byrd and headed for their first 2-week mission in Samoa. Additional stops will include Tonga, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati.