May 31, 2011

Quita the Pup Finds New Home in the USA!

Back at the office clinic in Iquitos after she decided she wanted to keep us.
This blog post, written by Vets Abroad volunteer Nikka Harvey, originally appeared on her blog at  

Meet “Quita” (Kee-ta) from Iquitos, Peru. She has a heartwarming story. Since birth, we can only assume, Quita survived on street rations, garbage and puddle water as she roamed the streets in her daily search for food, water and shade.
She was found by the Amazon CARES volunteers that I am currently working with while here in Peru.

May 26, 2011

Last Day Reflections on Vet Trip

Dr. Patrick Mahaney and Dr. Jessica Vogelsang take a moment to reflect on their Amazon CARES experience on their last day with the Vets Abroad program in Iquitos.

May 25, 2011

May 23, 2011

The Suite Life by Guest Blogger Dr. V.

In my world, surgery is always done in the same sort of suite: sterile, with bleached floors, bright fluorescent lights that shine with blinding precision upon what needs to be illuminated, and an ergonomic table that can be lifted to the exact height one needs to eliminate those pesky hunchback issues during surgical procedures.

Needless to say that is not really the case here in Peru. Here, we stack benches in old schoolhouses, cover pool tables with plastic, and balance a plank on a sawhorse to create any sort of workable flat surface. Sandbags with twine provide surgical placement, and without the glow of an REI headlamp, I’d have no idea what the heck I was operating on.

Days 1 and 2: Ye Olde Pool Hall becomes the suite du jour. Waiting area, observation area, and surgical suite all combined into one.

May 19, 2011

In Defense of Capture-Neuter-Release

We have written about the topic of Animal Birth Control previously.  See An Explantion of Animal Birth Control Programs.  We felt it was time to update our position on this very important topic.  Last week we posted a video demonstrating our trapping of street dogs.  The World Animal Awareness Society picked up the video almost immediately, explaining the important of Capture-Neuter-Release programs (CNR) in controlling animal populations.

The Iquitos area has thousands of dogs, most of them falling in the category of “owned - not controlled” or simply “roaming.”  While residents may consider they own a dog, the general idea of dog ownership is far different from western norms - the dog is not generally fed, instead living on scraps and garbage.  It is likely not sterilized and loaded with parasites; it roams freely, and many times there is a sense that the dog is a “neighborhood dog” - not belonging to any one person, but to a community at large.  These dogs are among those with the highest reproductive rate - while they are dependent upon humans for resources (namely, their trash), they breed at will, and they are self-sufficient, competent foragers.  

Consistent with SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) guidelines, CARES’ efforts have always been concentrated on easing suffering of these street dogs as well as implementing animal birth control through sterilization to aid in population control.  

May 17, 2011

Shelter Dogs Receive Vet Exams, i Love Dogs Supplements

Guest Blog Post by Patrick Mahaney

Photo of PM Patrick AC PeruOur last day at our Amazon Cares summer camp-esque quarters started off with the continuation of the previous night’s thunderstorms. After all, we are in the rainforest, right?
Out task for the day was to patrol the adjacent neighborhoods providing education and non-surgical wellness care to the local dogs and cats. The heavy rain kept us from partaking on this venture, so we focused on the dogs within the Amazon Cares shelter.
Adoptable healthy dogs and dealing with chronic illness (making them less likely to be adopted, therefore permanent shelter residents), live in this refuge from the tough street life they would otherwise face in Iquitos and surrounding communities (see When Spaying a Pregnant Dog in a Third World Country What Happens to the Puppies? and Capturing Treating and Releasing the Street Dogs of Iquitos). This little black dog, Patrick, was named after me. I call him Patricio and look forward to seeing photos of him grow and play with his other canine buddies.

Photo of PM Examine AC Martita iLD PeruDr. V (Jessica Vogelsang of and I worked with Amazon Cares veterinarian, Luis Vasilly, to evaluate some of the these dogs and lend a fresh perspective on their treatments. Considering the harsh climatic circumstances, less than ideal nutrition, and exposure to illness and stressors before coming to the Amazon Cares rescue, these animals have made considerable improvements in their overall health through western medical treatments.

I introduced dietary supplements from i Love Dogs into their treatment protocols, so an appropriate recommendation was established for each dog. Either single or combination therapy of i Love Dogs Multivitamin, Reishi with Green Tea, Glucosamine/Chondroitin, or Green Tea will provide generalized or specific nutritional support to benefit a variety of canine illness.

Photo of Harry i Love Dogs Amazon Cares PeruOne lucky dog, named Martita (after the fabulous i Love Dogs general manager, Martha Smith) looks healthier with each passing day in her new environment under the care of Dr. Vassily. We are now going to start Martita (seen in above photo) on i Love Dogs Reishi with Green tea to boost her immune health to aid in her fight against sarcoptic mange.

We had a big night planned, as we were spending the evening in Iquitos as compared to our jungle home down river. I am slated to give a lecture on holistic and integrative veterinary medicine at the Alliance Francaise Iquitos, which as arranged by one of our fearless Amazon Cares leaders, Bruno Antoine.
Also speaking at the event was a local biologist, Elsa Rengifo Salgado, who runs a practice in Iquitos providing phytotherapy to human patients. Collectively, we will educate anyone interested in means of treating illness in animals and people besides the sole use of conventional medication.

Photo of PM Amazon Cares Presentation Sign Peru

This blog was originally featured on on  April 16, 2011.  Friend Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook and follow @PatrickMahaney on Twitter.

May 15, 2011

Thank You i Love Dogs! Trip Stats!

Photo by Patrick Mahaney
The April Vets Abroad volunteer trip had the extreme benefit of a new Sponsor. In addition to Foundations that support us and our travel partners, one entity became our first ever individual trip sponsor. I am speaking of I Love Dogs, Inc. Thank you to I Love Dogs for their Platinum Sponsorship of our trip. I was thrilled to create tee shirts and banners to prominently display their logo, and we provided exclusive updates for the I Love Dogs website.

In addition to their financial contribution, they also donated a large amount of supplements. With the help of Dr. Patrick Mahaney we determined which supplements would be of most benefit to each of our shelter dogs. Our shelter dogs are in various stages of recovery, but I learned that even the healthy dogs benefit greatly from the quality supplements made by I Love Dogs, Inc.

I was thrilled to find the perfect puppy to bear the name Martita, named in honor of Martha Smith, general manager of I Love Dogs, Inc.  See video.

The Vets Abroad team sterilized 96 animals, provided treatments to 267 dogs plus 25 dogs that received a complete set of vaccinations (supply was limited).  Sadly we had to euthanize two dogs that were extremely ill and suffering.  We provided anti-parasite treatments to 1576 humans.  To some these numbers will seem insignicant.  We worked for 9 days with 2-3 operating Veterinarians.  Bear in mind we do these campaigns all year long.  For further explanation about the importance of stray dog campaigns, see our blog entry about Animal Birth Control.

May 5, 2011

Vet Nurse June Allison: Feisty & Photogenic

Photo by Mikhael Boutchine.

The April Vets Abroad trip benefited greatly from the skills of an incredibly photogenic Veterinary Nurse!  This feisty volunteer who speaks the truth and calls it as she sees it is none other than skilled Veterinary Nurse June Allison. June was a wonderful addition to the April Vets Abroad team, serving in the capacity of surgery nurse to two-three veterinarians simultaneously.

She hails from Scotland, but she now resides in Australia. In addition to an outstanding resume and education in Vet Nursing, she also studied photography and drama. This no doubt explains why "the camera loves her," according to our professional photographer volunteer Mikhail Boutchine. It is true that June's photograph's seem almost ethereal in nature.

May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dog is my Capitan!

Marone: "Yo no soy Marinero.  Soy Capitan.  Soy Capitan."

Martita, named for Martha Smith of i Love Dogs, Inc.

May 2, 2011

Some Puppies Can't Beat the Odds.....

I mentioned in the blog "A Flood of Water, A Flood of Pups," that we have been inundated not only with a true flood due to rising water, but also a flood of abandoned puppies and kittens.  Sadly, many of these helpless creatures are born with the odds stacked heavily against them.  Their mothers may have been malnourished or ill.  More importantly, Peruvians don't understand that newborns need to be with their mother for at least a month.

Photo by M. Boutchine
I named several puppies, the first two being Mikhail and Jessica.  They were tiny, and had been found together.  Luckily, Jessica, named to honor Dr. V. of, is thriving and eats well and loves to play with the other, older and stronger puppies.  Sadly, Mikhail passed away.  He was named to honor our volunteer photographer Mikhail Boutchine.  Mikhail and I buried him in a special place at our animal shelter, at which time Mikhail commented, "Somehow I knew, when I first held him, that he was not destined to live.  There was a deep sadness in his eyes.  And I understood.  I only knew him for ten days, but his short life has made an impact on me."  He added that some creatures, including humans, are given a chance while others are not.  It was a notion he hadn't thought about for some time...until the moment in which I held the lifeless Mikhail in my hands and told the deceased puppy of all the other dogs waiting for him Over the Rainbow Bridge.

Sadly, three more puppies have died in the last four days.  We have since quarantined the rest.  I brought three puppies to the clinic today where they are receiving fluids and vitamins via IV.  Sadly, a cute tiny black puppy is barely hanging on.  When I looked in on him moments ago I sensed his end was near.  Though still breathing, the life seemed to have already left his body.  I held him in my arms and cried as he passed.

Rest in Peace.

Puppies Patricio, named for Dr. Patrick Mahaney and Lucas, named for volunteer Luke Marriott, and, as I stated above, Jessica, all continue to thrive.  Martita, named for Martha Smith of i Love Dogs, Inc., our VetsAbroad Trip Sponsor, is also thriving!  All three enjoy roughhousing together.

This blog post is by Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety (CARES).  Visit our website and please support our work with a financial donationNever miss a blog post by subscribing by email in the top right hand corner of this page.  Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!