August 23, 2012

Spay Neuter in the Amazon, Big “Fix” Begins

by Guest Blogger MARY HAIGHT, originally published on on AUGUST 14, 2012

A rooster calls the start of the day at what I think must be 4am, then he makes a sound that is a lot like laughter…joke’s on you, it’s not daybreak yet! The volunteer lodge has signs of quiet shifting happening – soon enough we’ll be setting up for area surgeries.

Dr. Sean Pampreen operates with curious onlookers.   © DancingDogBlog
Breakfast omelets, fresh juice and the ever present carbs got everyone ready for what would be a long day. Big plastic oval picnic type tables, the kind you would buy at your local home store for the back yard, were set up for spay neuter surgeries, washed and covered with plastic sheets firmly taped to the sides. Medicines, needles, betadine, sterilized surgical items carefully wrapped and all other necessary items for spay/neuter, fleas, and whatnot were brought in by the mobile clinic and set up on the vet’s table. Soap, alcohol, a dilution of Clorox were at the ready to meet pre and post op needs.  

Dr. Megan Prendergrast at work in Cabo Lopez.  © DancingDogBlog
It started off with two dogs, then one, then suddenly there were ten and more coming…the vets were off and running, standing for hours and hours, in heat that creates a constant slick on your forehead, and you should see what pours out of the surgical gloves as they slide off their hands. Yet did I hear complaints? Not one…well, barring the joke made by one who wanted to know where the music was for his “operating room”.

Neighbors have told neighbors and word has gotten out to bring your dogs for sterilization, a general exam, flea preventive, and solutions for sick dogs. Medications are limited and vet volunteers have brought some meds with them. I was thinking it would be great if one of the large drug companies could back the work of this organization by providing much needed medical supplies.The work that is done by the volunteer vets during the four sessions a year Amazon CARES has for this massive spay neuter effort is fantastic. 

Dr. Sealy Racelle LaMar of Northtown Veterinary Hospital explains a procedure.   © DancingDogBlog
None of this hard work stops with sterilization. Long after the vet volunteers are gone, Amazon CARES continues their work with a very fine local staff of vets and nurses at their spay/neuter clinic in Iquitos, educates local populations via a new television show and their well-established outreach programs in the schools. Amazon CARES regularly rescues street dogs for not only sterilization, but to treat disease. The end of July and beginning of August saw a massive response to special low-cost treatments at the clinic. The volunteer veterinary trips help the group branch out to surrounding areas, servicing remote villages with no regular doctors, let alone veterinary services.

Every day here is like a free sauna, and will be more pronounced (do not ask me how that is possible lol) when we get to the deep jungle near the Brazilian boarder. That’s where the only shower you’re going to get is when it rains or when you decide it’s safe to swim in the Amazon. If you are recalling that House episode about the tiny fish that got up the wrong place, believe me, I’m thinking about it:) 

 Tomorrow we go to a poverty ridden neighborhood outside Iquitos. More to come later!

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