August 24, 2016

Getting to Know the Clinic




ONGD Amazon CARES in Iquitos, Peru
We arrived at the clinic for the first time, where I would be spending the next three weeks working alongside the veterinary staff in their daily work. The clinic is located in a charming little 3-story building, with lime green walls and bright, colorful signs and decorations throughout. Two staff members, Susan and Marjorie, were assisting a client with a small pup in the reception area when Ann escorted us to the back treatment area where we were introduced to Dr. Edwin Inga and Dr. Fernando Rodriguez, the amazing veterinarians of Amazon CARES. Dr. Edwin and veterinary assistant Junior tended to a patient receiving fluid therapy while Dr. Fernando started to give us a tour of the clinic. I began my attempts to converse in broken Spanish, quickly realizing that it was much easier to ask a question than it was to understand the answer (the team was kind enough to always talk to me slowly and repeat themselves!). Improving my Spanish skills was another goal I had during my time in Peru and it looked like I would be starting full throttle on that one.

Surgical Suite
There were four exam tables in the treatment area where patients can receive physical exams, treatment, and fluid therapy- this is where Sydney and I would be spending a lot of time assisting with appointments. They also have a curtained-off isolation area which at the time was being used to house some orphan kittens that had recently surrendered to them, as well as a surgical suite. The 2nd and 3rd floors had a kitchen, supply room, grooming area, a beautiful outdoor cat condo, and area for small dog housing. 


Treatment Area
Dr. Fernando explained that the dog receiving fluids on the exam table was diagnosed with Ehrlichia, which is a tick-borne infection pretty common in the U.S., but extremely common and severe in Iquitos. Dogs will typically present to the clinic with non-specific signs such as lethargy, depression, and lack of appetite. The infection can progress to more severe life-threatening disease through destruction of vital cells like red blood cells (causing anemia) and platelets (used for clotting blood). While some topical flea & tick preventative medications are available in Peru, it doesn’t seem to be as widely used as I am used to seeing back home. At Amazon CARES, intravenous fluid therapy is an important aspect of supportive care for patients with this disease. In the coming weeks, I was prepared to see diseases and conditions that were much different from what I've seen, as well as different and innovative approaches to treatment with limited resources.

After getting settled, we were going on a cat-catching adventure in the local Belen Market- part of a feral street cat spay and neuter campaign. Stay tuned for the scoop!
Getting a puppy fix!

Written by Sarita Patel, Amazon CARES Volunteer 

13 comments:

  1. Can't wait the read the rest of your story!! It's so nice of you to help out! Your Spanish will be flawless in no time!!

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  2. What a neat post--having worked as a vet tech in the past, I know it can be pretty overwhelming even when you speak the same language!

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  3. What an interesting volunteer opportunity! I was in Iquitos about 18 years ago. I do remember that there was a large feral cat population.

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  4. What an amazing story! Good luck on your new clinic.

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  5. This looks like an awesome facility that is giving wonderful care to animals in need. I'm glad you were able to spend time there and share your experiences with us!

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  6. It was interesting reading about the more prevalent diseases there. I imagine ticks are much more worse than where we live as well.

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  7. It's always interesting to learn about animal care in other parts of the world. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. It's always interesting to learn about animal care in other parts of the world. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. What a well set-up clinic and that building is so cute. Good luck with the cat-catching, TNR is so important in the community.

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  10. This is such a helpful and giving thing you are doing. I'm not sure I could work like this, even if it is helping out the fur children I love.

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  11. Thank you doing this wonderful work and thank you for sharing the story cannot wait to learn and read more

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  12. The clinic looks awesome. I bet you learned a lot from this experience!

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  13. What a awesome story!! The clinic looks so amazing!!!

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