Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Meanwhile, back at MAWS....

Day 11- April 24 Fourteen seems to be the magic number for us. It probably has to do in part with the fact that we have 14 surgery packs, but also takes into account the time we'll finish all the surgeries and allow enough time to monitor the dogs through their recovery before Nation returns them to their homes. Today's batch had an unusually high number of males- ten compared to 5 females. I realize that adds up to 15, but one of the surgeries was a cat neuter- something that can easily be done in under 10 minutes once the cat is under anaesthetic. Most of the cats seen at the clinic are feral, collected from around the airport. They do a good service controlling rodents, but rare is the house cat in Maun. This one was a house cat. As intimidating as he appeared in the heavy wire mesh live-trap cage, he did not show the ears-back, crouched down, puffed up posture that a trapped cat will demonstrate. Quite the opposite in fact, pressing his nose against the bars of the cage to sniff and receive a scratch. Cats are kept in the washroom to keep them away from the canine patients. When Lazarus came out of the washroom after changing into his work clothes, he seemed concerned that the cat was having respiratory difficulties. I went in with my stethescope to check him out, but found him purring loudly and looking quite content. Since cats at the clinic are nearly always wild, Laz had never experienced one purring loudly like this, hence his concern. We assured him this was quite normal behaviour for a cat- sad he didn't get to see it more often. Today was also chemo day. We had seen 3 dogs last Tuesday with TVTs (transmissible venereal tumours), and all had received their first of three or four weekly doses of vincristine. Since one of the dogs had been at the clinic all along, I'd had the opportunity to keep an eye on her tumour, and noticed a substantial reduction in size when I checked in on her on Sunday afternoon. The other two were a couple males from surrounding villages. Both had been fairly aggressive when we saw them last week, but be it the lack of twelve other dogs in the back of the truck, or the effects of neutering, both were much easier to deal with today. Dr Richard Welland is leaving us today- he'll be out of town for the next week, but will be returning to help out with MAWS the week after we leave, able to ease the new volunteer veterinarians into the ways of the clinic. Our surgery load will be lower in number from here on in, but since I'll be the only veterinarian working, my workload will be a little higher. I'm comfortable that working with a group of top notch techs like Jackie, Isabelle and Lazarus will make it a breeze! Day 12- April 25 Time is flying by us- in less than a week we'll be leaving Maun. Hard to believe it's gone so quickly. Things went well today on my first day as a single vet practice. 10 dogs were brought in- 6 spays and 4 neuters were done and we were finished, not including recovery time, by 1PM. Nation had it easy today- Tana brought in three dogs, Marie dropped off four, and a gentleman from the area brought in his three. The fact that local people are booking time to have their dogs spayed and neutered is a good indication that MAWS is having a beneficial effect. People are learning the benefits of having their pets sterilized and vaccinated. Another thing that brought this to mind was the pregnant dog I spayed today-6 fetuses present- probably about mid-way along (25-30 days) the gestation period. She was the first pregnant dog I had seen since I got here, and Richard had only spayed one other. Last year, both at the MAWS clinic and at outreach projects, we were seeing at least one pregnant dog per day. Ally returned sometime last night with a half-dozen dogs from Ruretse Dog Rescue outside Gabarone (pronounced Ha-ba-roe-nay, I was corrected) which had recently shut down. We gave all these guys a once over, and apart from some minor ailments, all seemed to be in good form. We boosted some vaccines and returned the dogs to their kennels to recover from their 9 hour road trip yesterday Another indication of the impact MAWS is having in the area came when we were grocery shopping. They were out of tomatoes and peppers at Spar, so we went acvross the street to Choppies to see if they had any there. Jackie waited in the 4X4 while Isabelle and I went inside (sometime produce runs out of stock in town. This week it appears tomatoes aren't available). A gentleman named Sarifo approached Jackie, having noted the MAWS logo on the side of the truck. He had some concerns about a problem his dog was having and was wondering how he could get her checked out. We gave him the clinic number and asked him to call Laz in the morning- probably easier being able to discuss things in Tswana. We hope he calls- it could be just an infection, but it may be another TVT. Early treatment, including spaying, is the best way to approach these cases.

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