We began our Global Vets adventure the day after arriving in Koh Samui. The shelter we worked at is called Koh Samui Dog and Cat Rescue which houses approximately 300 dogs and 100 cats. The centre runs mostly off of donations and provides services to local pet owners at discounted rates to encourage sterilization and preventive medicine as the island has a large stray population. The centre also takes in stray and injured animals as well as adopt out healthy ones. Our stay lasted 10 days and we were faced with many different tasks such as bandage changes, wound cleaning, amputations, spay and neuters, vaccinations, bathing and removing ticks.
One interesting case was a stray male orange tabby cat who was found by a local Samaritan with a string wrapped around its hind leg. The string had cut off circulation to the distal portion of the leg and there was indication of a struggle as the paw was broken in several spots exposing the underlying bone. The appropriate course of action to save this little cat was to amputate the injured limb. Dr. Sith conducted the surgery and because the cat was intact he also performed a castration at the time of surgery. Below is a picture of the injured leg (WARNING: Graphic image). This little guy did extremely well and was eating, drinking and hopping around on his 3 legs the next day!
Another memorable case at the shelter was a young female mixed breed dog. As with many cases at the shelter the history of the injury was unknown. This dog was in poor condition when we arrived on our first day; she had open wounds surrounding her elbow and stifle joints on two of her limbs and both were infested with maggots. We began by cleaning and debriding the wounds, removing the maggots, providing pain medication, antibiotics and IV fluids. It quickly became a daily routine to change her bandages and clean the wounds, but as each day passed her condition worsened and the wounds spread. We became quite attached to her and gave her the name Foxy as we spent many hours a day working with her. Despite our best efforts her injuries were too severe and she was too weak to battle the infection. We will always have fond memories of her as she was one of our sweetest patients.
Our last story is about a male dog who had a chronic bite wound when we arrived. The wound was on top of his head and was fairly deep. Granulation tissue (a step in the healing process) had started to form but unfortunately the wound had become home to maggots. Each day we cleaned the wound and removed the maggots and as the week progressed, he improved dramatically. By the end of our stay the wound had not completely healed, however it had improved significantly and no maggots were to be found. We hope he continues to have a speedy recovery!
We would like to thank Samui Dog and Cat rescue and Dr. Sith for hosting us. It was an excellent first project to begin our Global Vets journey. We learned so much, made many new friends and will take away some great memories!
– Crystal, Katelyn and Claire