Week two of our Global Vets trip has just come to an end and we have been loving every minute of it! If you are following our blog, you know that we started the week with a half day. You would also know that we have been observing and participating in quite a few spays and neuters. We are very keen on learning the procedures and improving our knowledge of the reproductive tract anatomy because we are required to do them in third year at OVC. After taking the morning to ourselves on Monday, we were offered the opportunity for one of us to perform a spay on a dog from start to finish. Up first was myself, Noreen. The idea of performing a full invasive surgery was nerve wracking but I knew I would be okay because I had both Dr. Chuma and Dr. Ndanu by my side. In addition, Vivek would be my assistant during the prodedure, as I would be his when he performs surgeries. Once again, the spay was performed in the client’s front yard, and thankfully everything went smoothly and the spay was a success!
We continued the theme of surgeries on Tuesday, starting with some canine castrations. Dr. Ndanu guided us through the procedure one more time to start the morning, and then allowed us to perform them on our own. This time Vivek started, and we alternated through a total of 5 dogs. All the neuters went smoothly, and we took a short break for lunch before moving on to a spay in the afternoon. The spay in the afternoon was performed by Vivek with myself assisting. Once again everything went well!
On Wednesday we visited Merlino Animal Clinic again. We assisted and observed during some routine appointments (including a ridiculously adorable Rottweiler puppy check-up!) and also discussed an interesting in-clinic case. A dog had presented with anorexia, was emaciated and lethargic, and had inflamed jaw muscles. His inflamed masseter muscles were inhibiting his ability to chew and he had actually bit off a piece of his tongue just before his owner brought him in. The vets had recently come to a diagnosis of polymyositis and began treating him for that the day before. He was already showing improvement although he did have a breathing problem in the early afternoon, at which point we had to keep him by the oxygen tank until he improved (which he did). Just before starting our afternoon surgeries, our friends at Mbwa wa Africa rushed in a dog that had ate poisoned meat. They said they had found him with 5 other poisoned dogs that were dead, but they still had hope for this one. The vets quickly began treatment but within minutes his condition deteriorated severely and he was humanely euthanized. Unfortunately some people here choose to deal with the street dog population problem by leaving poisoned meat out in the street.
Thursday was intended to be another day of surgeries, some routine bovine cases and poultry vaccinations, but first we were called to an emergency case of a dog with paraphimosis. Just before arriving we got a call asking us to rush to a bovine dystocia case but we decided to finish with the dog first and then head over to the cow. Upon arriving, we learned that the dog had actually been suffering from this condition for about a month! I began with the castration while Vivek sutured the opening of the prepuce to make it smaller. While performing the castration, I found a large mass that also needed to be removed, so the appointment ended up taking about 10 minutes longer than expected. As we were finishing up, Dr. Chuma got a call saying that the calf came out so we no longer needed to attend the bovine dystocia case. Instead we went to the pig farm where we had castrated piglets last week to provide some newborn piglets with iron injections. We learned that the piglets have no other source for iron and therefore must get it through an injection when they are young or they will suffer from iron-deficiency anemia and likely die. After the piglets we planned on doing some spays but Dr. Chuma received another call for a bovine dystocia case so went straight to that. He began a C-section although he had been told the calf was already dead. As we pulled out the calf we realized she was still alive so Vivek tied off the umbilical cord while Dr. Ndanu and I removed the placental lining. Vivek and I then took turns suturing the uterus and the skin. By the time we were done with the cow and calf it was too late to start the spay, so we called it a day and planned to do the spays the next day.
On Friday morning I performed a spay, and in the afternoon Vivek performed one. Both bitches were pregnant so the surgeries took longer and involved more complications than normal. With Dr. Chuma’s helpful advice, we each completed our spays successfully.
Saturday was our last day in Arusha. We started the day with a few more castrations and then met with Filbert to go for a long hike to visit a waterfall in the Arusha area. We then had a farewell dinner with the BHO staff, during which they gave us gifts, certificates, and thanked us for coming. We are really going to miss everyone in Arusha but are looking forward to our South Africa adventure!
On Sunday we had a day long layover in Dar, so we spent the day at the beach and went back to the airport on Monday morning. In total, our transportation time to George from Dar took about 7 hours. We arrived at about two today and immediately met with Dr. Willem Burger and his assistant, Susan. To our surprise they were ready to start working on some animals immediately, so we went straight to a sable antelope farm to immobilize (with a dart gun) and treat a sable that likely had a parasite infecting the gastrointestinal tract. Although we hadn’t yet confirmed the diagnosis, Dr. Burger treated the animal so that he wouldn’t need to immobilize the animal again if his differential was correct. We collected some feces in order to later confirm the diagnosis. After the sables we visited a safari-type place for tourists that had a sick elephant cow. She had been suffering from bloat a little while ago and had multiple lesions on her feet. Dr. Burger looked her and her young calf over and decided we would come back the next morning to treat her. By this time it was 5pm so we headed to Dr. Burger’s home where we will be staying for the next 2 weeks. To our surprise, we found out that he also keeps some of his patients at the house to better monitor them. There are currently 4 sables here that are recovering from tick paralysis (he has a large fences off plot of land for them) and an owl that got hit by a car this morning. More to come about our work here next week!