Vet Med Students Volunteer in Costa Rica & Panama

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  • Day 4: Tuesday , July 12, 2011 - Clinic Day 2

    Today was our second day of the small animal clinic in Palomo, Cartago.  The clinic was once again set up in the community center with a room for check-in where the clients waited for their turn with their dogs and cats.  The larger room was divided up into areas for intake, surgery and recovery.  Our group was once again divided into 6 teams.

    My partner Tara and I saw 4 surgical cases - two neuters and two spays, all dogs.  We each assisted with one of each.  I performed most of a neuter with Dr. Bennett and a spay with Dr. Blas.  Our most interesting case of the day was a cocker spaniel that came in for a neuter.  He had very pronounced “cherry eye” or prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid in both eyes.  Dr. Ana explained that they had encouraged the owners to neuter him so they could fix his vision. 

    As with any other dog, he was muzzled for safety reasons upon intake and a full physical exam was performed to make sure he was healthy for surgery.  We administered the pre-medications and antibiotic then placed an IV catheter, shaved the surgical site and moved to the surgery table to administer the first dose of anesthesia.  Soon after the first dose was administered, he began vomiting large amounts of food.  He had about three bouts of vomiting before Dr. Blas asked me to draw up dexamethasone and anti-histamine to get the vomiting under control.  The owners are asked to restrict food but sometimes this does not happen.  Thankfully, the dog’s vomiting ceased andwe were able to continue with the surgeries. 

     Due to the clinic being set up very minimally, the method of removing the excess third eyelid that had prolapsed was very different from what is done in the states.  Dr. Blas used hemostats to clamp off about ¾ of the protruding third eyelid while Dr. Ana and Tara performed the castration with no complications.  He did this to cut off blood supply to the third eyelid.  After the hemostats had been on for awhile, we cut the excess third eyelid tissue off with a scalpel and then the area was cauterized to heat seal the incision site.   Dr. Blas reminded us to inform the owners that there might be slight bleeding from that area and to apply firm pressure for a few minutes to stop the blood flow.

    There were no other complications except for the excessive vomiting after the anesthesia was given.  During recovery, I was talking to Mauricio, one of the veterinary students helping us out as a technician, about how dangerous it can be for the animal to have not been fasted before surgery.  When the owners picked up their dog, he warned them of these dangers in the hope that they will spread the word about the risks associated with not restricting food before the animal goes into surgery. 

    Near the end of the day we also saw one consult that was a vaccine appointment.  For the consult, we did a full physical exam and once the animal was deemed healthy, we administered the rabies and multi vaccines, gave Ivermectin as a dewormer, sprayed for fleas, cleaned ears and clipped nails.  All the consults received a health paper listing the vaccinations given and the next date they need to be administered.   It was another busy and exhausting yet successful day at our small animal clinic.  Today we saw a total of 57 patients; of those, 25 were surgery and 32 were consults.  It’s great being able to come down to a place in need and offer services to people that would otherwise not receive them.  I look forward to what tomorrow will bring.


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