Spay And Neuter Clinics 2013
Spay and Neuter Clinic with Dagmar Stech and Dr. Bronja Berenfeld
June 7th - 21st 2013
Dagmar Stech and Dr. Bronja Berenfeld landed late on Friday night in Puerto Plata. They passed customs without problems. They were picked up by A.A.A.S. volunteers Elaine and Rob and spent the first night at their house. The next day Elaine and Rob took them to the beach before they moved into their actual residence, the apartment of Judy’s German friend Wolfgang.
One of the dogs of Judy’s neighbour and former employer, Dr. Bob, was suffering from intestinal adhesions. Dr. Bob, who often assists during difficult surgeries at the A.A.A.S. clinic or helps in cases of material shortage, was much too nervous to operate himself when it concerned his own dog. Unfortunately the deformities turned out to be a birth defect and couldn’t be removed entirely.
On Monday, after unpacking an enormous amount of medical gifts,…
As already noticed by Dr. Susanne Vogler in March, Dagmar Stech and Dr. Berenfeld observed a remarkable improvement in the general health of their patients:
Far less bleeders…
The spaying of an approximately 5 year old bitch that had seen many pregnancies and births ( twice a year starting from the eighth month!) turned out to be extremely difficult:
Ovaries and womb were so brittle that they tore. It took both vets and 4 hands to save her but also this surgery ended successfully.
At the weekend they went horseback riding with Veronica, a former A.A.A.S. volunteer, along the beach to a restaurant that had been a favorite of Dagmar Stech during her last visit. Donkey Belinda refused to stay alone at home and accompanied them.
During the second week the vets continued to spay and neuter but of course they treated also sick animals. European and American residents had heard about the german vets at the clinic and brought their animals.
One dog suffered from an hematoma at the ear, another, a Rottweiler, had several atheromas. But not for all patients there was a simple remedy. One small dog had a lot of fluid in its belly, too much protein in its blood and extremely pale mucous membranes, everything indicating a tumour at an advanced stage. The owners were not ready to let their pet go and left the clinic to consult a second vet. Another older dog brought by German resident suffered from a tumour in its belly as well. It had the size of an orange. The blood test showed also a kidney insufficiency and, rather than operating with an uncertain result and strain the kidneys additionally with anesthesia, the vets advised infusions and kidney diet to prolong the dog’s life as long as it could enjoy it. Volunteer Marina brought some young dogs of local families that suffered from bloody diarrhea. Fortunately it wasn’t diagnosed as the beginning of a deadly virus infection and the patients could leave after an infusion.
The most tragic case was brought by volunteer Tanya. A young dog, only 1 year old that had broken ist left hind leg before, had hardly recovered when it was driven over again. It suffered a fracture at the same place and several fractures of pelvis and socket on the right side. In a good German or American clinic with all modern equipment for bone surgery it may have been possible to help the dog in several operations involving a very long recovery but in a developing country - no! Euthanasia was the only way. In such situations we realize painfully that we are still very far from granting animals in poor countries the medical care that is possible or even natural for our own pets at home.
Even a vaccination program for puppies to protect them against vicious virus infections like leptospirosis, parvovirus and distemper which kill so many of them senselessly at an age of only a few weeks or months remains a future prospect and is not affordable at present.
But we always have to keep in mind our foremost mission:
Population control by means of spay and neuter instead of poison and education of the local people to teach them understanding and love for animals so that in the long run the life quality of all animals in the region can be improved.
122 animals were spayed and neutered during this operative: About 77 bitches, 30 males, 12 queens and 3 toms.
Dagmar Stech and Dr. Bronja Berenfeld, here at their farewell dinner with the A.A.A.S. team, want to return for a field clinic 2014.
Spay And Neuter Clinic With Dr. Katja Schirren, Dr. Nadja Spies, Daniela Meyer and Romina Turco
April 2nd – April 14th 2013
Despite continuous clinics since January – in January with Dr. Alfano and Dr.Kashef, in February with World Vets and in March with Dr. Vogler and Dr. Brent – there were already 60 new candidates waiting when Dr. Schirren, Dr. Spies, Daniela Meyer and Romina Turco landed in Puerto Plata on April 2nd.
And despite the ceaseless efforts there were again enough volunteers ready to donate time and energy to A.A.A.S.
Right at the beginning the current failed. This time the break down damaged also the clinic’s inverter needed to make use of the electricity supplied by the community.
There were a lot of young bitches among the patients; only one of them was pregnant, which shows again the positive effects of the years of A.A.A.S. community outreach programs; already noticable at the last clinic at Charamicos. A lot of the males were cryptorchids.
Inbetween surgeries the vets accompanied the A.A.A.S. volunteers to the “campo” to get the dogs…
On Sunday, April 7th, the 4 vets rented a car and drove to Samanà where they worked during the second week of their stay. They were having supper in a restaurant near Kim’s house after their arrival when they were called to their first patient: A dog had been hit by a car on the broad seaside road right in front of Kim’s house. This street is a real death trap for dogs; again and again dogs are run over here by cars. The injured dog turned out to be a nursing bitch,…
…that immediately bit into the hand of Romina Turco who in consequence couldn’t operate the first day because no surgical glove would fit her bandaged hand. The bitch limped and had trouble breathing but they had to let her go so she could feed her puppies. Kim followed her, found the owner and gave him medicaments for her. The injury of Romina Turco was taken care of by her colleagues.
Kim took care of the cold sterilisation of instruments while Dr. Schirren monitored the anaesthesia.
The anaesthesia protocol of Ketamine, Xylazin and Acepromazin caused seizures with some of the patients. A dose of Diazepam helped in those cases.
Wednesday was the birthday of Daniela Meyer. (Also Dr. Schirren had birthday during the operative; congratulations and best wishes for the coming year to both of them!)
This birthday Daniela Meyer will never forget:
Three hours, from 9 o’clock til midnight, the vets tried to save the sow. The outcome was tragic: The Dominican owners had already tried themselves to get the piglet out. In doing so they had torn off the piglet’s head and injured the womb of the sow so severely that she died.
Kim’s youngest resident: This puppy was abandoned, most probably because it suffers from mange. A lot of Dominicans are scared of this disease because they don’t know what causes it or how it is treated. Therefore dogs suffering from mange are often chased away or abandoned.
Saturday morning Dr. Schirren carried out a nose biopsy. (Unfortunately a malignant skin tumour was diagnosed. This patient’s days are counted.) Meanwhile a dog was brought in that had been run over by a car. Its thorax was injured and apparently it suffered from a lung haemorrhage. Dr. Francisco had to take care of this patient on his own on Sunday (postscript follows) because Dr. Schirren, Dr. Spies, Daniela Meyer and Romina Turco had to return to Sosúa on Saturday afternoon to catch their plane back to Germany the following day. Still 180 kilometres away from Sosúa they had a flat tire. It took only 3 minutes til a friendly Dominican stopped and helped them to change the tire.
We hope that the 4 vets enjoyed these exciting and eventful weeks and will return – maybe next year during the whale season!
Spay And Neuter Clinic With Dr. Susanne Vogler
March 17th – March 26th 2013
On March 17th Dr. Vogler flew to the Dominican Republic for the second time, this time accompanied by her daughter Maxi who wanted to study for her high school exam during her stay,…
…but still helped at the clinic wherever she could.
They stayed at the Viva Wyndham Tangerine hotel at Cabarete where Volunteer Debbie picked up Dr. Vogler for work every morning.
Dr. Vogler had brought with her a large amount of much needed medical donations:
Puppy de-wormer, eye drops, swabs, surgical gloves, suture, syringes, hypodermic needles, cast material, antibiotics, the precious anesthesia Diazepam, Ketamine, Veracin and Xylazin as well as scalpels and surgical instrument for Kim in Samanà. Already in the morning of her first day Dr. Vogler spayed and neutered 4 young dogs at the A.A.A.S. clinic while happy volunteers stored the donations. In the afternoon the field clinic was set up.
A second vet, Dr. Brent, had come from Canada together with his sister-in-law Dee Morrison, veterinary technician and frequent visitor in Sosúa, and volunteer Carolyn. Also Dr. Brent didn’t come for the first time.
This little girl came with her mom, her cat and her favorite pet – a toy dog! Of course the dog was properly received, got a yellow collar and blue tag and the appropriate “treatment”.
Many bitches had brittle wombs which made surgeries more difficult. In one case Dr. Brent had to assist Dr. Vogler to put a tourniquet on. Many very young bitches had wombs that small that Dr. Vogler resorted to instruments otherwise used to spay cats.
All animals received antibiotics and medication against pain after surgery and were treated against parasites. Three ladies of the public health department vaccinated each animal against rabies.
On the second day of the clinic a male dog was brought with an injury at the scrotum already infested by maggots. The whole scrotum was removed when he was neutered.
The same day a young male dog was brought with a terrible wound at its tail where the bone showed: His owner had “docked” it himself! For weeks the young dog had been running around with the infected wound. Dr. Brent amputated the whole tail.
Too late! The young dog died the next day of a sepsis. Again and again locals try to dock their dogs with clippers and other unimaginable instrument, of course without anaesthesia or sterilization, to raise the value of their mongrels because they know that some purebred dogs are/have been docked! Education is direly needed here! Local people have to be informed that docking has become very unpopular and is fortunately nowadays forbidden in most countries – and they have to be taught that their local dogs are just as valuable, intelligent and lovable as any purebred. Courses with volunteering dog trainers and small subsequent events such as the very popular agility shows could improve the situation a lot.
We are very happy to see Dominican volunteers at this clinic!
That is the future, we believe! Dominicans don’t have to be only trained as vets, like Dr. Francisco, but also as responsible volunteers in the community outreach programs. Otherwise many future projects may not happen due to lack of staff.
Juan Carlos dreams of becoming a vet himself one day. For that he’ll have to overcome his dislike against school though…
On the third day of the clinic a German resident brought 3 dogs of locals.
On the last day the vets operated til noon, then the field clinic shut down and the equipment was taken back to Sosúa.
A total of 137 animals has been operated in Charamicos.
Next day the volunteers went horseback riding and in the evening all joined the farewell dinner with Dr. Brent who flew back to Canada. A day later Dr. Vogler and Maxi visited the Ocean World in Puerto Plata. Well-deserved relaxation!
But on March 25th Dr. Vogler was already again at the A.A.A.S. clinic in Sosúa and spayed and neutered 18 animals.
On the 26th, the day of her return flight, Dr. Vogler came to the clinic in the morning with her suitcases packed – and operated another 8 animals before she got on the plane.
Not without the promise to return next year!
We’re already looking forward to that and wish Maxi all the best for her exam!
Spay And Neuter Clinic With Dr. Tarek El Kashef
January 22nd - February 24th 2013
It was already the third time that Dr. Tarek El Kashef flew to the Dominican Republic for Aid and Support of the Creole dogs; this time on a very special mission: To train the young Dominican vet Dr. Francisco as surgeon.
Already during his first operative in November 2010 Dr Kashef supervised the first spay and neuter clinic of Dr. Giselle Santos in Santiago. Dr. Santos, who spays today a bitch within 20 minutes, had participated only a few months earlier in the educational clinic of the Canadian Dr. Clooney which we could help to sponsor.
But first of all there was a happy re-union with old friends in Sosúa!
The date 1/22/2013 on the photo shows:Already on the day of his arrival Dr. Kashef and Frank collected dog food for A.A.A.S.
Since my arrival 12 days ago we have spayed and neutered about 40 bitches, males, queens and toms. The operative is running well. Tomorrow the actual mission starts in Samanà: The coaching of Dr. Francis who shall spay and neuter on his own afterwards.
Further posts followed from Samanà:
February 8th 2013
„The Samanà operative started Tuesday, we operate fewer animals as in Sosúa because the coaching of Dr. Francisco has priority. We are learning from each other: A lot of the diagnostic aids we are accustomed to in Germany are lacking here; one has to rely on experience and sensitivity and improvise. People bring their own dogs, but also with strays, and drive up to 50 kilometres to come here.The news of the clinic is spreading quickly. Despite the difficulties that accompany every new project I’m very optimistic.”
February 12th 2013
„Everything is running well. Francis is operating almost completely on his own. I’m very content with the situation at the moment.”
February 17th 2013
First photos from Samanà:
"Some of our patients… Since we are the only vets in Samanà we don’t only spay and neuter but also inform and educate and provide prophylaxis."
"We treat victims of car accidents like the bitch whose eye we had to take out and whose shoulder is most likely broken.
Up to now we have spayed and neutered about 40 dogs, we could have done more if we had more materials and anaesthesia but considering that we have just started, it’s running quite well…"
Read Here Dr. Kashef’s Personal Report
Operative in the Dominican Republic (January 22nd – February 24th 2013)
My 3rd operative for the A.A.A.S. (Asociación de los Amigos por los Animales de Sosúa Inc) and their German partner Association for the Aid and Support of the Creole dogs Inc lasted 5 weeks – and was still too short! The Dominican Republic is beautiful, its people are radiant and apparently always in a good mood, probably because of the good climate and a constant temperature of about 25°C, life seems to run easily and complacently – simply a paradise! But also a paradise has its dark sides…
This operative is divided in 2 parts. The first 10 days I stay in Sosúa and spay and neuter more than 50 dogs and cats with my colleague Dr. Frank from Massachusetts and the help of the great A.A.A.S. volunteer team supervised by director Judy. Again and again pregnant animals land on the table but we treat also injuries and, for example, wounds infested with maggots as well as poisonings.
Dogs of Samanà
My second and actual destination is Samanà in the East of the Dominican Republic. The peninsula Samanà with the small town Santa Barbara di Samanà is the easternmost region of Hispaniola, known especially for the humpback whales that come from the far North thousands of kilometres away to mate and calve in the warm and shallow waters every year during January til March. In this time a lot of tourists visit Samanà to go “whale watching” which has become very popular; although re-occurring regularly, it remains a spectacular and unforgettable event. Three cruise ships per week from Germany, Norway and the States give the tourist industry an additional boost.
Much less known is the fact that there are only two veterinaries on the whole peninsula who also treat smaller animals. My colleague Francisco is one of them.The dog population of Santa Barbara die Samanà spreads out all over town. The dogs roam alone or in pairs in their area whichthey leave only on “cruiseshipdays” . The dogs know that most tourists are kind-hearted towards animals anf often feed them, therefore they appear in packs at the landing when the ships come. They behave very well as if aware of the importance not to disturb the tourists or annoy the Dominicn hosts. Once they have found anumal-lovers who feed them, they follow them around as “part of the family”. In the evenings, when the ships leave, the dogs return to their areas in town.
As long as the local dogs defend their areas against dogs that want to enter the town from the outside, the population remains stable and people and dogs co-exist without major problems. Once the majority of the town dogs is spayed and neutered, their situation will be even better.
If this balance is destroyed for instance by mass poisonings, new fertile dogs from outside of town enter, fight with the local dogs to occupy an area and multiply. This leads to anxiety among the people, especially because of the very real danger of rabies – and, of course, to surpopulation.(During my stay 20 dog were poisoned in one single night!)
The local people often have a lot of information for us about the dogs in their area. While we are feeding the dogs and treat them against parasites we note the candidates to be spayed and neutered next.
The Dominican Republic has a new animal welfare law (since 2011) which punishes dog poisonings. Fortunately the law is being enforced:
In the case of the 20 poisoned dogs, mentioned above, an influential, wealthy Dominican was found guilty. He was heavily fined, had to re-imburse the dogs’ owners and wasn’t allowed to leave the country. The attitude towards animals changes in the Dominican Republic – just like in other countries – with progress and increasing wealth.
Despite the improvements of the situation lots remains to be done! Two vets on the whole of the peninsula are far too few! The surpopulation of dogs outside of Santa Barbara di Samanà is incredible though far less food is available than in town. I encounter large-scale neglect, mal-nutrition along with bad immune systems, often fatal especially for very young dogs.
The goal of the project is to raise the awareness of the local people and to establish spay and neuter as the means of controlling the dog population instead of poisonings. Healthy (and infertile) dogs have a better standing with Dominicans. We include locals as much as possible in the project. Together we feed the dogs on our daily tours and distribute ivermectim, an all-round treatment against parasites.We visit Dominican families and talk with them about the advantages of spay and neuter. Many of them, often very poor people, come afterwards with their dogs and also with strays of their neighbourhood for the operation.
Especially children love to take part. The people of Samanà have a lot of confidence in Kim’s work. Imagine a stranger in Germany entering your property asking if he may give food or medicaments to your dog or take it along to have it neutered!
My Dominican colleague Francisco, called „Franci“, was trained twice intensively by British and American vets who taught him spay and neuter techniques. Now we want to practice what he has learnt already over a longer period of time to gain routine and experience so that Dr. Francisco will be able in the future to operate all on his own and also handle emergencies during operations confidently and successfully.
"Franci" assisted in the beginning but after only a few days practice he performed all operations perfectly on his own, supervised by me, and rarely needed help.
The Autrichian vet Alexandra helped us during the third and last week with surgeries and medication. After I’d left I learnt that "Franci" successfully treated a complicated injury of a dog run over by a car.
We, the volunteering vets, bring as much material with us as possible everytime we come ( Special thanks to Steffi B., veterinary assistant at the animal clinic Norderstedt, who collected material for this project during the entire past year.); particularly medication for anaesthesia and pain management, but without the donations of all the generous sponsors such projects couldn’t be realized, especially the training of Franci would have been impossible.
Outside of Santa Barbara di Samanà there are about 30.000 – 40.000 dogs that suffer from the surpopulation and lack of medicare.
As soon as we have achieved a certain balance within the dog population of Santa Barbara di Samanà, high volume spay and neuter field clinics outside of town have to take place to raise the life standard of these many dogs on the peninsula. Therefore I’m very happy that so many people support these projects for the Creole dogs.
Despite the positive experiences Dr.Kashef made with the new Dominican animal welfare law we don’t want to raise expectations too high! For more information on the law view here.
Dr. Francisco At Work