"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Clinic day 3

I arrived to the hospital and  was sent to help with treatments again (yes!) The vet that I had worked with wasn't there but the three vet techs were working on the animals.  I sat down with them and began to help them with a dog being treated for severe bite wounds.  None of them spoke English well but the one who seemed to be in charge handed me a syringe and vial and motioned to me to draw some up. "One milliliter," he said. He pointed to the animal indicating for me to administer it "IM." I did as I was told, feeling for the spine and inserting the needle into the epaxials I injected the medication.

From then on we treated dog after dog.  Some of the wounds were extremely infected and deep.  It was nausiating. Words can't describe, so I took pictures. Those of you (vet students most likely) who are interested in seeing them I would be happy to email them to you.

The assistants then  brought over a small, emaciated female with wounds all over her body.  Her huge ears stuck out at right angles.  I liked her.  I was instructed to clean the wound on her hock and change the bandage.  I poured iodine into the plastic syringe as I had seen them do and flushed out the deep wound.  She whimpered and trembled as i cleaned it - the procedure must have been excruciating and would have required pain management and sedatives had we been back home. I felt terrible but if the wound wasn't properly cleaned she would surely die of an infection. This tiny girl was so thin her bones stuck out at every joint.  After cleaning I asked if they had a gauze pad and placed it on the wound and then wrapped it up with gauze cloth.  I examined her for further wounds and applied iodine, wound powder and fly spray to them.  I really hope her wounds heal over the course of the next month and she is able to put weight on.  I really want her to survive.

The treatments continued, dog after dog, wound after wound. The worst was a scruffy looking dog that had just come in that day.  Never in my life have I seen such an emaciated animal. You could clearly see every bone in it's hind end - it's  pelvis and hips entirely exposed.  She was a walking skeleton. I couldn't believe this animal could even walk.  We treated the wounds we found but couldn't do anything but give her food and water.

After treatments were finally complete I made my way over to the cattle barn to check on the mangled cow from yesterday.  Walking over I hoped I would find that she had passed over night.  Unfortunately she was still alive, breathing heavily but slowly under the sedatives and pain meds;  I really hope her suffering ends soon.

During "tea time" I was able to talk to Erika and Claire, the mother and daughter who started animal aid.  We had a really great conversation about how it began and what it takes to run the organization ($10,000 a month in case you are wondering.)  Yesterday trudi had mentioned that they stopped spaying and neutering the animals as they came in. She had said that since there was only one vet now that it wasn't possible.  I asked Claire and Erika about it and they further explained that in order for sterilizing the dogs to really impact the population you have to effectively spay 70 % of the females in a given community.  The problem lies in the fact that these animals are nomads and if you were to spay those animals, others who are not spayed will find their way into the community after only a short period of time and all efforts will have been quickly lost.  They explained that rather than spending time and money on spaying them, they would rather treat and vaccinate the animals and educate the community about animal welfare.  There is barely any sense of compassion for these animals on the street by the people who live here.  They talked about veterinary medicine and how in India they barely learn how to spay and neuter animals, let alone have educated support staff on pre and post- op care.

What I learned from our conversation is that it truly is an uphill battle with so many complicating factors it is difficult to even comprehend. The animal situation in India is so utterly out of control and it is only through  people like Claire and Erika that there is hope for these homeless animals as they have no advocates of their own.

On another note, there was a huge fesitval happening in udaipur today. Everyone was singing and dancing and playing loud music. I at least got to see fireworks on this fourth of July weekend :)


  1. Hi Kristie! My name is Alyx and I've been reading through your blog as I'm thinking about volunteering at Animal Aid Unlimited and this popped up when I searched on Google.

    Your blog is really informative but I have a question I was hoping you could answer...the AIIA website says that volunteers are always welcome and to stop by anytime. As lovely as that is, I'm based in Spain and it's a long way to go to "stop by"! Did you use a travel agent to get to get to Udaipur or make your own arrangements? I imagine I can email the people at the organisation to discuss volunteering but, as a fellow solo traveller, I wondered if you found it difficult getting there.

    Any tips would be greatly welcomed. Thanks in advance, I know this was a few years ago for you now.

    I'm guessing you're a qualified vet by now!

    Best regards,

  2. Hi Alyx,

    Exciting to hear you're thinking about volunteering at Animal Aid! As you've read, it was an incredible experience and although it was a while ago, I do think about it often.

    I didn't use a travel agent but I did quite a bit of research before going. I ended up flying to Udaipur through Delhi and it was very easy. I stayed at a hotel in Udaipur (Hotel Udai Niwas) and took an auto rickshaw to the shelter daily. I know the shelter has moved locations so I would definitely contact them for housing recommendations. I would also mention you'll be coming from Spain and staying for an extended period of time.

    If you have any further questions feel free to email me at kmientka@gmail.com

    And yes, I'm now a qualified vet 2 years out and working in Australia :)

    Good luck!