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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gadha, gaay, kutta.

Consider this a follow-up to yesterday and other random thoughts...

I talked more with Jim today about why the stray dog population exists.  He confirmed what I had already seen: animals living off trash in the streets.   Since there is no organized trash collection, it accumulates leaving the dogs (and pigs, and children in some cases) to literally survive off of garbage.  I asked why nothing was being done to correct the situation and he explained that the city has started putting out blue trash bins in an attempt to control the street trash.  The problem is that there are no lids for the cans so the animals can easily take what they want. So instead of helping the situation and deterring stray animals, it is actually making it easier by collecting and presenting the food for them and effectively perpetuating the problem.

Today I was sent to help with large animal treatments. As most of you who are reading this know, large animal medicine is NOT my thing. I am much more comfortable around the smaller, more manageable species.  In any case, I was there to help where needed so I headed off to the cattle paddock. We started on a cow with several wounds.  After cleaning them the vet nurse motioned for me to give the injections - quite a different technique than that used for small animals.  I did as he showed me and pounded he hind end with my fist and jabbed the needle into the muscle, attached the syringe and injected 5 milliliters of antibiotics. We continued for over an hour.  I helped him re-splint a donkeys broken front leg, treat a cow who's femur was sticking out of the medial side of the leg, and flush out a severely infected udder. (Confession: while these treatments are exciting I actually seem to spend most of my day pushing pus out of purulent abscesses and plucking ticks off of dogs and squishing them with my foot. Glamorous, I know.)

I sat and "talked" with the vet assistant for a while.  Communicating was difficult as his English was not very good and his accent very thick. He did show me the medicines he carried with him in a basket, some of them I recognized: gentamicin, atropine, prednisone while others were completely foreign. Whether this is because I am only one year into vet school or because they are actually foreign medications, I am not sure.  I told him I want to learn Hindi and he started pointing at animals and telling me how to say donkey (gadha) cow (gaay)  dog (kutta) etc. It is frustrating to have everyone talk around you, all the time, in a language you know nothing about.

Just as we were finishing treatments the rain came.  It started off light but quickly turned into a total downpour.  It rained so loudly on the tin roof I couldn't hear what anyone was saying.  Streams began to form in the dirt around the hospital as the rain intensified and thunder rumbled in the distance.  I guess it is monsoon season, after all. The rain didn't phase the dogs one bit as most were curled up in their afternoon siestas. It went on for only about a half an hour and then the sun was out again. The rain had cooled everything down nicely and the air seemed fresher.

I think I forgot to mention the other day that the ambulance team had an incredible rescue! A young fox was found swimming in a well.  The small animal had most likely been swimming all night and was struggling to stay afloat and it appeared to be nearly passing out from exhaustion. It took the team 2 hours but they were able to save it.  They brought the fox to the hospital and I was able to get a look at the terrified creature.  Probably suffering from hypothermia we put it in the procedure room and coved it's cage.  I talked with Claire about what they were going to do and she told me that they were supposed to surrender it to the wildlife rescue but she knew it would ultimately end up in the zoo if they did.  She told me that animals in zoos here have terrible lives, "they are put in a room to rot" she said. After ensuring the animal was strong, healthy and old enough to be re-released, animal aid brought it back to an area near the well.  They opened the cage and it took off! Claire explained that this was a success story in that most of the wildlife they try to rescue have broken bones or are too weak to survive on their own.  Hooray little fox!

Another great rescue - Erika got Sruti to leave her asshole husband, something that never happens. Hooray Sruti!

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