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15 Aug 2009

World Vets San Juan del Sur July 2009

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Dr. Harper traveled with World Vets to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua to participate in a week long spay/neuter project the last week of July 2009.  Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas with the average person making less than $5/day.  San Juan del Sur is a beautiful small town on the Pacific Coast but they have a very large street dog population and no spay/neuter services.  The closet veterinarian that offers spaying and neutering is 3 hours away in Managua, the capital.  This trip in July was the first trip for World Vets to Nicaragua. World Vets set up a field hospital in one of the very poor neighborhoods in San Juan and for 3 days the group of 16 volunteer veterinarians, technicians, vet students and assistants worked hard to spay and neuter as many dogs and cats as possible.  Dr. Harper performed surgeries, taught surgical techniques to the vet students and did over 100 consultations.  Some of the dogs and cats were strays brought in by concerned townspeople, but most of the animals were owned pets.  The majority of the pet dogs were living outside with no shelter, had never had any veterinary care before, were being fed occasional scraps of food or were eating garbage, were covered in fleas and ticks and were totally emaciated.  The reality is that the people are so extremely impoverished, that they cannot afford to feed and clothe their children, no less their dogs. During the 3 day spay/neuter clinic nearly 100 dogs and cats were sterilized, dewormed and treated for fleas and ticks.  The group worked in very hot and humid weather and lost electricity and water for most of one day, but kept on doing surgery.  By the end of the week everyone was exhausted but elated. The whole experience was incredible and at the end of the week everyone was making plans for their next World Vets trip.

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