December 15, 2009

when work and vacation blend together.....

Today was supposed to be clinic set-up day – wake up early, have a casual breakfast, meander down to the CIMEI office and organize for Wednesday and Thursday. EC had a TV interview bright and early, and they followed her to the CIMEI office where a few more shots/footage was collect. As that was going on, a man brought in a dog with a mild prioprism, and after a few minutes of stuttering en español, I convinced him to get the dog neutered

At that point, it seemed like I turned around and all of a sudden there were ½ dozen seizing animals in the office and hysterical people outside. Apparently, an entire neighborhood of animals had gotten into a rat poison supply early that morning, and within 20 minutes, we had 2 cats and 3 dogs seizing in the waiting room. The next few hours were a literal mad house – calling for valium in one room, oxygen and crash cart in the next. Of course, the ONE thing we didn’t bring to San Cristobal was Vitamin K (used to treat warfarin-type poisoning bleeding disorders), and apparently there was an island-wide shortage of Vitamin K (of course… whatever we need we don’t have – but we probably have an ample supply of 25 gauge needles and gauze!!) A few people literally scoured the island and came up with 2 mL of Vitamin K, and (after a brief Google search) a big bag of parsley (apparently a rich natural source of Vitamin K… good to know!)

Unfortunately, despite the injectable Vitamin K and all other emergency procedures, 4 of the animals died within a half hour of each other. First the small kitten, then a puppy, then the older dog, and finally the other cat :-( It was discovered that these people were actually neighbors of each other, and that someone had put out poison (intentional or not) that all 4 animals had eaten (and subsequently vomited up). Death wasn’t done with us yet, as there was a cat that went missing for 3 weeks and came back with a badly broken leg. After euthanizing it, we discovered a HUGE hemoabdomen that would have definitely been inoperable under almost all circumstances. A man brought in his 7 year old Husky (yes, there are Siberian Huskies in the Galapagos…) that had terrible neurologic signs, and was also euthanized. The man was quite sad, and even despite the language barrier, I could tell he was deeply upset. With the help of a translator, I tried to tell him he made a humane, loving decision, and he thanked us profusely for helping. When all of the smoke finally cleared, everything was cleaned, washed and put away; we showered and met up for dinner at the Italian/pizza place at the end of the pier.

After lots of laughs and recalling old memories (and probably making a few new ones… CADILLAC!!!), we saw the man with the husky walk by with ANOTHER husky – apparently it was the older dog’s offspring, and after a few smiles and awkward spanglish, I (think) I convinced him to get the younger dog neutered on Thursday (in front of the documentary TV crew ) We’ll see what comes of it, but fingers crossed!!!

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