Volunteer vets helped spay, neuter animals in low-income areas

Dear Editor,
Veterinarian Raymond Deonanan and nurse N. Sukhai, from Trinidad and Tobago, recently visited Guyana after Cherie Gomes (a Guyanese living in Vancouver, B.C.) persuaded them to volunteer some time to spay and neuter dogs and cats owned by people in low income areas of Georgetown. The official request was made through our Ministry of Agriculture and readily granted.

During their September 2009 visit, Dr. Deonanan and Nurse Sukhai, assisted by Natasha Robinson and Syeada Manbodh, spent two days treating animals in the low-income community of Sophia in Georgetown, and one-day in Bartica, Region 7.

In Sophia, the management committee gave permission to use the Sophia Pattensen Community Development Centre to facilitate the spaying and neutering of the animals. During Sept 8th and 9th, the team spayed or neutered 25 female dogs, four male dogs, one female cat and one male cat. Several animals were euthanized due to severe illness.

The one-day Bartica trip, was sponsored by Akleema Mohamed, a local entrepreneur.  During the visit to Bartica, after a late start, the team spayed 11 female dogs and 4 female cats; 2 animals were euthanized, including one in grave condition after being bitten by a snake that morning.

All the animals spayed/neutered were vaccinated and dewormed free of cost. Many animals were brought for check ups and some of these had serious medical problems. Dr Deonanan’s day at Pattensen Community started from 8:00 am and continued past 7.00 pm. Everyone involved considered it a great experience and one that should be repeated in Sophia and other areas in the not too distant future.

The response from the Pattensen Community was overwhelming especially with the youths who helped in caring for the animals, keeping things clean, and assisting dog owners in transporting their pets to their residents after surgery. It was inspiring seeing people walk long distances to have their animals spayed.

This three-day experience achieved its objective of providing top quality services to over 50 low-income animal owners at no cost to them. This objective was achieved because of the unselfish support provided by a number of persons who deserve to be recognized:
  Thanks to Mr. Colin Marks and his Management Committee who made things happen at Sophia.  The Pattensen Community Development Centre was key to the activity’s success. A small donation was made by the Team for use of the Centre’s facilities.

 Thanks to Akleema Mohamed of Bartica for providing transportation, accommodation and meals for the team during their one-day visit.

Thanks to the main sponsor, Cherie Gomes, who brought the donors, people, communities and animals together to produce the desired results.

Veterinarian Dr. Raymond  Deonanan and Nurse Neeire Sukhai deserve thanks for  donating their valuable time during their visit to Guyana, as does Natasha Robinson and other helpers.

  Special thanks are due to the Ministry of Agriculture for granting permission for this activity and to Dr. Mark Pierre for his technical support that contributed to the success of this project.

Within its domestic animal sector, Guyana’s main problem stems from uncontrolled population growth of dogs and cats. Spaying and neutering animals is the best solution to controlling population growth and it also helps fight animal cruelty. While the total number of dogs/cats spayed and neutered did not pass 50, this action demonstrates how a few people working together with local organizations and institutions can make a significant impact on a specific community.

Guyana and its people could benefit greatly by implementing regular activities along the lines described above. If the people cannot afford to come to the city with their animals then Teams of Vets should take their services to the people in their villages.

If vets from other countries wish to volunteer their services, so much the better.

Yours faithfully,
Syeada Manbodh

Team Co-ordinator

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