A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WVS VET NURSE IN MALAWI

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WVS VET NURSE IN MALAWI

Tue 27th Jun 2017

Ellie Paton RVN volunteered for us in Blantyre, Malawi where WVS is providing a veterinary resource as well as supporting its sister charity, Mission Rabies. This is her blog. 

In Malawi, the number of qualified vets is minimal; this leaves many owners seeking medical advice from the wrong people.  In some cases, this can result in a botched sterilisation, which can be fatal. It also means that many dogs are left untreated and may suffer unnecessarily or die from something that can easily be fixed with the right help.

As well as sterilising dogs and cats, WVS has been treating any injured dog along the way, whether it be a TVT (transmissible venereal tumour), severe mange, wounds or a broken limb, all of which can be fatal if nothing is done. The severity of some of the cases is quite amazing. Having worked in the UK where most animals are brought in as soon as an issue arises, seeing conditions at their extreme was new to me.  What I found the most amazing was that many dogs suffer for so long with a condition and the owners don’t even realize that it can be treated.

I have now repeatedly seen attempted castrations with elastic bands tied tightly around the scrotum. This usually causes a lot of pain for the dog as well as swelling and the potential for infection. The sad part is that the owner is trying to do the right thing by having the dog sterilised. He is also spending his hard earned money in the process. WVS strives to ensure everyone gets the correct resources and knowledge through our education programmes to correctly care for their animals.

 

Some dogs may just require a course of antibiotics whereas others require surgery, but in most cases the owners are very grateful for our help. In the clinic it is most rewarding as we are able to see animals return for check ups. We see the TVT’s regressing and the wounds healing and both animal and owner alike are always so appreciative; it definitely makes the job worthwhile.

In some cases however, there is nothing that can be done. With all of the medications and equipment we have, there are still things that cannot be treated, and so we are required to end the dog's suffering by humanely euthanizing them.  We continue to do the best we can for each and every animal that we see and hope that for the most part, we are able to help them live long and happy lives.