French Vets Enjoy A WVS Veterinary Adventure in Goa

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French Vets Enjoy A WVS Veterinary Adventure in Goa

Tue 26th Jun 2018

At last year's France Vet Show, we ran a competition for two lucky veterinary professionals to win a Goa adventure trip with us! French vets from a clinic in Montelimar, Celine and Delphine, have just returned from our Hicks ITC and we caught up with them to find out how it went!

Can you give an overview of what the project was like?

With my colleague Delphine, we spent a week at the Hicks centre. It was a great opportunity to observe how veterinary medicine is performed in India and speak with the vets about the different medical and surgical techniques between Europe and India.

We participated a little in the life of the Hicks, observing and assisitng many consultations and helping with the patients that came in to the centre.

What was the place like? 

The Hicks centre is in Bardez, Goa. It’s an International Training Centre and students from all over the world come here to learn surgery and practice their techniques. They also train local vets to improve the level of care provided by vets in the country and promote animal welfare. During our trip, there were four nepalese students there, learning to neuter dogs and cats. 

The Hicks also has a dispensary to provide care to streets dogs and cats, treating emergencies and vaccinating them against rabies.

We were there in the beginning of May and the weather was very hot and wet. We're not used to living and working in this kind of weather so it was an interesting challenge. What was surprising was also the number of power cuts; a generator was there to supply electricity for surgery theaters but sometimes vets had to do surgery with very low light adding an extra challenge to the operations!

Can you describe an average day at the project?

In the morning, we were helping with medical care and check ups in the kennels. Then, we were going in to consultation.

In the afternoon, we could observe and sometimes help for the surgeries that had come in suddenly or were ready for operating on.

Was there a patient or case study that stood out for you as a memorable one?

I remember the case of a dog who had his front leg amputated because he had an elbow wound and people in the community didn’t know how to take care of that wound, so the wound became very bad with a big and deep necrosis area. The surgery was very difficult because we had to remove a lot of dead tissue so it was difficult to close up the wound and there was lots of tension.

After the surgery, it was very difficult for the dog to stand up and he was in a lot of pain still. We ended our working period and waited until the next morning to see how he was doing. It’s heartbreaking to know that this dog was in so much pain because people waited so long; if someone had brought him in earlier, the wound would not have been so bad and the surgery would have been much more comfortable. But given most Indian dogs are street dogs, I think this situation is unfortunately quite common here and the Hicks team are doing their best to help them.

What surprised you most?

I was surprised by the patience of Indian people and this community! Most of the people who bring the dogs in aren’t the owners of the dogs but just the feeders because most of the dogs are street dogs, and those people are able to wait for hours before having a consultation, but the dogs and people wait patiently for the WVS vets! They listen carefully to what the vet says and they are ready to give care to the dogs who live in their street. It shows their compassion for the animals they share this community with.

In France, very few people are ready to spend time for a dog who isn’t theirs, and nobody will wait for hours before having a consultation without complaining, but here veterinary care is so difficult to come by that they are so grateful to the care their animals receive.

What have you learnt?

In fact, most of the surgical techniques are very similar in India to those we perform in France, but I really enjoyed learning some new tips like doing a intradermal suture to avoid the dog's chewing and remove their sutures and seeing how animal welfare is promoted in this part of the world.

Would you go again? Or recommend a WVS trip to a friend?

Of course! It was an amazing experience and I would be very happy to go to the Hicks in Goa again (but before, I have to work my English a little more!!) 

I would recommend anyone to do such a trip, it’s a great experience as a vet but also just as an animal lover looking for a new adventure!