Last weekend, we sent a rapid action response to Nepal to support animal welfare through livestock vaccinations and veterinary support after the earthquake. Our head of ITC India, Dr Maiju Tamminen and junior resident vet Dr. Sandeep Karna who is from Nepal are out there now. Despite villages being reduced to rubble, she is finding hope within the Nepali community.
The man standing on a pile of rubble in Dhading helped us for two days straight, taking us to badly injured animals and helping us to convince people when some of them had to be euthanised. Finally on the last day he took as to a village and stood us what was left from his home, just a pile of rocks. Despite having lost everything, but still was determined to help animals.
We have treated many cows, goats and buffaloes, all suffering from traumatic injuries such as fractures, cranial trauma, vertebral trauma, dislocations and nerve and muscle injuries.
We have had to euthanize three cows, one had her leg ripped off since the earthquake and another one had been buried under a house for nine days.
The general damage is very real: in some villages all houses are collapsed, in some only a have collapsed, even though the houses look like they are made of same materials. Many animals are dead. In Nepalese culture, a cow is a valuable and sacred animal because of the milk they produce, in many places milk and dairy products are still one of the few sources of protein for the people. If a family loses their only cow, they are at risk of falling to extreme poverty. I hope that in the near future attention is being directed to this and maybe some organisation will start an initiative to get the families new cows since the government is not likely to compensate.
In the photos, the black goat I am treating wearing a pink t-shirt is a family pet. Their house got fully destroyed and now they are staying in their poultry house, sharing it with the animals. I believe the goat had so called "crush syndrome", a common syndrome on people due to massive blunt trauma leading to kidney failure. The goat also had some sort of peripheral neuropathy, we put a splint on one of her legs that had contracted flexor tendons and left her with pain relief but the prognosis is poor.
The black cow was buried under the collapsed cow shelter. Unfortunately she was suffering from cranial trauma and we had to euthanise her.
The small white goat had an infected hoof injury that we treated. In some of the photos we are showing to a local man how to inject antibiotics to the goat so he could carry on with the treatment.
The brown and white cow had ataxia due to a spinal trauma but she was able to walk so we left her with NSAIDs.
Dr. Sandeep Karna told me of a Nepalese saying - "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight".
Despite the disaster, many people seem optimistic. One farmer told us he is happy it was "just" an earthquake, had it been a landslide everything would be lost, including their crops.
This sentiment was further expressed in more detail by Dr Sandeep;
"These villagers of Dhading district taught me this lesson today. Their everything has turned into rubble. Still they were greeting us with big smiles when we went to treat their injured animals. Some of them were offering us food knowing that they don't know what they will eat after a few days. I strongly believe from now on that we Nepalese are one of the happiest people in the world!"
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