Spay day and Bruce Lee

by Luke, in Malawi
21st March, 2009

First thing was a revisit to Henry the python and releasing him to his new enclosure then off to the Chinsopa community to run a tx/vaccination and neutering programme. The vaccination and txs were managed by Lee (wildlife centre manager) whilst I worked with Richard and Joseph on the neutering. RSPCA International are funding this and they are setting up a brilliant programme – hats off to them for this.

Richard is a great surgeon and things were going well with castrates. I started off the spays, but incredibly sadly the first dog I operated on died. Felt terrible and I can only think I must have missed something on the pre-op assessment because the anaesthetic was text book and the surgery was going very well. I would have got the spay wrapped up in about 20-25mins. She was quite anaemic and very thin so the whole ordeal was too much for her.

Thankfully her puppies had been weaned and were well away from her. Recovering from that was difficult, but to keep the faith of the communities I had to operate on another bitch – it was only after that op that I found out that the other dog I had spayed belonged to the other brother of the same family! It was awful watching the family walk away and I felt dreadful, but the second dog was fine. Can’t believe it as I’ve used that anaesthetic mix on hundreds of dogs in similar situations. Horrible reminder of how brutal this can be.

Hard place to operate as no proper recovery and the animals are released hours after surgery – not ideal and we’ve got to work out a plan that ensures they have time to recovery from the op. After that it was back to the centre to try to release a duiker before heading out for a pizza. Tomorrow feels like it is coming along very quickly – no bad thing because when things are tough it’s always best to knuckle down and focus on all the other animals that need help.

Really funny thing about today was the nicknames we were all given by the boys watching us: Marc was called Chuck Norris, Adam was Schwarzenegger, Nathan was Bruce Lee and I was Van Damme. Probably would have preferred Steven Seagal but Van Damme isn’t bad. Nathan is now firmly called Bruce from here on in, he’s definitely got a steely glint in his eye – one to watch.

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