World Vets Coming to Ambergris Caye -The Pros and Cons

World Vets Coming to San Pedro

World Vets, an organization whose mission is “to provide veterinary aid in developing countries”, appears to be making San Pedro a yearly event. In view of this, I think it is important for the public to understand both the positive and negative aspects of having your pet spayed or neutered by a free clinic.

For World Vets and other free spay/neuter programs the goal is quantity. They want to perform surgeries on the most animals possible, as quickly as possible. That is why you will see MASH style operating tables along with vets and assistants working madly around them. You will hear numbers quoted each day, depicting how many surgeries they were able to perform. This makes sense, because the principle goal of a spay/neuter event such as this is population control.

On the other hand, there are drawbacks to these clinics when the surgeries are performed on our pets, who are members of our families. For a pet owner, population control is not the most important aspect of a surgery performed on their pet, nor is speed. Comfort and safety should be high on a pet owner’s list of considerations when considering a hospital or doctor for their pet.

Here are a few services that San Pedro Animal Hospital provides to ensure a safe and pain-free surgery that will not be provided at the free World Vets clinic.

Pre-op bloodwork. In San Pedro parasitic infections can make a surgery deadly. Heartworms infect the heart. Tick fever infects the blood and causes anemia and decreased clotting ability. Neither of these infections is apparent without blood testing.

2. IV catheter and fluids. An IV catheter is important for immediate access to the vein in an emergency, when seconds matter. IV fluids support your pet’s blood pressure and hydration, and aid in a smooth, comfortable recovery.

3. Pain control. Organizations such as World Vets and humane societies in Belize use injectable anesthesia. Injectable anesthetics can begin to wear off in the middle of a surgery, subjecting your pet to extreme pain. This is what makes inhaled anesthetics so valuable. They do not run out until we turn them off. Most veterinarians, such as San Pedro Animal Hospital, also send home medication for post-op pain, where as free spay and neuter clinics cannot.

4. Monitoring. Safe anesthesia requires electronic monitors for heart rate and respiration rates. Alternatively a veterinary assistant can be used to monitor the patient with a stethoscope. Typically there is not enough time, people, money, or equipment to allow for proper monitoring in a free spay and neuter clinic.

Shelter veterinarians and humane society veterinarians world-wide are aware of these issues and do their best to provide a safe and pain-free experience for their patients. But unfortunately, economics and time limit the quality of care they are able to offer. Mortality rates will always be higher at free clinics than they are at veterinary hospitals that offer the above services.

So for population control, spay and neuter clinics are by far the most humane and effective alternative to euthanasia for stray animals. But when you are choosing a hospital and a doctor to operate on your best friend, be sure to consider the quality of the care, not just the cost.

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