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Adventures of a Vet-Nomad

Being a vet in Gangtok; Week One

INDIA | Saturday, 8 March 2014 | Views [981]

Arrived in Sikkim on Saturday night after a full day's travel from Mumbai, to Delhi, to Bagdogra, to Gangtok. Was greeted at the door by two lovely volunteers who made tea and had ordered Veg pizza from Dominos! Quickly settled into the flat, and had a day to relax and explore before starting work the next day. Was initially impressed by the cleanliness of the town, and the lack of slums. All the houses were heaped on top of eachother on the side of a mountain, but the view was of high, forested mountains, one with a slight snow cover in the distance. Walked up to the main part of town and back a number of times (after forgetting some important documents to get a sim card the first time), and around the scenic parts of town.

Monday started with spaying and castrating dog after dog. Premeds, anaesthetics and pre-op antibiotics were provided by the knowledgeable paravets, and all the vets really had to do was the surgery. That day, monday, seems so long ago now. Getting used to a new procedure took its time, and practicing closing the skin with intradermal sutures to prevent the animals chewing their sutures out was fustrating. Once all the animals were done, about 2pm (mostly thanks to one of the volunteers and to the head surgeon), we were provided with a delicious lunch of rice, papadums and potato curry.

Tuesday and Wednesday continued in pretty much the same manner. After work one day we decided to take a walk to the river in the valley between two mountains. Downhill, steeper and steeper. Each bend that we saw the river we thought we were getting closer, so we continued. Finally we made it, before remembering the climb back. What. A. Climb! Especially as being in India had finally affected my stomach and 2/3rds of the way up I started to feel weak. During a break in the walk, we saw some small flickering and moving lights; fireflies!! What a magical insect. I did successfully make it home, thankfully there are little shops everywhere selling sweets, and that gave me the sugar I needed to get to a restaurant. Chicken Korma; how tasty!

The rest of the working week became more exciting. On wedensday afternoon a puppy came in with a severe degloving injury that was granulating but had been bandaged poorly. We cleaned and changed the bandage but by the next day on closer examination decided to amputate the next day. Following the amputation, in the evening, a dog presented with tremoring. She was heavily pregnant and responded to treatment for hypoCa. Just as we were finishing administrating the calcium and had planned to monitor her for an hour, there was a power cut! And it started raining! All part of the job in India though, and we were lucky enough to be given a lift back to the flat when we were finished.

The next day she re-presented and was in labour. Two healthy female puppies were assisted into the world. Reminds me how rewarding the job can be. We also had to pull three leeches out of a few dog's noses! That was so gross, seeing live worm-like creatures slipping in and out of the nostrils.

Then off to the internet cafe to finally write in this journal. An incredibly exciting and rewarding week.

Tags: fireflies, vet, volunteer


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