VETERINARY MEDICINE IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN

PART 3 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES” 

Last week we wrote about their dog houses and now we focus on veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen. This is Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya, but it also has a not so pretty side when it comes to Mexico’s vulnerable pets.

Dr. “Lalo” has practiced veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen for 25 years, here with Chanel
Dr. “Lalo” has practiced veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen for 25 years, here with Chanel

Chanel’s Long Journey Ahead

Mid November 2018, she was found wandering in traffic, confused and terrified. Thankfully, though, Alex saw this tiny, skinny pup and took her home. When she was unable to find its owner, The Snoopi Project took on this extreme rescue case. Founder/Director, Kelly Whittemore, went immediately to HospiPet Playa veterinary clinic to see Dr. Eduardo “Lalo” Cárdenas.

It was evident that this very sick girl had been abandoned, but she now has a new name…Chanel. Yes, that same itsy bitsy Chihuahua that you saw last week in Whittemore’s arms, and also at the top of this page, being held by Dr. Lalo.

The first examination revealed that she was approximately seven-year-old, extremely malnourished, weighed barely 2.5 pounds and refused to eat or drink on her own. She had lost 50 percent of her hair, suffered from hypertension in her lungs, a bladder tumor and heart worms. Will she survive?

When strong enough, Chanel will have surgery to remove a bladder tumor, seen here in this ultrasound
When strong enough, Chanel will have surgery to remove a bladder tumor, seen here in this ultrasound

But Chanel is a little fighter. When strong enough, she will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, be spayed, have her teeth cleaned and start heart worm treatment. In the meantime she is getting excellent care from her vets and foster mom, Cryss.

Q & A WITH DR. “LALO”

HospiPet Playa Clínica Veterinaria was established in 2010. It’s a medical center that includes specialized surgery and cancer treatment for small species. Dr. Eduardo “Lalo” Cárdenas has been practicing in Playa del Carmen for 25 years so, with that kind of experience and an excellent reputation, I asked him about veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable.

Infectious And Contagious Diseases

Pet Peeves Unmasked: What are the most common illnesses you see in your practice?

Dr. “Lalo”: Many of our cases involve hemoparasitosis, such as ehrlichia and anaplasma.

Note:

Ehrlichiosis is an infectious tick-borne illness. The ehrlichia bacteria attacks a dog’s blood cells and causes chronic infection.

Anaplasma is also spread by ticks. Anaplasmosis comes in two forms and infects white blood cells and platelets.

DL: We also treat a lot of patients suffering from viral infections, like parvovirus, feline leukemia, and distemper, as well as skin infections, such as atopia.

Note:

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is highly contagious, the most common form being intestinal.

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a disease that impairs a cat’s immune system and commonly causes anemia and lymphoma. 

Canine distemper has no known cure. It affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eye.

Atopia. Atopic reactions are caused by localized hypersensitivity reaction to an allergen.


An outdoor pet, Robin had a tooth abscess which caused a serious oral infection, here after surgery
An outdoor pet, Robin had a tooth abscess which caused a serious oral infection, here after surgery
This surgical procedure shows how veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable makes a big difference
This surgical procedure shows how veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable makes a big difference

PPU: Are some of the illnesses you mentioned prevalent in tropic climates such as this, especially when pets are outdoors for extended periods? 

DL: Yes, that is so. Hemoparasitosis is typical of hot, humid regions like ours.

Neutering

PPU: In Playa del Carmen do you have campaigns that offer free or low-cost sterilization and parasite treatment for dogs and cats?

DL: Absolutely. Both local government and private organizations hold events so that low-income families can have their pets neutered.

Mistreatment

PPU: What can you tell us about incidences of mistreatment?

DL: First of all it’s to do with irresponsible pet ownership, not seeking early medical attention. And, second, aggressive behavior between pets where there are multiple family members living under the same roof. This shows a total lack of control and planning. And, this problem also occurs at animal shelters.

Advice

DL: I’d tell them to assess their personal circumstances — social, economic, health — that directly impact their ability to look after a pet. People should evaluate these things before getting a dog, or a cat. And, if they are not willing to allow the animal to become a member of the family, it would be better for them not have one.

PPU: What’s the most valuable advice you can give to families who are struggling financially?

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!

  • Dr. Eduardo Cárdenas
  • Dr. Simón Rosales
  • Simón Méndez – General Assistant
  • Laura Velázquez – Assistant
  • Foster mother, Cryss
  • The Snoopi Project
  • All those who donate to veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable dogs and cats

Visit HospiPet Playa’s website: http://www.hospipetplaya.com

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hospipetplaya

Please be sure to check in next week. We’ll be returning to Tulum to see how the community works together for the good of the animals.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

The Complete Series

In case you missed any of the other articles in this series of six, here’s your chance to catch up now.

Part 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

Part 2 – DOG HOUSES SHELTER MEXICO’S PETS https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dog-houses-shelter-Mexico’s-pets/

Part 4 – TULUM’S TIRELESS ANIMAL ADVOCATES https://petpeevesunmasked.com/tulums-tireless-animal-advocates/

Part 5 – CANADIANS ADOPT HOMELESS MEXICAN PUPPIES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/canadians-adopt-homeless-mexican-puppies/

Part 6 – CANCUN DOG RESCUER SAVED CHICA
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/cancun-dog-rescuer-saved-chica/

DOG HOUSES SHELTER MEXICO’S PETS


PART 2 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES” 

This week we show how dog houses protect Mexican pets that have a human family but live mostly outdoors, often in deplorable conditions. Sadly, and for whatever reason, the canines are not allowed inside the home.

Our photos tell the stories of before and after. And we learn, first hand, why one small volunteer organization based in Playa del Carmen is able to step in and help.

The Snoopi Project – Riviera Maya

“When we started in July 2015, our initial intention was to provide animals with a proper shelter, educate owners on responsible pet ownership and promote spay/neuter,” explains Kelly Whittemore, Founder and Director of The Snoopi Project. 

Master carpenter Alonso Roda and his latest dog house, finished just in time for Christmas

Dog Houses Shelter Mexico’s Pets

In order to assist local pet owners who are obviously struggling economically, this organization donates dog houses for canines that are kept outside. These items are made locally out of recycled wooden pallets from local businesses. The objective is to protect the animals from the tropical weather conditions prevalent in the state of Quintana Roo, on the Riviera Maya. That way, the animals are sheltered from the blistering sun and torrential rain that is typical during the summer hurricane season.

“On average, we are now able to deliver two to three dog houses a week, sometimes more,” says Whittemore, who is originally from California and worked as a veterinary assistant in North Carolina before settling in south-east Mexico. The Snoopi Project pays a carpenter, Alonso Roda, for his work. The extra money he earns on top of his full-time job allows him and his family to have a better life. The first dog house was delivered in July 2015 and the total count up to and including end December 2018 stands at 596. What an amazing achievement! 

Scouting Low-Income Neighborhoods

When I asked Whittemore how they hear about pet guardians who need help, she explained that residents and volunteers alert her of precarious situations. However, in addition to that, Kelly and her friend and helper, Stephanie La, constantly drive around poor neighborhoods. They look for outside pets and check on their welfare. She even laughed about the fact that residents are a little shocked to see them in their Snoopi Wagon. The fact is “most times people think we must have taken a wrong turn.” 

Whittemore also commented that most people are very grateful and appreciate the help. “The Mexican community has, honestly, been very open. We have met a lot of wonderful people.”

Donations Are Key

The reason that The Snoopi Project is able to do its work is entirely because of the donations it receives. And, although providing dog houses toprotectvulnerable Mexican pets is the principle objective, that is not all they do. Here are some examples.

  • Each family that receives a dog house is also gifted de-parasite medication and flea/tick protection for 30 days, for all dogs on the property.
  • Needy pets also receive food and water bowls, collars with personalized ID tags, and toys as well as supplies of dry food.
  • Help is also provided so that pets can be sterilized.
  • While out on the streets, if they see an extreme case where an animal is injured, sick, abused or abandoned, they will take action. It’s important to note, however, that The Snoopi Project is not a shelter. All animals they rescue are either fostered or taken to a private boarding facility.

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are Mexico’s outdoor dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, lack adequate care and protection. Thank you for what you do!

  • Kelly Whittemore and Stephanie La
  • Alonso Roda
  • All the volunteers, fundraisers, and those who donate to the cause

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Snoopi-Project-Riviera-Maya-807710772678086/ 

To donate you can do so via PayPal to djwhittemore62@yahoo.com

Please be sure to follow me next week. We’ll be staying in Playa del Carmen to visit a veterinary hospital to discuss injuries, disease and preventio. It will also feature the challenging medical case of tiny patient, Chanel, seen here in the arms of Kelly Whittemore.

The Snoopi Project founder, Kelly Whittemore, takes rescue pup Chanel to the vet for more tests
The Snoopi Project founder, Kelly Whittemore, takes rescue pup Chanel to the vet for more tests

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

The Complete Series

In case you missed any of the other articles in this series of six, here’s your chance to catch up now.

Part 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

Part 3 – VETERINARY MEDICINE IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN https://petpeevesunmasked.com/veterinary-medicine-in-Playa-del-Carmen/

Part 4 – TULUM’S TIRELESS ANIMAL ADVOCATES https://petpeevesunmasked.com/tulums-tireless-animal-advocates/

Part 5 – CANADIANS ADOPT HOMELESS MEXICAN PUPPIES https://petpeevesunmasked.com/canadians-adopt-homeless-mexican-puppies/

Part 6 – CANCUN DOG RESCUER SAVED CHICA
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/cancun-dog-rescuer-saved-chica/

MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES


PART 1: FOR THE HUNGRY, THE THIRSTY, AND THE HOMELESS

This blog began with a single topic, but then it grew into a series all about Mexico’s street dog heroes. To be more specific, it zeroes in on the tropical south-east region renowned for its beaches, archeological sites and eco-tourism. The action starts in Mérida, Yucatán, and travels across the state of Quintana Roo, with stops in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cancún. And if you’re wondering who the heroes are, they represent the three countries of North America (Mexico, Canada and the USA).

Feeders and waterers were installed in Mérida, Yucatán, by Mexico’s street dog heroes
Street dogs using feeders in the Yucatán capital of Mérida, south-east Mexico

YUCANINOS

Outdoor Food And Water Dispensers In Mérida

What first caught my eye mid 2018 was an article I read in the online version of the daily publication “Yucatán Al Minuto.” It dealt with outdoor feeders and waterers for dogs and cats that roam the streets of Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. 

Votes For Voiceless Animals

At the time, political campaigning was in progress for the upcoming general election. Mexicans would soon be voting for a new President as well as state officials nationwide. Animal lovers who were working on behalf of the PRI party candidate running for state governor decided to launch an initiative called “Yucaninos.” This word comprises the first four letters of Yucatán, and caninos, Spanish for canines. 

Those working on this project decided to install the state’s first ever feeders and waterers in Mérida. Then, prior to the launch, they held orientations to gather the support of residents in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. In addition to that, the plan also included recruiting volunteers to ensure that fresh food and water was always on hand and being properly dispensed.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get comments from people on the ground there. However, the program appears to have been a success and was replicated in other communities. One of these is Tulum where we will now make a stop.

Street cat in Tulum, south-east Mexico, eating from an outdoor feeder
Street cat in Tulum, eating from an outdoor feeder

iTOUR MEXICO – TULUM & AKUMAL

Business, Advocacy, And Endurance

Those who know Alma García well can tell you that she has boundless energy and a fighting spirit. And it is these qualities that have enabled her to do the following three things. 

Firstly, she and her Italian-born fiancé founded and manage two very successful boutique hotels and also offer eco-tours to visitors from around the world. Second, García loves animals and raises money for local homeless dog and cat populations. And, her third endeavor is to push herself further and win more marathons!

Feeder Flop

It’s certainly disappointing but there are times when you have a great idea but it just doesn’t work out. That’s what happened when this entrepreneur set up feeders close to her hotels. As my readers probably know, distemper is highly contagious and potentially lethal. So, when there was an outbreak of this disease in Tulum, the local authorities determined that the feeders had to be removed to prevent it from spreading further. 

Despite this setback, however, García continues to help Mexico’s street dogs and cats in other ways.

iTour Mexico in Tulum and Akumal sells tee-shirts to raise money for street dogs and cats
iTour Mexico in Tulum and Akumal sells own design tee-shirts to raise money for street dogs and cats. This one says “adopt, don’t buy.”

Tee-Shirt Triumph

Undaunted, García supplements her personal donations with funds raised from the sale of tee-shirts in her gift shops. “Visitors are really motivated to ease the suffering of all the roaming dogs and cats they see in our area,” she said. “They love all our tee-shirt designs.”

Through their support, García is able to buy food and contribute towards the cost of spay and neuter programs to reduce the canine and feline  populations on the streets. In addition, funds are allocated to construct dog houses out of wooden pallets made by a local carpenter. That way, some of the animals can shelter from the blazing sun and torrential rain.

A local carpenter makes dog houses for street dogs in Tulum, south-east Mexico
A local carpenter makes dog houses for street dogs in Tulum, south-east Mexico

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are Mexico’s street dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, end up struggling to survive on the streets. Thank you for what you do!

  • Yucatán gubernatorial candidate, Mauricio Sahuí; Edwin Espadas, who worked on his electoral campaign; and the residents of Mérida’s Emiliano Zapata neighborhood.
  • iTour Mexico, Alma García and Marco Pasqualino.                                                     www.itourmexico.com

Please be sure to follow me next week. We’ll be taking a trip to Playa del Carmen for more on dog houses, the before and after photos, and The Snoopi Project!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

The Complete Series

In case you missed any of the other articles in this series of six, here’s your chance to catch up now.

Part 2 – DOG HOUSES SHELTER MEXICO’S PETS
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dog-houses-shelter-Mexico’s-pets/

Part 3 – VETERINARY MEDICINE IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN https://petpeevesunmasked.com/veterinary-medicine-in-Playa-del-Carmen/

Part 4 – TULUM’S TIRELESS ANIMAL ADVOCATES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/tulums-tireless-animal-advocates/

Part 5 – CANADIANS ADOPT HOMELESS MEXICAN PUPPIES https://petpeevesunmasked.com/canadians-adopt-homeless-mexican-puppies/

Part 6 – CANCUN DOG RESCUER SAVED CHICA https://petpeevesunmasked.com/cancun-dog-rescuer-saved-chica/