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/