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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

Follow them on Facebook:

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.







Rehabilitation like other veterinary specialties becoming mainstream can help restore a dog’s mobility
Veterinary specialties becoming mainstream like the work this rehabilitation practitioner is doing

Veterinary specialties becoming mainstream like acupuncture alleviate many health conditions in dogs and cats
Acupuncture is one of the veterinary specialties becoming mainstream at a rapid pace

All of these veterinary specialties becoming mainstream for animals have been available to humans for a very long time. Fortunately, a growing number of chiropractors, acupuncturists and rehabilitation practitioners are providing these services to heal our pets. However, if they are not yet available in your community, rest assured, they soon will be.

Below is a description of what these medical specialties encompass and how they can help pet parents get the kind of healing that their dogs and cats so desperately need.


This is a technique which involves manual manipulation of the spine to treat facial, neck, leg, back and tail pain and provide health maintenance of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. 

Animal chiropractic is used as an alternative treatment method in conjunction with traditional veterinary care. Its benefits include reducing stiffness and pain by increasing mobility.


As you probably already know, acupuncture is a therapy that originated in China and has been used there for centuries. Nowadays, however, patients all over the world often choose this treatment as a substitute for synthetic drugs. In addition, it eliminates the sometimes harmful side effects of such medications.

This alternative consists of inserting thin needles into specific acupuncture points to stimulate the immune and nervous systems. Consequently, it helps decrease inflammation and restore balance between organ systems.

For example, common applications for canines and felines include…

* ear infections

* gastrointestinal issues

* incontinence

* respiratory disease

* seizures

and even

* post operative healing


* behavioral issues


Rehabilitation practitioners use sets of tools and exercises that improve the mobility and quality of life of your pet. 

Therapeutic regimens work hand in hand with all other medical resources, and treatment options include…

underwater treadmill

land-based treadmill

hydrotherapy tub with whirlpool jets

deep-tissue ultrasound

low-level laser light therapy

hot/cold compress therapy

Canines and felines alike that are coping with issues such as orthopedic and neurologic injuries, arthritis, chronic pain and obesity typically find considerable relief from these rehabilitation techniques.

To Sum Up

The three veterinary specialties becoming mainstream that are mentioned here show how determined pet parents are. They want to give their companion animals every chance to enjoy the kind of life they were meant to have.

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

When It Comes To Caring For Your Dog Or Cat, These Are The Biggest Expenses

Industry statistics reveal how much is spent annually on the upkeep of companion dogs and cats

Based on industry studies conducted in the United States, a dog owner will typically spend around $1,641 per year per pet. For someone who owns a cat, that amount will be roughly $1,125.

The biggest expense is generally food and food treats, followed by veterinary care and then pet supplies together with OTC medicines.

Continue reading When It Comes To Caring For Your Dog Or Cat, These Are The Biggest Expenses