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.
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?
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.
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.
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: 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!