Workshop April/May 2023

23/05/2023

Mara North Conservancy Dog Project, Workshop April/May 2023

After months of severe draught, the rains finally came to Maasai Mara in April. So when the Spring 2023 participants of the MNCDog project arrived on April 29th, we were worried that the heavy rain, slippery roads and flooded fields would slow down our work. But first of all, vet tech James Nayetuni and his helpers, Gideon and Jack managed to pick up our canine patients very early in the morning, so that the first patient of the day could be ready on the operation table, anesthetized and clipped, as early as 9:30AM. Secondly … we were simply just lucky! On the 6th day, when we went into the field to do surgeries on dogs in remote settlements, the skies cleared, and we didn’t get a single drop of rain all day.

The group of 5 Danish, 3 Kenyan and 2 American veterinary students did an excellent job at working as a team. One of the important lessons to be learned in our program is that every task and every person on a team is equally important. You might think that the surgeon is the most important, but if the dog doesn’t sleep properly, if there are not enough sterile instruments, if the operating room is dirty and dusty or if the recording team hasn’t checked the heart and lungs properly prior to surgery, the result can be disastrous. The students, the supervisors and the helping hands all realized this, which makes the team spirit even stronger. It also made the daily program run smoothly, in spite of long and busy days.

In the first five days, we castrated 22 male dogs and spayed 20 females, which is quite an accomplishment by the team, as spays take much longer and are more challenging than castrations. In addition, we revised and sutured an old wound and extracted a handful of damaged teeth. On the 6th day – the field day – we went to Olare Orok in the far southeastern part of the conservancy. We had a lot of gear to transport, but we were fortunate enough to get help from Saruni, Mara Camp, who provide usd with an extra vehicle on the field day.

Shortly after arriving at Olare Orok and having put up the tent, a small boy arrived with his good-looking, white dog. He had walked from far away to reach us, and wanted us to castrate his dog. It was wonderful to see the close relationship between the two, and to witness how interested the boy was in every step of the anesthesia and surgical procedure. After surgery, the dog was injected with an antidote to wake it up, and the boy walked back home with a slightly wobbly dog following close by. With the dogs in the field, we ended up neutering a total of 52 dogs during the entire workshop.

During the spring, James Nayetuni has been vaccinating 600 puppies/young dogs of Mararienda against distemper and parvovirus. And finally, in the end of March, the project received a donation of 600 Rabies-vaccines from Boerhinger/Ingelheim, and James could start vaccinating again.

Mara North Conservancy Dog Project is very grateful to our main sponsors, Animal Protection, DK and Karen Blixen Camp Trust, and to all the others that have contributed with help and donations: E-Vet, Boerhinger/Ingelheim, Zoetis and NoCat Studio.

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