30 March 2007

TvT Program - Its catching.... Literally

Today I took 5 cases of TvT to the vet for their Chemotherapy. There were meant to be 6 cases but the last one was a village owner dog Phuky and she was not at home when I called.

Unless you are there, I am sorry to say you might not appreciate the circumstances. Can I just say the neither the guy making straw hats from strips of bamboo, the bamboo splitting process factory next door, the party of elderly ladies gathered around a front porch or the wide eyed & expressionless open mouthed singlet guy knew what on earth I was looking for, let alone had they seen Phuky! I accepted defeat once more and thought it better to take 5 rather than excite them more and keep looking for the 6th case.

I refer to the excitement of the dogs because transportation of dogs can in itself be very stressful for them. Some salivate as if they were Rabid, some vomit, especially if they have eaten anything before hand and some just wreck the cage and hurt themselves in the process.

Today, BuunKaow was on board and she hates being caged. She had her teeth at the bars from the outset and was woofing, yelping & screaming all the way. I checked in on them on the back of the truck when I stopped for Phuky and they were all fretting but never the less sat or laying quite ok, apart from BuunKaow of course. When I arrived at the vets, she was already out of the cage and standing in a small space between the 6 cages I had on the back, thankfully not running off. With a little assistance from the vet staff, we caught her and got her inside. Not a happy bunny.

Anyway, in the 6th cage I had Naiomi, along for a skin scrape & sure enough, her balding patches are early Dermodex mange and her lumpy ear is due to a Haematoma or in other words, a burst blood vessel in the ear. This was possibly caused by a bite or scratch. So on top of her visit recently regarding her anal & mouth warts, she has this on top. These are due to poor health and the vet suggested that because she had suffered with Distemper recently, her immunity was low and these issues were the small price she is paying but at least she is alive.

Most of the TvT cases were showing signs of improvement both visibly and by evidence of maintained or increased weight. The vet suggested that BuunKaow may well go home next week and hopefully Daeng as well. Its been a long haul for her but now her weight is going back on and her tumour is just a feint growth inside, there looks to be a brighter future for her.

Paulines leg and vulva are much improved and Nam Pueng is coping well too. Her tumour has not reduced as quickly as some but you can see it is definitely receding & healing.

But bad news about the village dog Lai. Her vulva had puss coming from it and the vet recommended she should have antibiotics as well as the chemo. In the back of my mind I worry about Pyometra but lets see next week how she is.

This was the first TvT Program trip to this particular veterinary practice. As you may have read recently in these pages, we had established a cost saving scheme with them and from here on will manage to treat cases a lot cheaper. This is such good news for the dogs of Chiang Mai. Next week, we will have another 2 cases to join the program, to replace the 2 that will hopefully have completed their treatment.

29 March 2007

NuDee Update - Especially for Nola

Visited Rama IX to catch up with NuDee and see how his ears, coat & willy were doing.

He has never looked better. His ears are level to the ground, no head shaking. His coat is fully returned, not a balding patch anywhere and as for his willy..... Well its not so near the ground!

Its 6 months now since he was first treated and despite not being visited by that camera woman who used to force feed him with vitamins, green chews and yummy fried chicken, he is doing fine and looking younger each time I see him.

Thursday on the road

As usual, Karin & I teamed up today being Thursday to make as many calls and clear as much from the 'To Do' list as possible within the waking hours as possible. Jill also joined us today to see some of the things we get up to.

First of all things got off to a bad start. Not far from leaving home, we found a dog laying by the side of the road, obviously hit by a car and dead for a little while. Rigor mortis had already set in. We lifted him into the truck to at least save him from being squashed and ignored. We will get him to a peaceful little orchard opposite the shelter where I am sure he would want to be.

Next we visited Baan Ma Ka Maew (House of Dog & Cat) Animal Hospital (BMM). We needed to have a serious discussion with the management regarding the possibility of them helping us with several TvT cases we currently had.

The crux of the problem is this. If we go to a vet and get 1 dog treated for a course of 7 injections, it will cost us approx 380 baht x 7 = 2660 baht. This is because the vet would have to buy-in and store the medicine in a cooler and then there is the skillful injection. However, recently, we found a vet willing to inject medicine we had purchased ourselves. This enabled us to save a lot of money by shopping around for a cheap supplier of the Vincristine Chemotherapy. However, we now find that some of the practices of this vet are unsatisfactory and sub standard and for the health of the dogs, we need to find a more professional vet.

To our utter delight and amazement, the management of BMM have agreed to charge a set fee for treating a group of TvT cases and is even cheaper than the previous vet. The relief and happiness on Karin's face was a picture to remember.

We then visited the dog across the street from Chadwick's studio. These folks are doing some amazing work and Chadwick himself is such a talented guy. I am also looking forward to meeting Laura at some future time, she has created some interesting body painting pieces.
(Note Dodo looking out of the transport cage)

Anyway, back to the doggy's. This time, Karin with her wonderful understanding of the Thai language, spoke with the woman in the house and found the background of the story. Dodo, a male of about 3 years, is being kept in the garden at the rear of the house because her female dogs (3) are on heat and he wants some of the action!!!

After a lot of talking, the woman agreed for us to help her by having Dodo sterilised for free and offered to assist her with transportation of the others to be sterilised too. Later that day, when we returned Dodo, we met the daughter who said she would consider sterilising the other dogs, after seeing the recovery of Dodo. The mystery earlier in the day was also sorted out. Why had 2 other males been allowed to remain in the house? They were under 6 months and not thinking about sex yet!!

This raises an interesting point. The daughter was sceptical of operation recovery. Is this because of horror stories of back street butchers? Anyway, a happy simple ending to what at first appeared to be a complex issue.

Next we accepted the offer of a coffee at the opulent new Sofitel hotel. (2 /10 for coffee though)

What happened next can only be described as disastrous. I collided with another car. Blame, fault, anger, frustration, shock, disbelief, surreal, numbness are all emotions passing before me as I stand waiting for a decision as to whats happening next. After a relatively short time, following Police, Insurance, friends & relatives attendance, we drove away feeling a little wary of the traffic but I felt relieved that nobody had been hurt and we were on the move again.

In the car at the time, was Dodo. Karin found a taxi to take him to the vet for sterilisation and Karin wondered why she had to pay the taxi fee, after being the one telling the driver how to get there & back.

Leaving my sorrows behind me, we drove to Mae Rim where we would find lunch and then visit a generous guy Mario, who is caring for approximately 30 dogs that he brought up to Chiang Mai from Phuket, when he moved homes recently. He has now found a piece of land and a dog loving woman to live with them. We we happy to see their contentment and wished Mario well.

This area is near to Prem Tinsulanonda International School and also The Happy Gambol Dog Training School (Phone : 085 036 5732) where 1 of our dogs is being trained to increase his chances of adoption. We saw him and could hardly believe the difference in only a month. He was sitting, staying, coming, walking and remaining inside an open gate until told to move.

Our next stop was an adoption follow up of Luca. We found him initially looking a little scared but after a bit of encouragement, he opened up and showed us he was quite happy and full of confidence. He had lost a little weight and didn't look quite so clean & fluffy but that maybe a reflection of the treatment that he was getting at his foster home prior to adoption.

By this time the sun was starting to set and when we reached Rama IX park, there were many folks out exercising and some having their dinner by the water. We caught up with NuDee and gave him a few snacks.

It was now after 6pm and we found the temple Wat Pa Phaeng. We were here to investigate if this location would suit Roots & Shoots to start working with the dogs in the area.

We gave some hungry guys some snacks and spoke to the people in the temple area. It seems lots of work has already been done here but there were a couple of cases needing immediate attention and we also saw a mum & 9 newly born pups.

The male dogs here, we will call Max. The temple folks said that a food vendor had attached the dog recently and he was suffering after a wound (hence the matted hair) to his back. When we stood him up, his willy was exposed and I wondered if he had been circumcised.

The second case, Lucy, is suffering with TvT and also mange. There are several dogs here suffering with mange and we will need to return here to see what changes we can make to their conditions.

At the vets clinic, Max was found to have a tumour on his willy that precluded it from receding into the flesh or foreskin. It was so dry from being out all the time, that when the vet touched it & exposed the root of the penis, he yelped in pain. As for his back..... No wound, no blood, just something like dried hot fat. We cut some of it away and the rest crumbled between our fingers. After a good shower, I am sure he will look & feel a whole lot better.

As for Lucy, she has a tumour developing and she will need some feeding up and health improving vitamins before we start Chemotherapy, as currently she is so weak. More of a problem is that she has heart worms. The pic shows a microscope view of a blood test. Wriggling in amongst the platelets are minute worms. (Sorry I didn't think of taking a video)

It was an interesting day. A little bit of an upset but I console myself in the thought that we did some good work too.

Arrived home at 21:15. 140km on the clock

27 March 2007

Thai Road Signs

I was wheel clamped for parking on the wrong side of the road recently. You will appreciate my confusion but note distinct text difference.
These signs state that you should not park on this side of the road on odd or even days of the month

<- Odd Even ->

For those readers in Thailand who drive, I suggest you learn the differences.

Today I was treated to a wonderful lunch by Mary (of J J Rescue fame) and her friend Chadwick. We talked about dogs, dogs and more dogs. There will be a story here very soon, relating to a dog that may be kept in poor conditions and possibly mistreated..... watch this space!

On the way to Chadwick's Art Studio, Mary pointed out a sign that is rumoured to say "Farangs stay away... or else" or words to that effect. I had my partner translate them and I can assure viewers that 'The Barrel' as it is locally named has a sign saying "No through road" and "Buy, Sell or Deposit Mobile phones for cash".

Now doesn't that sound a lot more friendly.

Sterilisation Run

Today got off to a fine start, I had 6 dogs loaded on the back of my truck and then on the road I had a call from Karin asking when I was picking up a new dog called Dam from her home. I thought that Dam was already number 6 I said. Ah!!! It seems that Dam was actually Tracy and Tracy was not for sterilisation today! Well there we go. I need to check their names again when boarding the truck.

Anyway, I had 4 cases for sterilisation today and 2 teenagers for a check on some strange growths. Naiomi has warts on her anus & gums and the vet said we should just let them run their course. She was suffering with something called Pappilloma Virus. He said we should just leave them alone and there was no treatment necessary.

Sarah had what appeared to be a wound to her outer labia and the vet suggested we should bathe the wound with Betadine and give Amoxicillin 250 twice a day for a week.

Of the sterilisations, one of them, named Urrr Lurrr ! comes from Wiang Kum Kam. She has a stiff left back leg from a previous injury and has healed in a straight fixed pose. She cannot use it. The vet suggested no treatment and just to leave it. She also has a cloudy right eye and there is some infection around the eye lid too. The vet said we should use steroid eye drops for the treatment of the corneal ulcer and conjunctivitis. Bless her, she will be in a bad was this week but after staying at the shelter for a while, I am sure her standard of health and quality of life will improve.

26 March 2007

Monday is Wiang Kum Kam day

Jill came with me to visit the old city complex today.

We first of all went to the front entrance where the buggy rides start and met up with one of the guides there, Jak. He is a dog lover and after chatting with him last week, he has agreed to single out 2 females each week for me to collect and arrange sterilisation. Today he came to me carrying a dog I had never seen before and when he said I dunno, I said to our new volunteer, 'would you mind ?' We named her Jill. Next he brought along Urrr Lurr, a black and white female that I had seen on previous visits and noticed her stiff rear left leg. Today I saw that her right eye looked not so good and I was so happy he had picked her on the first trip. They will go back to the shelter today and be kept away from food & water overnight for their surgery tomorrow. ( See 27/03/2007 posts for pic)

Whilst at the front of WKK, we gave some Ivomec to Sua and Jak (not the guide but another dog that didn't have a name!) and considering this is only the 4th week, Sua's coat is looking much better and Jak is up & about with a bit more vitality.

Next it was a trip into the centre to visit BuunLai, BuunKeow & NongLai. The 3 were sleeping in the shade of the Tamarind trees and after a little persuasion, greeted us with sleepy eyes and enjoyed the chews we gave them. BuunLai enjoyed his Ivomec in some left over currant bread I had put by for them.

I also showed Jill a paradox. Near to these 3 dogs who are lovingly fed by the village barber, is a house with a poodle on a leash. He is about 8 - 10 years old and his teeth are rotten. His gums are in poor condition and he is quite subdued. I told Jill about how 2 weeks ago the owner had asked me if I could help the dog as he wasn't eating. I looked in his moth( the dogs!) and knew at once. How could this poor little pooch endure the suffering of putting more food into its already painful mouth. Apparently they just feed him rice, nothing solid and definitely nothing that he could chew to clean his teeth. Anyway I bought some antibiotics for them (the cost of 3 loaves of bread or the equivalent of 4 litres of diesel). Looking at the dogs teeth this week, the gums have lost the gingivitis but that will return after a few more helpings of mushy rice gets stuck between those already decaying and broken teeth.

Jill & I returned to the shelter and she met some of the residents. I think Jill connected with many at that first meeting.
Bill is getting ready for her trip to the states!

24 March 2007

Weekly feed at Wat Doi Kam

I went with very low expectations and I was not disappointed.

After finding Oscar trotting up the mountain road towards the temple, about half a kilo away, I slowly drove to the car park and gave him lots of cuddles when we arrived there. I fed him 2 bowls of food, gave him some chews and also a bowl of clean water.

Just when I thought he was the only one I would see today, along came Sonja.

Totally disheartened and feeling angry again, I walked to the temple cooking area with a new large bag of dry food. The freshly opened bag, mentioned in last weeks visit, was completely gone and there was also a lack of evidence of feeding in trays & bowls scattered around at the rear of the monks store & toilets. I left the food in a conspicuous place and without finding any human to talk to about the feeding during the week, I left.

Back in the car park I found Butch lurking in the shadows and also Dam. He was very docile and especially around Oscar. Finally Mare turned up and polished off a couple of bowls of food. The new bumper pack of chocolate flavoured chews were nearly gone on these five. They were ravenous.

After satisfying their hunger I packed up and drove down the mountain and had a wonderful surprise to find Gina. She was skulking behind some trees in the forest and only came down to feed when I got back in the car.
So the 2nd poor creature to victim to the love of all living things, at a place where it is meant to be more respected than anywhere else, is likely to be either Pat, or her Mother, Lady.

I close with more rubbish.

Stolen Dogs - How can these just go missing?

This picture is of a poster at the foot of Wat Doi Kam mountain. The words in Thai, say that these 2 Pug dogs have gone missing and a reward is offered for their return.

Has the Evil Dog Snatcher been here too ?

Nakorn Payap - Making a difference in the Community

We had been looking forward to this day for so long. Previously, Yu from Roots & Shoots at Nakorn Payap International School (NIS), had asked Care for Dogs how they could help dogs and our group.

Karin & I visited them and gave a presentation of some of the issues facing dogs in Chiang Mai and explained Care for Dogs (Cfd) objectives and talked about the work we do. It was a lot of information and Karin & I were scared that we would frighten them off with the gory stories, the sad plight of some of the creatures we meet and the enormity of the work involved.

But to the contrary. They bit our hand off!! Yu and colleagues arranged for various fund raising events at the school and collected money by way of donations, sold items that we provided for sale and placed our information stand & wall board at prominent positions within the school, raising peoples awareness of the drive by the club to promote Cfd.

Roots & Shoots then wanted to spend some time at the shelter, meet the dogs and deliver food, chews, toys, shampoo and whole lot of money, over 9,000 baht !!! Thank you Roots & Shoots.

This will fund 11 Sterilisations.

It was a wonderful morning of doggy happiness. Another volunteer Carolyn organised the dogs getting out & being walked through a nearby orchard and enjoying freedom for a while. Teresa, another volunteer, motivated the students into a lathering session, showering some long haired characters and giving a well deserved grooming to as many as they could in the time. Because of the dogs playfulness, some students had a shower too!!

Karin demonstrated vaccinations and involved Miss Elissa, one of the teachers, giving the injections and I talked my head off, telling folks about the stories behind the residents and explaining some of the behaviours that would possibly otherwise remain misunderstood.

Towards the end of the visit, we unleashed the hidden jewells, young adoptable pups, so sweet smelling and so eager for a warm cuddle and show of affection from anyone that will love them.

Mr Troy was busy with his camera and I eagerly await to see some of those happy snaps. Perhaps he will let me load a few here.

Also joining us today was a new volunteer from England, staying in Chiang Mai for a month and wanting to get involved with some hands on activity.

I took a few pics while I had my hands empty, I hope you can share in the days happiness.
There will be another post in my diary as soon as the other folks let me have their pics (Was that a subtle enough reminder?)

23 March 2007

Incident at Doi Saket

Today I drove to Chiang Rai on a family matter and when returning, I stopped to see other family at Doi Saket, Magwam Dam. I am very glad that I did.

As I drove along the approach road to the dam, I saw a herd of cattle grazing on the opposite side of the canal bank. It was as I passed that I saw one of the cows reaching just that bit too far, slide head long into the canal. I say canal, its a deep river right now as the authorities are releasing water from the dam for farmers.

The poor cow thrashed around a while, went under, screamed and started to drift down the canal from the unaware herd. I sounded my horn at the shepherd who was away chopping bamboo and after a while of shouting & waving I got his attention. He immediately jumped on his bike and rode off in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, I looked for rope or something to help the poor creature who by now had travelled about 500 meters down stream. I went to a roadside bar and found a songthaew driver coming out, bottle in hand and hardly able to walk a straight line. Then others came out and amazingly found the step and their seats without hitting their heads on the roof in their stupor. They couldn't care less about a farang asking for rope, let alone to save a drowning cow. Thankfully they drove away without adding to the catastrophe and also didn't hit my car, whilst laughing & pointing at the spectacle.

The shepherd returned with rope and he & I managed to at least stop the cow floating down stream further by forming a barrier and lassoing the horns! Yi Haa!!. More family turned up and eventually one braved the water and swam to secure the rope around the cows midriff. We eventually, after many failed attempts, managed to pull the cow up the sloped concrete embankment to safety...... And then the humans.

The shepherd was ecstatic and relieved & I think the cow was too.

Note the absence of brightly painted and visible 'Life Buoy' life saving aides!! Silly me.