David Beutel, 2014, Tanzania, June 27, 2014

Today was the last day of surgeries for us. It’s hard to believe that our two week rotation is essentially finished. The time has just flown right by. Today we ended up working in two different locations both located near Msimba Village which is located near Mikume. The first spot we went had a decent sized crowd already present with their dogs. However, at first they were all for vaccinations and no surgeries which surprised me. However, I was told that this was because the people in this area use their dogs for hunting baboons. Therefore, they wanted their dogs to be able to have puppies. But, it didn’t take too long for some surgeries to come up and we spent the whole morning spaying and neutering dogs and cats as well as giving many vaccinations. This was also the location that a random dog went up to Mary and sniffed her arm before casually deciding to place its mouth around Mary’s arm. Fortunately, no injuries were reported as Nicki saw what the dog was doing and quickly shoo’d the dog away. Also, today Dr. Muhairwa showed some of us a new way to deal with transmissible venereal tumors, or TVT. Before, Dr. Bennett had been performing total resections of the tumors and then suturing the dogs vulva back together, taking care to leave the urethra patent. However, Dr. Muhairwa instead places suture material around the base of the tumors in order to tie off any vasculature that is present to the tumor and then just cuts the tumor off. While this may not remove the whole tumor, Dr. Muhairwa told us that by removing at least part of the tumor, it stimulates the immune system to attack the tumor and remove it.   The cool thing was that he asked me if I wanted to take some of them off so, under his guidance, I was able to remove a TVT from a dog. A little after noon, we headed off to someone’s house nearby and set up shop again. However, at this place we only castrated one cat but did vaccinate a number of dogs. We closed up shop in pretty good time and had a little photo-taking session with our whole group before heading off to the hotel for the last time. It was kind of sad leaving our new-found friends. You don’t realize how much you have enjoyed working with people for 10 straight days until the last day ends and you ask yourself, “Now what, this is all I have done for the last 10 days!” I also felt the same as I waved good-bye to the children for the last time. It kind of struck me that I would most likely never see them again and that it was my last time being able to wave to the kids on our trip. The children were a huge highlight of the trip for sure. They were so curious about everything that we did and absolutely glowed when given the chance to interact with us.   But, as the cliché goes, all good things must come to an end. Words do not begin to describe the experiences we had nor the impression this trip left on us.

Group shot of Illinois students, faculty and Tanzania veterinarian

A group shot before heading home.