Ellen Glenn, Granada, May 28, 2013

Today was our last clinic day, and it was Large Animal Day. As someone who is not interested in working with large animals, I was looking forward to this day the least. We traveled to a local farm about 20 minutes away from our clinic in Granada, and we found many animals waiting for us when we arrived. We were hoping to participate in some horse castrations, but we were disappointed to learn that there were no horses that needed to be castrated that day. Instead, there were approximately 200 dairy cows that needed deworming and vitamin injections. We quickly split the group into two teams—one with each of our VIDA vets, Emilia and Jasson—and got to work on several pastures full of cows. This experience was very different from working with the cows at the VTH, as these cows were not tame and were not used to human handling. Each cow was individually wrangled by the farmers in a process that was unlike anything I’ve ever seen (there were no chutes or head gates at this farm!). Rumor has it that Greg lassoed a cow himself, although I did not witness this feat myself because I was in the other group… As soon as the cow was restrained (sometimes better than others), we would inject it as quickly as possible and then get out of the way. There was only one patient, a 2,000-pound bull named Tesoro (meaning “treasure”), that escaped our injections because he was too powerful and uncooperative.

Once we finished with the cows, we had several horses to deworm as well. Like the cows, these horses were rather wild, but fortunately Jasson had some impressive horse whispering skills to calm them enough to get our job done. By the end of the day we were filthy and exhausted, and we had treated 218 animals. On the way back to our hotel, we dropped Jasson off at his clinic and Granada, and he let us come inside for a quick tour. It was so interesting to see a Nicaraguan veterinary clinic, and we really appreciated that Jasson invited us to his—he said we were the only group he has taken to his clinic, so I think we were all very honored by that! I can’t believe that our clinic days are over, and our time in Nicaragua is coming to an end. We learned so much from the veterinary staff Jasson, Emilia, and Diana, and I am not ready to leave yet!

Once we got back to the hotel, the veterinary team spent the afternoon in the pool before we went to dinner with a larger group of volunteers and our VIDA trip leaders, Lester and Amy. It was another fantastic day in Nicaragua!