Kelly Jones, Costa Rica, May 22, 2012

Today is our second day of small animal clinic in Palomo de Orosi, Costa Rica! We arrive early at the clinic, and there are already people waiting with their animals in the waiting room of the clinic. We are all excited to start the day, and begin preparing for patients. When we are ready to begin accepting patients, we are paired up by the lovely Viviana, the veterinary technician with us on our VIDA adventure who is fabulous and extremely helpful.

Today I am paired with the student from Auburn, Cary Clark, who we have all grown to love and are happy to have with us on this trip. Our first patient of the day is a medium sized dog whose owner is afraid that the lumps she feels on his back are cancer. We are told by Viviana that we are supposed to do a physical exam and check the lumps to determine if the lumps are due to bot fly larvae or if they are indeed lumps which could be cancerous. When we look at the lumps, we see dried blood matting the hair and are told by Dr. Miquel Somarriba to begin cleaning the lumps and shaving the fur. After noticing a hole on the first lump we cleaned and shaved, and confirming that this was from bot fly larvae with Dr. Miquel, we are told the ways to kill bot fly larvae and the effects of each method; we are also told that the best method is removal – if we can get the larvae out.

Dr. Somarriba then shows us how to remove them, and then we begin on the remaining larvae. We wait until we see the larvae. One of us pushes the larvae out through the hole, another one takes a gauze, grabs and pulls the larvae, wiggling it back and forth until it is removed. We do this 9 more times for the live larvae, and around 4 times for the dead larvae we found. My last larvae actually shot out of its hole when I squeezed it, and it landed only a few inches away from Cary. Then, our patient, who was amazing throughout this entire process, is sent home with antibiotic spray on each hole, oral antibiotics, and mosquito repellant sprayed onto his fur. He is discharged and we receive our next patient immediately. Our next patient is a dog coming in for a neuter. We complete his physical exam, calculate the doses of pre-medications and anesthetic, and have our calculations approved before we begin prepping our patient for his neuter surgery. Cary will be assisting and I will be monitoring the patient during the surgery by taking his respiratory and heart rates every 5 minutes, checking for signs that the patient is not waking during surgery, and recording the doses of anesthetic he receives in order to keep him under the effects of anesthesia throughout the surgery. After the surgery, I take our patient to the recovery area. I monitor our patient until Cary returns, and then we both work to prepare our patient for discharge. Our next patient is a young bull terrier who is in for a recheck of her infected toe. We consult with Dr. Miquel, clean the toe, calculate the doses of antibiotic and pain medications as we were instructed, have the doses checked, prepare her antibiotic and pain medications, and then ready her for discharge. We are now ready to receive our last patient of the day, a dog in for a neuter surgery. We complete the same steps as were done with our first surgery of the day, and after getting the go-ahead, begin prepping our patient for surgery. I place the IV catheter, and I also assist with the surgery…needless to say, I am excited.

During the surgery, I perform transfixation ligations where instructed, and I remove the testicles. After the surgery, I clean the instruments and then join Cary with our patient in the recovery area. We work to prepare our patient for discharge while monitoring him. After everyone finishes for the day and all our patients are discharged, we hop in the van to head back to the hotel. We have around an hour until our Latin Dance Class. When class begins, our instructor introduces herself and tells us she will be teaching us the steps of some common Latin dances. Throughout the class, we learn one type of dance at a time, partner up with someone new, and practice the steps our teacher taught us. After dance class, we are all very tired after our long day, and get ready to eat dinner in the hotel’s dining room. Hotel Sanchiri has a calm atmosphere and an amazing view, even when it’s dark the lights below the hills are beautiful to observe, so it is wonderful to relax, eat dinner, and enjoy the remainder of the evening with our awesome group.