Margret Donahue, Costa Rica, May 20, 2012

Today was our first full day in Costa Rica. We had breakfast at Hotel Aeropuerto – the traditional “huevos y pintos” (eggs with rice and beans), fresh mango juice and local coffee. After breakfast, we went right to work with Dr. Miguel. Dr. Miguel is the lead veterinarian on our trip. We learned about basic clinic set up and procedures and took inventory of all of our supplies. We were warned as to how crazy clinic days, especially the first one, will be. We’ll be paired up with a new person each day and will need to be as efficient as possible, any wasted time means an animal who will not get the care it needs.
We reviewed some basic male and female anatomy and watched some videos with different spay and neuter techniques, such as scrotal and pre-scrotal incision sites for castrations, and where to shave for the different procedures. Next, we practiced suture patterns (simple interrupted, simple continuous, modified horizontal mattress, and intradermal patterns), as well as transfixation techniques, circumferential ties and Miller’s knots. We also talked about different types of suture; all the suture we will be using is absorbable (even the skin sutures) because it is very unlikely these animals will be going anywhere for a suture removal.
At noon, we took a break for lunch. We ate more traditional, delicious, Costa Rican food at Hotel Aeropuerto; arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and more fresh fruit juice.
The hotel had wifi and computers with internet and skype. This was really good for Kathryn because, despite being in Costa Rica, she had to do an interview over skype for a job during lunch!

After lunch, we talked about some common illnesses/conditions we might encounter: fleas, ticks, bot flies, lacterations, and demodectic vs sarcoptic mange. We also discussed personal safety: all dogs are to be muzzled (even if they seem friendly), how to properly restrain a cat, as well as restraint techniques for IV catheter placement and endotracheal intubation. We went over the de-wormer we would be using (Ivermectin, IM for older animals, PO for younger/smaller animals), as well as the pain medication (dolovet) and antibiotics (enrofloxacin). Everything will need to be written in Spanish, so we went over prescription writing and directions in Spanish.

At 3 pm, we packed everything up and headed to Cartago. On the way, we picked up Dr. Julian (one of the surgeons) and Viviana (our awesome assistant). After a couple hours of driving and seeing the beautiful country side, we arrived at our new amazing hotel at Sanchiri. We all had incredible views of the valley from all of our rooms.

There was also a farm at the hotel with roosters, cattle, pigs, chickens, and turkeys. We ate dinner at the hotel and met the last doctor who would be helping us: Dr. Mario. Everyone enjoyed their dinner, but the best part was that our Coca-Cola came in huge glass bottles!
After reviewing our itinerary for tomorrow with Pablo and Dr Miguel, we all headed to bed; tomorrow is our first clinic day!