Archive for February, 2009

posted by Michel on Feb 28

This story without a happy ending starts when Neressa and her niece spot a dog that is badly suffering from mange near the Kalibo shopping centre, which in my European mind looks much more like a permanent market. In any case, we notice how he generally hangs around a certain area, so we decide to try and catch him to get him treated. Soon I too spot him: he looks in an awful state, almost no hair, small open wounds everywhere. His slightly arched back suggests to me that he’s already an older dog. Unfortunately he won’t be tempted by offerings of food and one day when he’s sleeping in his favourite spot, I almost manage to catch him. Eventually I resort to making a catch pole but Smeagol doesn’t show his face for days … Then one day we tour the town with CARA volunteers Gia Robertson and Tracy Tuason who are visiting us from Manila and we spot him! Soon I manage to track him down inside the market and use the catchpole with effect. While the girls keep him secured, I go get the car with the dog kennel. As I arrive we notice that he’s totally exhausted and bleeding through his mouth. This guy is in even poorer condition than we thought!

Poor Smeagol is exhausted and VERY ill

Poor Smeagol is exhausted and VERY ill

We take him to ASU VetMed clinic straight away. Along the highway to Banga, we notice a black “bundle” of some sort lying by the side of the road: a puppy! We stop and quickly assess the situation. The little fellow is totally dehydrated and although probably a few months old, doesn’t weigh much more than the day he was born. Obviously, we take him along too.

Sam, left to die by the side of a busy road

Sam, left to die by the side of a busy road

When we arrive at ASU, both Smeagol and Sam are immediately inspected by the staff. They are indeed in a very sorry state. Sam is even unable to take in any fluids through his mouth and is put on a Dextrose drip. Smeagol turns out to be worm-infested.

The worms got to him before we did

The worms got to him before we did

Little Sam fighting for his life

Little Sam fighting for his life

Very, very sadly, a few days later we are told by ASU staff that they died. This time we just got to them too late. Rest in peace my dear little friends …

Note: Although Smeagol did not die from mange directly, infections caused by the mange could lead to more serious ailments. Furthermore, mange is infectious and is also know to occur in humans, so care should be taken when handling animal patients with mange. There are two varieties of mange: demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange (also known as scabies).

I found an extremely useful reference about mange on Wikipedia here. It mentions that medication is required (like Ivermectin) but that this is also quite effective. If you want to know more about mange, than please check out the link.

posted by Michel on Feb 28

Picture this: after not having been in our Philippine home for a year, I take our dog Falco for a walk on one of the first days after we arrive. The beach is always nice, so that’s where I usually go. On our first visit there I stumble upon a dog that has a terrible bloody lump over his left eye. Was it once even the eye I thought?

Otog has a severe condition on his left eye

Otog has a severe condition on his left eye

Clearly, we can’t let this situation continue, so the next day we approach the owner, a friendly lady whose family owns a house and lot by the beach, a she agrees to let us treat the dog, named Otog. We immediately bring Otog to the ASU VetMed hospital where Dr. Molly Naigan will operate on his eye. Otog is a frightened but kindly natured dog, so we already have a lot of sympathy for this poor fellow. The next day, the operation has turned out succesfully (but the growth might be a malignant tumor) but the wound clearly needs continuous care.

After the operation

After the operation

The following 2 weeks we visit Otog daily, taking care of the wound and monitoring his progress. Although he’s not used to eating proper dog food, we give his owner a bag of dog food to mix through his rice and fish so that he will get at least some extra nourishment. Every time we come there we are greeted by Otog wagging his tail, even though the cleaning that we do must give him some discomfort. He just realises that it’s us who helped him out of his predicament!

Otogs a happy oldtimer now!

Otog's a happy oldtimer now!

Finally, Otog turns out to be a happy old guy once more. After having looked after him for 3 weeks, we decide that he no longer needs treatment. The owner says that he’s much happier and active now. And the good news is: the whole neighbourhood now knows who we are and what we do. Wherever we go, they greet us and give us the thumbs up, shouting “Otog!!!” as they go along. Let’s hope our rescue makes a difference to even more local animals…

Update 18 Nov. 2009: Unfortunately we heard that Otog died early September. Only a few weeks before I arrived to check up on him. Still, it makes me happy to know that we gave him half a year of relative comfort.