Friday, 13 July 2012

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering in St. Vincent; an interview with Dr. Eric Audain

A person could observe there to be possibly more dogs than people in St. Vincent. Think about it. Chances are you, or at least your neighbour is in care of at least one, if not more than one, dog. Whether a companion, security mechanism, or commodity in which you profit off of, you are in the minority if your household is not in possession of at least one dog.

How many dogs do we see wandering the streets, either with or without homes to retreat to at the end of the day or during a downpour of rain? Quite a few. One would have to be admiring the rolling hills and ocean views of St. Vincent to not notice the amount of animals lining the road, particularly in the evenings when the blocks are full of people liming after work; after all, where there are people, there is often food. And for many animals in St. Vincent, hunger is an ever-present feeling.

If you do take the time to see them, do you consider them? Maybe you are tired of the eyesores or deeply concerned about the impact of the over-population of street dogs in St. Vincent due to uncontrolled breeding. If you do care for a dog, are you tired of your female producing litter after litter? Think about how tired she must be! Did you know that you could significantly reduce illness and disease in both male and female dogs through spaying and neutering procedures? Egerton James and Devon Lewis, both participants in last week’s FREE SPAY AND NEUTER CLINIC IN KEARTONS, were concerned about the health of their dogs and chose to neuter and spay to do their part to prevent unwanted and unnecessary litters in the community.

Dr. Audain neutered three dogs and spayed one on July 5th in Keartons, Barrouallie.

Dr. Eric Audain, a native of Barrouallie and Cuban trained veterinarian, is committed to seeing a dramatic change in the lives of Vincentian animals and those who care for them. The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) Founder, Kiersten Anderson interviewed Dr. Audain about his free services to communities all over St. Vincent:

Kiersten Anderson (KA): What services are you offering, at no charge, to communities? 
Dr. Eric Audain (EA): The over-population of dogs in SVG, is as a result of uncontrolled breeding. This situation must be looked at as a threat to our public health, considering the significant increase in the number of reported cases of zoonotic diseases (diseases that spread naturally from animals to human and vice-versa), worldwide and as a result we, at Audain's Animal Care, are offering a series of free spay and neuter clinics in various communities, starting in Barrouallie. Spaying and neutering are terms used in veterinary medicine to describe a surgical procedure that result in an animal’s permanent inability to reproduce. Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) applies to female dogs whereas neutering (castration) refers to male dogs. In some cases the word neutering refers to both male and female dog. During our clinics we will be removing the ovaries and the testicles of dogs.
KA: What can participants expect during and after the procedure?
EA: The surgical procedure is relatively short, 7-10 minutes in females and 5-7 minutes in males. The animal will be fully anesthetized and all sanitary measure will be in place to reduce the possibility of the animal acquiring any infection. There will be minimal blood loss and quick post surgical recovery (15-30 minutes). Animals will be given long acting antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs after the surgery. After the surgery, the owner/s of the animal must be actively involved in what is referred to as post surgical care, this phase is vital and will determine the success of the surgery. The animal is to be kept in a highly sanitized area and the wound should be clean and monitored daily. Light food (liquid) should be given within the first three hours post surgery.
KA: Why is spaying/neutering your animal essential in SVG? 
EA: Regarding the animal, the following benefits must be considered:
- Prolonging the life span
- Preventing heat
- Significant reduction in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases
- Reducing the constant urinating around the yard
- Reducing roaming
- Reducing in fighting to establish dominance
- Reducing breast, pulmonary cancer and genital tumors

Some of the benefits the owner of the animal will value are:
- Reducing spending on health issues regarding tumors and cancer
- Less roaming of dogs
- Decreased chances of animals picking up and passing along zoonotic diseases to family members

Our country will also benefit greatly as a result of spaying and neutering dogs. The benefits may be summarized in the following ways:
- Less roaming of dogs and so a significant reduction in the spread of zoonotic diseases
- Reducing the number of stray dogs, which play a major role in our destruction of livestock
- Enhancing our tourism industry and the creation of employment opportunities
- Reducing in the number of dog bites in public places

KA: What kind of impact do you envision the programme having in Vincentians' lives and our country?
EA: This free spaying and neutering programme is expected to greatly enhance the quality of life of our people and their pets (dogs) by reducing the possibility of the transmission of a significant number of zoonotic diseases. The health/economic impact of such a programme extends beyond our pets. The sanitary condition of our communities and towns will greatly improve due to the reduction of contamination with dogs’ fecal material. 
KA: How would you respond to common concerns Vincentians have about spaying and neutering, be they financial, health-related, animal-image related, etc.?
EA: It is factual that my of our people are reluctant to have their animal spay or neuter due to various reasons. One thing for sure is that such a procedure significantly enhances the quality of life of our pets. This programme is specifically geared towards our communities where many of the people are unable to afford the cost, and will otherwise be incapable of having such a procedure done.
In my personal experience, the only notable issue regarding this procedure is that the animal might have a tendency of gaining weight if the feeding pattern isn't altered regarding the portion of meals given. 

Dr. Audian’s next clinic will be held at Bottle and Glass on Thursday, the 12th of July, in front of Cutie’s Shop. He will be in Layou on the 19th, the exact location to be decided. Stay tuned!

Pre-Surgery Check Up

During Surgery, with guardian assisting

Post-Surgery Care

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