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Week 2 in Sri Lanka by Rebecca Plant

November 23, 2015 | WECare in Sri Lanka

My second week in Sri Lanka was a bit more hard hitting than the first. We were off to see a dog, Charlie (who has a maggot wound on his head which we had previously treated) and on the way we saw a little girl running around in the road she looked around 4 months.

We named her Saffy! Somebody had thrown boiling water all over her back and neck. She was very weak and her back was a mess, we picked her up and took her back to Janey’s (the vet) house. We put her on fluids, gave her lots of pain relief and other medication, as well as a good meal. She ate the full lot and enjoyed herself a nap, she was finally safe. During the night she passed horrendous diarrhea and was weaker the next morning. We tried to feed her again but she had no interest.

We were all very worried about her because she had no fight left. Janey suspected she had an under lying disease called tick fever – 70% of the dogs here have it. She had very pale gums and a low PCV (packed cell volume), these are both signs of tick fever, which in the later stages can cause organ failure. Because diagnostics are so limited here we were only able to check her PCV so it’s very difficult to gauge what is going on with a lot of the dogs. Throughout the day she gradually became weaker and weaker and unfortunately she passed away. At least in her final moments she was pain free and with people who cared for her. People can be so cruel.

We then went to see a dog with a giant maggot wound on the top of his head/neck, I named him Zac. The locals had been shooing him away as he had started to smell. He wasn’t very friendly so we had to sedate him to check him over. We removed HUNDREDS of maggots from his wound and bandaged him up. We then went back to check him a day later, and searched all over the town he was from but were unable to find him. We finally found some locals to ask, and they told us he had unfortunately died the night before. This wound may have started very small but with a combination of the heat and the flies, they quickly become a lot worse. Had we have been told by the locals sooner it may have been a very different outcome. A lot of the problems are down to a lack of education in animal ownership and care, which is one of the many missions WECare are on.

Charlie, who I mentioned earlier, is a dog we have been seeing right from the very beginning of my trip. He had a huge maggot wound on his head. He is now on the mend and no longer needs bandages. When changing one of is bandages we noticed maggots coming out of the opposite ear, we are now treating this ear everyday twice daily with drops as the flies had been initially attracted due to infection! Hopefully he should be back to normal again soon, he has an owner and she was very grateful that we had saved her dog. If Charlie hadn’t have been seen he probably wouldn’t have lasted much more than a week.

On Tuesday we were supposed to have some time away from Talalla for a few days but we were too busy and didn’t get to go, so we planned to go Wednesday instead. By Wednesday morning we had more animals to see! And typically we found several more we had to see when we were doing our rounds! We found two gorgeous puppies running around by the side of a very busy road, we named them Thelma and Daphne! They look around 10 weeks old. No one ever wants the females so they dump them by the roads, which is extremely dangerous! Malaka, our veterinary assistant, is keeping them until they are old enough to be neutered and vaccinated then they will go to an Embark adoption day in December and hopefully find a forever home!

On Wednesday evening we managed to set off on our travels! First we took the night train to Trincomalee which took around 7 hours! It was an experience to say the least! We arrived at our hotel and had a much needed nap, then took the day to relax by the pool and go kayaking! On the second day we went snorkeling, where we swam with reef sharks and turtles – it was amazing. We went on to Sigiriya to climb Sigiriya Rock, where it was lashing it down so the views weren’t very good- but it was still a brilliant experience. We then went to Dambulla to see the cave temples, which were very impressive and had a lot of history behind them. The following day we went to on Kitulgala to go white water rafting and canyoning! It had been raining a lot so the water level was high, it was soooo fun! After Kitulgala we cut our trip short, as there are dogs that need our attention back at Talalla, so we arrived home at 1am, ready for a quick sleep to start bright and early with work!

We have lots of dogs to see and we have a few inpatients too. I’ll be posting another blog next week so I can update you all on the events that this week brings!

I’m still loving life out here and feel very blessed to have had this opportunity. Janey and Amy are amazing people and are doing such a wonderful job at managing to run the charity and keep on top of all the work they have to do. They have so much on their plate but find the time to answer questions, keep the Facebook updated and help the street dogs! Real life heroes!!

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