Filipino Vets Travel to Siem Reap
November 2012 – Filipino Vets Travel to Siem Reap to Visit Eight Cats
Only three of our eight furries – mama Lucky, Aiko, and Oue – were neutered and spayed about three months prior to their flight to Cambodia. They left Manila in July 2011 and the younger kittens were yet a tad too young to be under the knife then.
Dr. Elena Labutan, who performed the procedures on the older three in April, advised it was better to wait until the others were at least five months old. They just turned four that July.
About a month after the cats’ arrival in Siem Reap, things started to get crazy with the howling especially from the girls, and throughout the night time. Ronald said the solution was to have them fixed if only we could find a vet in town. We were concerned about the girls getting pregnant as well, so it couldn’t be helped. We had to get them spayed asap.
My mom is a veterinarian but she would not fancy the idea of leaving home so inviting her to come over was simply out of the question. I think I had asked her sister – my auntie Dalen- who is also a vet like her husband, but she had other plans as I’d thought.
We heard there were a couple of local individuals involved in veterinary work in town. Unfortunately, we were also told that there was a lack of sufficient knowledge and standards for care practices as well as good hygienic facilities. So Ronald and I decided not to take the risk of putting the lives of our five kittens to chance.
We had an Australian vet nurse in town, Katie, who could help with a lot of pet concerns except with surgeries. But not a single well-trained veterinary doctor.
Most of the foreigners living in Siem Reap also preferred to take their pets to Agrovet in Phnom Penh, and we were recommended to do the same by our friends. We considered doing just that until the idea came up to instead invite a vet from the Philippines to come to Siem Reap rather than subjecting the furries to many hours of discomfort in a taxi to and from the capital.
Since the cost of dragging the furries all the way to Phnom Penh amounted to almost same as the cost of a round trip Manila-Siem Reap-Manila airfare, the latter looked like the option to go for. Less hassle for the cats and we were mighty glad we had gone with that.
When I wrote to Dr. Elena, she did not mind flying to Siem Reap – though not before All Souls/Saints Days due to scheduled family engagements she had to attend to. A good friend of hers, also a DVM Dr. Mabel Aplod, agreed to accompany her on the trip and assist with the tasks.
Since there were other expats inquiring about recommended vets on the Facebook expat page, I thought to ask Dr. Elena if they were keen on setting up a makeshift clinic and to welcome other expats who were in need of vet services. She gave the go signal, and I went ahead and made the announcement on Facebook.
My post elicited a number of responses with pet concerns and requests which all went into a spreadsheet that I constantly updated and forwarded to the Philippines until the vets’ departure for Siem Reap. They were able to bring some medical supplies from home, and others were sought from pharmacies around town. Some syringes and stuff were donated by Katie and Jody (one of the expats who also came over with a cat to be spayed).
More than 20 pets made it to the appointment list. I had to go to work during the clinic hours, so I delegated the tasks at home to my husband. Josette and Katie were also very kind to volunteer their assistance at the ‘clinic’.
We had some spare bedrooms in the house so we were happy have our friends the vets stay at our home. Their flight arrived in the evening and they were up early the next morning for the first appointments of the day.
We offered the back end of the house to be used as a clinic and waiting area. Another spare bedroom served as a recuperation room for pets waiting for the anesthesia to wear off, or waiting for their owners to return to collect them.
They stayed from November 4-8 as booked, but later went out of their way to rebook their flight and extend a couple more days just to make sure that the last surgery patients did not need any restitching and the like. They were also able to extend some free spaying and neutering after they were done with the appointments.
Overall a successful endeavor. Our five – Cotton, Splash, Umeko, Dancer, and Snoozie – went through the procedures fine. And a lot of expats were also thankful and happy that they were saved a trip to Phnom Penh with their pets.
Before they flew back to the Philippines, I took them on a tour around town including a visit to Angkor Wat and other temples in the complex.
Thank you so much doc Elena and doc Mabel for everything. Best regards from the furry balls and me and Ronald.
Please click on a photo to watch the images in a slideshow.
This next set of photos are courtesy of Josette Vanneur. Thanks Josette 🙂