Dr. Amy Lowe and veterinary technician Nancy Atchison of Bytown Cat Hospital participated in a spay/neuter clinic in Mexico City this February as part of World Spay Day 2015, an annual campaign promoting spaying and neutering of animals around the world as a means of saving lives and reducing pet overpopulation. The clinic took place at the Centro de Medicina para Gatos (Cemegatos), a feline-only clinic established by Dr. Tamara Iturbe. Over four days, 171 cats were spayed and neutered.
Dr. Iturbe spent two weeks at Bytown and Merivale Cat Hospitals in January 2014 to gain exposure to feline medicine in North America, after having met Dr. Susan Little at the World Feline Veterinary Congress in Barcelona in 2013. Feline medicine is a relatively new specialty in Mexico, and Cemegatos is the first veterinary clinic in the country providing services specifically for cats.
Two fund raising campaigns were held at Bytown Cat Hospital, and we were overwhelmed by the support and generosity from our clients. A grand total of about $1500 was raised, which went directly towards supplies and medications for the clinic. The Nail-Trim-a-Thon took place February 8th, and we also held a raffle on a cat tree which was donated by Black Diamond Cat Trees.
We were very fortunate to have over 30 volunteers come to lend a hand over the four days, helping with intake and registration of cats, physical exams and preparation for surgery, monitoring during recovery from anesthesia, and discharge of cats at the end of the day. There were veterinarians and veterinary students from Mexico City, Venezuela, and Colombia, as well as volunteers from the animal welfare organization Koncientizando.
Since very few of the volunteers spoke English (and Nancy and Dr. Lowe speak “un poquito de Espanol!”), Dr. Iturbe was kept very busy maintaining communication and operations in each area of the clinic. The majority of the surgeries were performed by veterinarians Amy Lowe, Sandra Mtz Galvan, and Luz Ochoa. The clinic was a great learning experience for all involved.
Dr. Iturbe and her associates Drs. Victor Hugo and Oscar Arellano were excellent hosts, making sure that we were able to experience a bit of Mexican culture during our trip. We started our mornings with an assortment of tamales and local Mexican coffee, and were able to sample just about every type of Mexican food available – from huaraches, to enchiladas, to pozoles and esquites! We ended our week with a visit to Plaza Garibaldi, which is known as Mexico City’s home of mariachi music.
We will be returning next year, with the goal of sterilizing even more cats. Stay tuned for fundraising events through the year!
[Dr. Amy Lowe]
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