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60 animals sterilized on this date!

Our third sterilization blitz was held on July 30, 2006, again at the offices of Francia Pinedo (Bienes Raices Volcán).  As with the first two clinics, Dr. Tello would be operating. About a week before the clinic (and much to our surprise and gratitude), Pat Chan told me she was flying two of her Spay/Panama vets from Panamá City who would also participate. Pat also sent many medicines and supplies with them as a donation. Total costs of Spay/Panama contributions (including round-trip airfares) were about $895. 

Dr. Letty and Dr. Raquel arrived in David the evening of July 29th. They were picked up at the airport in David and brought to my house. Francia Pinedo joined us at my house for dinner. Letty and Raquel spent the night with me.

We had already borrowed two stainless steel operating tables from the Boquete group. Dr. Tello brought his own operating table. Manolo (Torneria Volcan) fabricated two lamp bases and four positioners for us at no charge. ("Positioners" are stainless steel V-shaped devices that keep the animal stationery on its back; therefore, there's no need to secure the legs of the animal.) For our next clinic, we will have Manolo fabricate more positioners and our own adjustable-height stainless steel operating  tables.

Early on Sunday morning, July 30th, we all went to Francia Pinedo's office and took the supplies Dr. Letty and Dr. Raquel had brought with them. Dr. Tello from Costa Rica met us there with his operating table and supplies that he provided.

We had animals scheduled for surgery beginning at 8:30 a.m. However, with a different regime - three vets instead of one - and various different setup details, the first surgery didn't begin until 9:30. Dr. Letty and Dr. Raquel had recently been trained in the use of stainless steel surgery, and Dr. Letty (Spay/Panama's lead vet) quickly trained Dr. Tello in the use of stainless steel sutures. After the three vets started to perform, we were right on schedule by noon. (None of us - vets or volunteers - ever stop for a "lunch break." Several of us provide sandwiches for the group and we grab one now and then when we can.)

The day went very well. We did 60 sterilizations and finished the surgeries by about 3:00 p.m.  27 of the animals sterilized were brought from Boquete.  Plus Dr. Tello checked Poly and her brother Hunter (from Boquete). Their group thought Poly needed chemotherapy (see details on our Second blitz.)  Dr.Tello advised to wait another month to determine if Poly will indeed need chemo. He diagnosed that her brother Hunter has incurable cancer and will die within a couple of months.  In the future, we will probably not be able to accommodate animals from Boquete because our sterilization program in Volcán seems to be reaching critical mass.

Dr. Chely from Boquete gave all of the anesthesia injections. We could not have done nearly so well without her. Knowing that she will probably not be available in the future, we will have other people trained in giving the anesthesia before our next clinic. (When we have three doctors operating, it slows them down considerably if they themselves give the anesthesia injections. The optimum is to have three animals anesthetized and ready for surgery at all times.) 

Dr. Letty and Dr. Raquel have committed to return for each clinic in the future. This time, they had to quit in time to pack their things and spend the hour ride to the airport in David for a 5:30 p.m. flight.  In the future, they will stay an additional night with me so they can leave early Monday morning.

We had some wonderful volunteers. Sharon Borgman did the instrument sterilizing, cleaning the tables and positioners after each surgery, etc. Sharon volunteered to do that job each time in the future.  Cindy Reichert did a wonderful job of shaving the animals and doing pre-op prep and post-op cleaning of the animals, along with help from Vicki Lansen and Yimel Cabellero . Vicki Lansen also helped weigh animals. Yina Ortiz gave pre-op and post-op injections and helped with shaving. Manuel (Matute) Cabellero helped carry animals to and from the operating tables and assisted in many other tasks as well. Francia Pinedo was invaluable in helping to translate, plus she and numerous Panamanians who brought animals for sterilization stayed to help during the recovery of other animals. Joseph McPhillips, fairly new in Volcán, also helped with various tasks during the day; he also adopted a cat AND took Dr. Letty and Dr. Raquel to the airport in David for their return flight to Panamá City.

Francia Pinedo is a jewel. Besides translating and letting us use her offices for the clinics, she will help with anything we ask her to do. She even cleans up after we pack our equipment and leave.

Pictures of the third sterilization clinic are below:


Maria completes registration form

Cindy Reichert (foreground) shaves and prepares an animal for surgery. Behind Cindy, Yina Ortiz is giving pre-op shots. Behind Yina (barely visible) is volunteer Yimel Caballero.

A puppy awaiting his turn
for surgery.


Dr. Tello awaits the next customer. Sharon Borgman, our volunteer for sterilization of instruments, in in the background.

Dra. Raquel (foreground)
performs surgery. Dra. Letty is in the background.

Dra. Letty performs surgery.

Dra. Raquel removing uterus
and ovaries.

Post-surgery for this darling puppy "Muñeca."

Norma and her family care for their animals post-surgery.

Petra and her family stayed to help other animals in recovery after their own animals had recovered from surgery.

More recovering kittens.

More care in the recovery area. Joseph McPhillips (right)
 attends a kitty.

Kittens in recovery, attended
 by Vicki Lansen.

Harry Harrison sits with this new dog "Lucy" while she recovers

Manuel (Matute) Cabellero attends a recovering kitten.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this event: Dr. Tello, Dra. Letty, Dra. Raquel, Yina Ortiz, Francia Pinedo, Sharon Borgman, Cindy Reichert, Vicki Lansen, Joseph McPhillips, Yimel Caballero, Matute Caballero, and the Panamanians (for their voluntary assistance in recovery - most are named above).  Thanks also to all the people who brought their animals to be sterilized.

Many thanks to everyone who has participated in the sterilization process for these dogs and cats.  I love you all - and so do these fortunate animals! Together we can make a difference!

Dorothy Atwater - 771-5883 or 6780-2565 or