Vietnam: Local Vets Can Be Pivotal In Ending Vietnam’s Dog Meat Trade
Local vets can be pivotal in ending Vietnam’s dog and cat meat trade only if pet owners feel confident their pet will be treated with care and returned safely back to them. Vietnam’s veterinary medicine program needs to include comprehensive training on humane practices for domestic pets. Many local pet vets do not use anesthetic during open surgery and offer no pain relief.
Many local vets do not believe in euthanizing an animal, no matter how great it’s pain or on-going suffering with no chance of survival. Pet owners need to feel confident in their local vet, to trust them in sterilizing their pet. Many pet owners avoid vet clinics because most local pet owners know someone whose pet suffered or died because of a vet. Header photo above: note the young dog in Vietnam at a local vet has all it’s four legs tied to a steel grid.
Vietnam has an excessive number of non-sterilized dogs and cats which fuels the local dog and cat meat trades, with litters of thousands of unwanted animals.
At a number of local vet clinics, female dogs being brought in to be spayed are flipped onto their back, and their four legs splayed and tied onto a steel grid table, belly up. Without anesthetic the vet will start sawing into the belly flesh on the screaming writhing dog. The dog will probably either die of shock on the table, or infection afterward. The owner will still be billed for payment. When the pet owner eventually gets another pet dog, they will not even consider having the new dog sterilized (desexed.)
Video: Jan 1, 2016: after escaping from a dog butcher with her mouth bound tightly shut, this dog was rescued by SAR, who named her Newyear. This is her first time at the vets, having the plastic electrical tape peeled off her rotted snout. She received no pain killers. The screams in the background are the rescue team members, mainly my friend Cu, who was horrified at what she was seeing. Notice that Newyear is fully conscious and tied to the table.
Basic lack of hygiene is rampant in many local vet clinics. Surgical instruments are often not properly sterilized and cross-contamination is rampant! Although this appears irresponsible and negligent, many of the vets mean well but are simply ‘not properly trained and cannot identify even the most basic ailments, and treat them effectively.’ Pets end up with botched bodies, wrong medicines, drug overdoses and many die.
Lack of training is not the vets fault. Most vets enter the study of vet medicine for the right reasons. However, many local vets in Vietnam have never worked on a live animal prior to graduating and many have only been taught to work on livestock. They graduate with little to no knowledge of medicine for domestic dogs and cats.
For example, a local vet diagnosed a family pet dog with rabies and sent it home to die. Rabies is highly contagious and by the time it tests positive, it’s fatal to humans and animals. After a few days, the same dog was taken to an international vet where it was diagnosed with an infection. The dog made a fast recovery after the correct diagnosis was made and correct medicine administered.
If this dog did have rabies, sending it home to die would probably have resulted in the death of the entire family. Rabies is an air borne virus which is highly infectious and easily transmittable between animals and people. There is no cure after rabies has tested positive, and a long painful death will result.
Video: Newyear having her facial wound dressed by the local vet. No pain relief is being used and the whimpering is Newyear, as she winces in pain during the procedure.
Newyear’s Death Caused By Vet Clinic Cross Contamination
The dog Newyear survived the first month of her shocking facial injury and was making progress. I was in daily communication with one of her original rescuers, a wonderful lady named Cu, who was Newyear’s nurse. Cu spent every spare moment she had nurturing Newyear, and nursing her back to wellness.
Another dog at the SAR shelter had to visit the local vet for a small procedure. The dog had been in the shelter for some time and was in relatively good health. A few days after returning to the shelter, the dog appeared unwell. It had contracted distemper at the vets [known as Carre’s Disease in Vietnam.] To see the shocking effects of distemper: click here.
With no quarantine in effect, and a complete lack of hygiene, it was revealed that the local vet had a dog with full blown distemper in the holding area among other dogs!
Returning to the shelter, most of the shelter dogs had been vaccinated – except Newyear.
She was so frail she had to gain strength before she could be vaccinated.
Cu and I seemed to hold our breath for days, willing Newyear to hold strong and survive.
I will never forget the moment Cu told me through a river of tears, that Newyear had the first sign of distemper. We wept.
On day five Cu contacted me, and she was distraught.
Newyear had the first stages of distemper.
We sat and wept.
On day nine, Newyear’s distemper symptoms were full blown, including the breakdown of her central nervous and neurological systems. Common neurological signs of distemper are convulsive movements of the head and legs and screaming vocalization.
The vet who caused Newyear to have distemper – by his lack of hygiene – refused to euthanize her! I don’t remember being so angry at a vet.
She was now in agony and her eyes were rolling in her head, she was crying out and seizing throughout her body. It was beyond devastating. It took Newyear around 15 days of acute suffering to die from distemper.
Newyear died in Cu’s arms.
Cu was so distraught she almost had a breakdown.
When I announced Newyear’s death on Fight Dog Meat, supporters around the world wept uncontrollably.
Mrs Hen, the older lady who is the backbone of SAR, lovingly prepared Newyear for cremation.
SAR rescue team formed a guard of honor and drove Newyear’s cleansed body to the crematorium, where they watched with broken hearts, as she was cremated. They then drove to the Mekong River and scattered Newyear’s ashes into the water, giving her back to Vietnam.
It was the saddest day Fight Dog Meat has had.
To read more on Newyear’s story: click here.
With permission from Mrs Hen and Cu, Newyear remains my poster girl for Vietnam. Every time you see Newyear’s image, please be reminded of the innocence of Vietnam’s animals, and the desperate need they have for help.
Vietnam’s animals are innocent.
They weren’t part of the war.
They have no religion or politics.
Video: Newyear, as she was healing, right before she contracted distemper from a local vet clinic.
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