Tuesday, 23 February 2010

It takes teamwork to tackle an injured calf


I still feel the weight of the sad story I told you last time I wrote so today I've picked one with a very happy ending! Although saying this, it could have ended up going horribly wrong had the team from Animal Tracks and the public not worked together.

Injured calfA message was called in by a tourist about a calf that looked to be having some trouble around the mouth area. At first - judging from the description from the caller who had only seen the calf from a distance - it sounded like an infection possible caused by a septic wound. Shortly after the call another tourist called in a report about the same calf however this was not immediately recognised as her observations were pointing towards something more severe. She told the office that a calf had been spotted bleeding heavily from the mouth and that it looked to have been involved in a road accident. Once the area and the description of the calf had been noted the conclusion was drawn that the two messages related to the same animal.

Immediately a driver, a vet, and two kennel boys were sent out to catch the calf and its mother if possible. It was fairly obvious from the second phone call that the calf could not be treated on site and this was confirmed when they reached the location. The injury was very bad and needed immediate surgery. It quickly became obvious however that the injured calf had other ideas. Despite its injuries it had the team chasing it for 2 hours before one of the kennel boys made a leap which can only be challenged by Superman and wrestled the calf to the ground. It sounds brutal but it was the only way to get the calf in the ambulance and to the centre for treatment. The mother of the calf was not to be seen so there was no choice but to bring it in on its own. Luckily it was old enough not to depend only on her so chances were that it would pull through.

I am pleased to say that it has recovered really well and is almost ready to be released again. There is no doubt though that had our clever people not succeeded in catching it things would have looked bad for this little chap.

Love from Olive x

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A kitten's sad tale

Dear friends,

I am very sorry to tell you that I am the bearer of sad news today... Although every day presents tough challenges and heart breaking decisions for our team of vets at Animal Tracks it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to a furry friend. Especially when a life ends before it has even begun.

Sick kittenA few days ago a local taxi driver came to the centre with a poor abandoned kitten which he had found on the road side. He immediately stopped and picked it up and luckily he knew where to take it. Why the kitten had ended up alone on the side of a busy road is anyone's guess. Perhaps the mother had died, perhaps she had abandoned it. The most devastating scenario is to think that humans may have thrown the kitten out on the road. It is not uncommon that owners of unsterilised pets simply throw away the newborn offspring because they don’t want any more animals and aren’t decent enough to consider the consequences of such an act. These newborn animals are in no position at all to care for themselves and they are left to a merciless fate of mental and physical suffering before they die of hunger or are killed by vehicles or other animals.

The kitten was only around 2 weeks old when the taxi driver brought it in and there was little the vets could do to save it. If it was to stand a fair chance it would have had to be reared in a protective environment with someone feeding it around the clock and even in such circumstances its chances would have been slim. At animal tracks the environments is not suitable to accommodate such young animals as there simply isn’t staff and facilities to cover all their needs so in these cases the vets and staff have to face cruel reality and put them to sleep.

Some may argue that all animals should be given a chance regardless of their circumstances and condition but at Animal Tracks the aim it to prevent suffering. If the vets know that the prognosis is such that keeping the animal alive will prolong its suffering then this is not something they are willing to do. I know what it is like to be sick and scared and I can assure you that this is not a feeling that any living being should be allowed to experience if something can be done to relieve it.

I hope to have some good news for you next time.


Olive x

Monday, 1 February 2010

Benji the injured calf comes to the centre for vet care

Hello hello!

If I didn't know better I'd start to think that this week is cattle week! Cow after bull after buffalo is being brought in with injuries. I hope we don't run out of space in our cattle pen! We are so lucky to have such skilled vets who can go out and tend to these poor animals. Nicky as always is jumping into the main cattle pen to give them grief. He's the only centre dog who does this and you'd think he'd get bored but no!

Benji the calfThis little calf has been named Benji. A report came in that he was bleeding from his hoof and immediately the staff went out to catch him. It is always difficult to catch a calf when the mother is around too. She gets very protective of her young one and can get quite aggressive as well. Four members of staff went out to catch the animals. One of them was a vet in case it turned out that the calf could be treated on site instead of having to endure the trip to the centre. When a young calf has to be brought in for treatment the mother has to come as well and therefore it is better if the treatment can be done on site. This of course is only possible in the case of minor injuries.

In Benji's case there was no doubt: he had to come in for treatment. An object of some kind had cut a deep wound in the flesh above the hoof and he needed stitches and antibiotics to prevent flies from laying their eggs in the open wound. Luckily Benji is a strong little lad and he’s recovering well. His mother is here with him to keep him out of trouble and protect him from Nicky! If all goes well the pair will be released in no time.

Love from me, Olive.