Day 5: We visited the market in the morning & I got fresh mango and bananas. I couldn’t believe bananas were 10 for $0.50!
Afterwards we visited BAHA (Belize Agricultural Health Authority). We learned the process of how blood and fecal samples are tested in the lab. We were able to examine parasites in fecal samples and identify the specific type. We were also able to test the different components in a blood sample. I learned how to do a blood smear.
Day 6: We woke up SUPER early this morning and visited a dairy farm. Surprisingly, I was wide awake. The farmer gave us a tour of the farm. I learned that one cow produces an average of 40lbs of milk per day. The farmer said in total, all of the cows produce around 900lbs of milk per day. We were in a Mennonite community. It was fascinating to learn that a Mennonite would buy another Mennonite’s milk for more money than a regular Belizean’s milk.
After visiting the dairy farm, we went to a beef cattle farm. We vaccinated over 80 cows with rabies, dewormer, vitamins & blackleg. I learned how to give injections intramuscularly. I was surprised to see the different behaviors & moods between the beef cattle & the dairy cattle. The dairy cattle were so much nicer compared to the beef cattle. Afterwards we went to a river nearby and went swimming.
Day 7: Today we visited a pig farm where we were able to practice castrating pigs. We were able to watch two larger pigs get castrated. They were super difficult to handle because of their size.
Afterwards, I was able to castrate a piglet. No sutures were needed for the piglets. We then injected every pig with vitamins & dewormer. I loved working with the little piglets. They were so small and harmless, so it was really easy restraining them, giving them shots and castrating.
We went cave canoeing after the pig farm and it was AMAZING. The jungle was beautiful and the cave was very serene and peaceful. We went swimming afterwards.
Day 8: We had our free spay & neuter clinic today in San Antonio, which was 20 mins away from where we are staying. There were four different stations: reception (checking-in clients), check-ups (checking the vitals & giving vaccines), surgery (assisting in spays & neuters) & post-recovery (checking vitals & making sure the animals are good after surgery). I started in surgery where I helped spay a cat. In Belize, they do flank spays compared to in the U.S. doing a midline spays. A flank spay is done on the side of the animal’s body. This helps owners easily monitor their pets stitches after surgery.
In check-ups, I practiced taking a dog’s heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time (to test for dehydration) & temperature. I practiced giving oral & subcutaneous injections. Overall, we gave 112 dogs/cats check-ups & did 32 spays/neuters. It was a long day.