How to be Doctor Dolittle with extremely limited resources
November 6, 2012 1:24 PM   Subscribe

What are the options DIY veterinary care in rural, overseas location? A relative of mine has moved to a remote island in the Philippines. There is absolutely no veterinary care available. He's trying to prevent dog overpopulation. Any DIY options for him?

My relative has recently moved from the US and has always lived with dogs. He has some dogs on the island (strays that have adopted him) and is now increasingly concerned about controlling the dog population for humane reasons. He takes care of as many as he can, but with no veterinary care available at all, he's wondering if there are any options for chemical castration, especially of female dogs. If you're a vet or a vet tech or other animal health care person, could you advise? He'd like to target females because other residents with dogs keep their male dogs intact because they're seen to be more effective for guarding, etc. There's a significant population of dogs with no owners who are socialized, and not dangerous, but who are having lots of puppies. Increasingly, my relative is becoming their caretaker. He'd like to see if he can implement an effective way to control the population. Again, there are no vets and no possibility of bringing in a vet for occasional services. This is a DIY situation and I only have the ability to send him supplies and self-training materials from the US.
posted by quince to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dog overpopulation is a crappy thing, but holy hell is it not OK to go around chemically sterilizing people's dogs without any training or even indeed permission, which is what it sounds like is being contemplated here.

If your friend wants to do something about the overpopulation problem perhaps he should try to organize a group that could work to raise awareness of the problem and its solutions, and could work to bring veterinarians to his area to perform neutering and spaying operations, perhaps in conjunction with a trap-spay-release program. It would be hard but it might do a lot of good and could even be a seed for something bigger down the line.

Vigilantism is so not the solution here.
posted by Scientist at 1:55 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't feel like there is going to be a lot of good news here. If there were safe and easy chemical castration for female dogs - it would be a heck of a lot more popular. Fixing a female dog is expensive and requires anesthesia (which carries its own risks).
I would direct your questions to the ASPCA.

Just in case he decides to target male dogs- I would also warn against "rubber banding."

I feel for the guy and the poor dogs, but it might be one of those things where he can't do a heck of a lot.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2012

Unfortunately there is not. But there are non-profit veterinary organizations who do this kind of work, he should contact them.
posted by fshgrl at 2:04 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Scientist, please re-read the OP. "There's a significant population of dogs with no owners who are socialized, and not dangerous, but who are having lots of puppies. Increasingly, my relative is becoming their caretaker."

How about contacting a global animal charity to see if they have any options? Or even contact the ASPCA to see if they know of any Asian equivalents that might help out?
posted by Joh at 2:19 PM on November 6, 2012

Ah indeed, I spaced the "no" in "dogs with no owners". My bad!
posted by Scientist at 2:21 PM on November 6, 2012

Veterinary medical schools often have summer programs where supervised students and veterinarians visit areas either in their own country or other countries to provide veterinary care for underserved areas.

The Philippines has several veterinary medical schools of its own, as do neighboring countries. I know students from the US and Canada will travel overseas as well and do coordinated work or visit other universities. Australian, Thai, and New Zealand schools of veterinary medicine also have exchange and service programs.

Here is the oldest Philippines-based school of veterinary medicine. It specifically lists one of its missions as service to areas with little access to veterinary care.

Institutes of public health may also have ways to fund veterinary care/services, as large numbers of roaming dogs without veterinary care (and rabies vaccinations) are public health concerns.

My point is that your relative had to get to the area he resides in somehow. So humans can get there with supplies. There are a significant number of false premises here, and the Philippines has laws about practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Your relative's ideas? Would constitute practicing medicine illegally.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 3:35 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I agree with contacting the veterinary schools in the Philippines, and also want to suggest contacting Soi Dog Foundation. They are based in Thailand, but may have contacts that could help, or may be willing to send folks over.

I am a vet student and was a vet tech: no good way for him to do it himself.
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:54 PM on November 6, 2012

Thanks, all. This matches what my own research yielded. I'll encourage contact with various vet schools and foundations and hope that occasional visits by a vet can be arranged.
posted by quince at 11:10 AM on November 7, 2012

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