In San Pedro Animal Foundation News, San Pedro Animal Hospital News // No Comments
On August 3, 2010 we arrive in Sarteneja to set up for our first “clinic”. 
 Sarteneja is a small, remote fishing village, with no access to veterinary care.  The nearest vet clinic is over 1 hour by boat, or 4 hours by car.  (See our previous blog entry from July 1st, ‘Peace Corps and SPAF  Team Up in Sarteneja, Belize’ for more background information on this project.)

On the front door of the house where Manissa (Peace Corps volunteer in Sarteneja) lives, which will serve as the site for the clinic.



 Welcome to Belize, Relly!  San Pedro Animal Hospital’s veterinary student intern from Italy, the University of Pisa.  Relly is here to gain some veterinary experience and has been a great help to us in San Pedro as well as Sarteneja.  In her free time Relly has managed to squeeze in some diving as well – she is also a PADI dive instructor! 

The "O.R."...aka Manissa's kitchen

 We step off the boat at 4:15pm, and spend the early evening getting set up. 

Manissa and her rescued dog "Sam" - our first surgery patient

 We decide to perform our first surgery the same evening, on Sam.  Manissa and Relly are the vet assistants.  Neither have ever assisted in surgery before but both learn quickly! 

Our "Prep Area"...aka The Floor!

  (Note sleepy Sam after being sedated) 

Scrubbing in

Our favorite photo – Mama Kitty supervising my work!

The next morning we got up and performed two more surgeries – both spays.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then prepared for our appointments.  Everyone arrived as promised, and everyone brought money with them.  Residents of Sarteneja have a much lower income than residents of San Pedro.  In order to make the clinic more affordable for them San Pedro Animal Hospital offered services at a 30% discount.  The San Pedro Animal Foundation provided donated medications.  The Peace Corps offered an additional discount, and the pet owners themselves paid for the remainder.  

"Ponga", receiving her pre-op check-up! Ponga was spayed at our second clinic on Sept 1st.



Our second appointment...a little reluctant! Odie was sent home with a donated chew bone.

Grizzley and Negrita

 Our last appointment – two puppies.  One was not eating and one had a small wound and an ear infection.  Both were dewormed and treated with medication for presumptive Ehrlichia, also known as “tick fever”. 

Sam: post-op the next morning, enjoying his donated chew bone!

Our first Sarteneja clnic was a success.  All our patients recovered well from their surgeries, and served as examples to the other pet owners in the village.  Performing spays and neuters safely in Sarteneja is a real challenge, due not only to the conditions we worked in but more importantly, the prevelance of infectious diseases found in canines in Belize.  For this reason, traditional spay and neuter clinics would likely result in high mortality rates.   It is our hope that we will be able to pretreat our patients before surgery, and subsequently ensure their survival.  

Unfortunately, all of this does cost money, and we need your help.  In order for the Peace Corps to continue providing the discounts there must be donated funds available.  Donated money will also be used to pay for my flights to and from Sarteneja.   Our second clinic was September 1st.  We have three more clinics scheduled in the next three months and they are already fully booked with spays and neuters!  We are looking at adding two more clinics during this time if there is enough demand.  (Thank you Aunt Linda for your donation – we will likely be using it to cover four extra flights for me!)   Whether we continue offering the clinics next year will depend on both demand and funding.  

If you would like to help, donate to the San Pedro Animal Foundation by clicking on the blue button in the upper right corner of  this page.  There is a line on the donation form which allows you to specify where you would like your money spent.  Enter ‘Sarteneja’ in this box if you would like your money to contribute specifically to our project here.  For more information, such as how you can donate supplies, write to Manissa at or to me at

Stay tuned to this blog…pictures and info from our second clinic will be posted soon!

Thank you for your support of our work, bringing veterinary care to the places where it is needed most 🙂 


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