Featuring Pedro Soto-Elias, DVM Class of 2020
Day 1: January 2, 2019
We headed off to Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico. Our flights were delayed due to bad weather conditions in Mexico City. We arrived late to the Huatulco airport and had to drive at night through some very windy roads. We stopped to get dinner at a local restaurant before heading to the hotel.
Day 2: January 3, 2019
We had to delay our working plans due to our late arrival at Huatulco airport. We had orientation, which covered drugs, emergency scenarios, set-up, recovery, surgery procedures, and overall expectations for this trip. Once orientation was done, we took time to gather and organize all of our supplies.
Day 3: January 4, 2019
Day three was the first day of real work. We went to Puerto Angel. There, we learned how to set-up our work stations (surgery and prep tables), and where we wanted our supplies to be located during the day. As a team, we did a total of 16 spay/neuters this day. I performed 2 cat spays and 1 dog neuter all by myself, which is completely different than what I am used to. In order to complete the surgeries, I had to adapt and learn to how place the instruments in the correct places that allowed for maximum efficiency.
Day 4: January 5, 2019
We went to Zipolite. Setting up was a lot easier on this day; our biggest issue was trying to find a shaded spot to work, and for the animals to recover. As a team, we did a total of 14 spays and neuters, since a few of our appointments cancelled. I performed 1 dog spay and 1 dog neuter.
Day 5: January 6, 2019
We took Sunday off to relax and prepare for the week. During the afternoon, we met up with all of the other teams that were going to be working with us.
Day 6: January 7, 2019
Day 6 marked the start of a new week—and the week where all the other Mazunte Project teams would be working with us. Our group went to the community Rio Seco; it was our busiest day. Our team did a total of 40 surgeries and we learned how to manage our patient list. I got the opportunity to perform 1 cat neuter and 2 cat spays.
Day 7: January 8, 2019
On day 7, we went to the community of San Antonio. We did a total of 24 surgeries. I got the chance to do 1 dog spay and 1 cryptorchid dog.
Day 8: January 9, 2019
On day 8, we went to the community of Macahuite. Once there, two veterinary medical students from the University of Tonameca joined us; they helped our team until the end of the week. Their main job was to help us with the surgery prep work and assist the veterinarians with surgerie. Our total surgery count for the day was 15. I did 1 dog spay and 1 cat neuter. In fact, I took the chance to teach/refresh the memory of the procedure of cat neutering for the veterinary medical students.
Day 9: January 10, 2019
On day 9, we went to a community called Santa Elena El Tule, Tonameca. We performed a total of 32 surgeries. I did 3 dog neuters and 1 crytporhchid dog neuter. The veterinary medical students got the chance to do a dog neuter; I assisted them and answered any questions they had.
Day 10: January 11, 2019
Day 10 was our last day performing spays and neuters with the whole team. Our group went to Tonameca; this community had a lot of animal owners waiting for us by the time we arrived. We were running low on supplies since it was the final day with the main team. However, we still managed to perform 31 surgeries, but we had to turn down 33 patients due to not having enough supplies for the next week. I did 1 cat neuter, 1 cat spay, and 1 dog spay.
Day 11: January 12, 2019
Since the main surgery week was done, we had most of the morning to ourselves. During the afternoon, we met up with all the teams and went searching for sea turtle nests on the beach. When the sun started to go down, we brought some of the hatchlings that were ready to be released down to the water. However, we had to stop the release because there were too many birds (they were trying to eat them). Once the sun when down and the birds left, we released all the other hatchlings. Then we had dinner at the house of the veterinarian that helped us organize everything. Once the dinner was over, we had a short debrief and thanked everyone for their hard work. During the debriefing, we tallied up all of the surgeries performed by the team; they totaled to 698 surgeries.
Day 12: January 13, 2019
We also had day 12 off. So, we went to the turtle center. There, we learned more about the sea turtle rescue program and how it has impacted the communities and sea turtles in the area. The veterinarian told us about the turtles they rescued and how they were nursing them back to health. During the afternoon, I joined the main veterinarian from Mazunte and our group leader in their exploration of the communities we would be visiting the next 3 days; we needed to find the community leader so we could know what space had been assigned to us.
Day 13: January 14, 2019
On day 13 we went to the community of Samaritan. There, we did a total of 15 animals. I spayed 2 dogs that were pregnant and 1 cat. Since it was a slow day, we got the chance to learn more about what to do if you drop a pedicle and about scrotal oblations. We also were able to witness one of the doctor’s remove the ovaries in a dog that had an ovary sparing hysterectomy.
Day 14: January 15, 2019
On day 14 we went to the community of Chacahua. We only had 7 surgeries. I did 2 dog spays. Once we were done with the surgeries, we went to another town to see if they were interested in us having a spay/neuter clinic. One of the other teams had already been there.
Day 15: January 16, 2019
We went to El Venado on day 15; we performed a a total of 13 surgeries. I did 1 cat neuter, 1 dog spay, and 1 cat spay. Since we did not find a community to work in, this was our final day.
Since we didn’t find another community, we ended up having free time until it was time to head back to Michigan. Collaboration
As a team, we performed a total of 207 surgeries throughout our stay in Mazunte. If we include all the other teams that were present during the main week, we completed 745 surgeries.