Work carried out by PAC
PhaNgan Animal Care (PAC) is primarily a nursing clinic, providing nursing and veterinary care for the island’s stray and unwanted animals. We have a dedicated neutering and vaccination programme, which has made an enormous difference to population control on the island, as well as the health of the individual animals.
PAC is staffed by the Head Nurse who is also the CEO, the Practice Manager, and a Clinic Assistant, and provides, among other services:
1. Comprehensive rabies vaccination program. This is closely connected to the registration and recording of the island's animals. Areas are visited to record the animals present, and rabies vaccines are given to all male dogs and neutered females. The young females are noted for future neutering and will receive their rabies vaccine at the time of surgery to allow simultaneous tattooing. Vaccines are also given, on request, to animals brought to the clinic. We give an average of 50 rabies vaccines per month.
2. Treatment for skin diseases. Most of these diseases are caused by ectoparasites - microscopic parasites that live deep within the skin. There are 2 basic types of infection, and the difference is ascertained with the use of a microscope. One requires weekly injections for 3 weeks, and the other, more serious infection, weekly baths for at least 6-12 weeks. Affected dogs found during registration are treated at the time and then revisited for the follow-up treatments. In these cases, it helps us enormously to have volunteers bring the affected animals to the clinic for their follow-up treatments.
3. Care, with hospitalization if necessary, for wounds. Small wounds in this tropical climate rapidly progress to large, suppurating and maggot-infested lesions. These animals are often very ill, and will require daily treatment. They initially require deep sedation for effective cleaning and removal of maggots, followed by daily antibiotics and wound flushing. Hospitalization is the best option for these cases.
4. Basic nursing care for sick animals. The duty nurses assess every animal. If they are seriously ill, they will be referred for veterinary examination. If the condition does not appear serious, they are treated symptomatically initially, and the response to treatment monitored.
5. Emergency first aid for injured animals. Pain relief is given to all injured animals. Bleeding wounds are attended to and covered. Animals with broken limbs are confined and given sedation (if not shocked) to minimize further trauma. Ultimately, the animals are made as comfortable as possible. Where necessary, PAC takes responsibility to transport emergencies to Samui to receive veterinary care from the private veterinarian, Dr Somsak.
6. Nursing and recovery care following surgeries. Animals that have undergone surgery often require follow-up treatment such as wound cleaning and antibiotics. This is often carried out at the clinic for animals without owners.
7. Veterinary care at regular intervals. Veterinary care is provided intermittently by visiting veterinarians. Their primary concern is the continuation of the neutering program. In addition, visiting veterinarians will be asked to assist in emergencies and give opinions for complicated cases. Surgical cases are organised by the nurses, who keep accurate records of the island’s animals and the areas that require help. PAC has a reasonable operating facility, manned by experienced nurses who provide excellent assistance.
8. Disease diagnosis and monitoring. Blood tests are carried out to investigate the presence of diseases such as heart worm and feline leukaemia virus – neither if which has yet been found. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), has been discovered in our older cats, and surveys are being carried out to determine the distribution, prevalence and disease course of this Koh PhaNgan strain.
9. Local advice and education with regard to animal care. Pet ownership is a relatively new concept to the Thai community. We provide advice with regard to optimizing the animals health, and hope to campaign for greater understanding and compassion for animals through the schools.