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Local Vet story from my hometown

May 13th, 2006, 09:30 AM
I dont know if this link will work or not - but I thought this was a great vet

Vernon vet's journey of healing

VERNON VETERINARIAN Terill Udenberg operates on a dog on the Fijian island of Kandava.

By Tim Fitzgerald
Morning Star Staff
May 07 2006

Halfway around the world, in a remote village where there are no roads - or any real modern conveniences for that matter - the work of a group of 10 Canadians can still make a difference.
Dr. Terill Udenberg, a Vernon veterinarian, travelled with a team of three other doctors and six animal health technicians from B.C and Alberta in an effort to spay and neuter the local dog population on the Fijian island of Kandava. The trip was part of the Canadian Animal Assistance Team's attempt to persuade the Fijian government from using strychnine to control the dog population, which are used by the locals for wild pig hunting.
Udenberg said the trip was a success on many levels.
"We set out to spay and neuter 200 dogs and we did 201," said Udenberg, who also travelled to New Orleans with CAAT as part of their rescue efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. "We had a pretty hard-working team."

While the team met its surgery totals, Udenberg said they were also able to meet with the Fijian agricultural minister and persuade the government to stop using strychnine as a means for dog control.

"We were able to meet with the person responsible for poisoning the dogs and he has agreed to stop. Hopefully it's going to be safe."

Udenberg said each dog that was operated on was tagged on its ear to let officials know the dog was no longer a threat to adding to the over population problem that has plagued the island. He said the two-week trip offered some personal insight to a remote portion of the Fijian population.
"For me, I love the Fijian people. They really have nothing at all except for maybe their hut - but they are happy and always have a smile on their face. It really teaches you what's important in life."

For the people of the island, the dog population is vital to their survival. Udenberg said the trip offered some insight to the relationship between the dogs and their owners. He discovered while most dogs do have owners and are given names, they are not treated with the same respect as pets in North America. He said they are often kept at bay because they are covered with fleas and ticks. He said some of the dogs he examined had broken ribs from being kicked.

Udenberg said the CAAT team was able to educate the population on some more humane ways to treat the animals as well as tips on how to control the fleas and ticks.

"Even a bath in the salt water will help," said Udenberg, who added CAAT would like to do a follow-up trip in a couple years.
He said the villagers were overwhelmed to have a group of 10 Canadians come to their corner of the world and lend a helping hand. The surgery conditions were less than ideal, often located outside under the shade of a tree to block out the sun and its 95 degree heat and stifling humidity.
"At times we had trouble coming up with a four-legged table just to perform surgery. It was pretty crude accommodations for surgery. One time we had to move a table because of a bird pooping in the tree."

Udenberg said with the trip behind him, CAAT is now focusing on a similar trip to the Canadian Arctic later this year to help the dog population. He said their organization is always in need of funding and anyone looking to donate or for more information can go to or can e-mail at ***.

May 13th, 2006, 09:32 AM
Actually you can scroll down and find the story once you click on the link :D