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Some animal rescues are just destined to happen we guess and in the process, such instances also end up teaching a lot about the various reasons due to which pets in old age are more likely to be abandoned by their owners, the extent of irresponsible and casual pet ownership that exists in our country and also the psychology of a pet owner. Couple all of this with the paucity of good and accessible veterinary services available in a city as big as Delhi for the average lower middle class pet owner and we are faced with case like that of Buzo.
Scroll down to read the story of Buzo- an 11 year old Alsatian whose chest tumour surgery was successfully aided by Jaagruti on the 12th August 2010.
[This slideshow shows the process of treating Buzo- from removing his maggot infested tumour to the warts in his ear, treating the fingal infection on his chest to Buzo donning a t-shirt and coming for his change of wound dressing sessions)
In the first week of August, I was nominated to give a workshop at the Police Training Academy in Delhi and address over five hundred on duty sub-inspectors in the city on issues pertaining to animal welfare, cruelty and their legal powers to act against the same.
Towards the end of the workshop as we shared the various helpline numbers in the city with them including sharing the kind of experiences we at ‘Jaagruti’ have had, especially relating to attending a call from Karol Bagh of a street dog in there roaming around with a ‘3 kg bag’ of tumour on his left Front/fore leg…we saw one anxious sub-inspector B.P Singh raising his arm and wanting to seek our help on getting his pet dog- an 11 year old Alsatian named ‘Buzo’ cured of his tumour.
Describing the tumour, Mr. Singh said, “The tumour is sticking out from Buzo’s chest-right behind his left front leg. It has been there for the past year now and was tiny to begin with but has now grown big in the past few months”.
What is noticeable over here is the fact that in all these months that Buzo’s tumour grew big in size, Mr. Singh and his family could not find veterinary doctors/shelters willing to operate on their 11-year old pet dog, while Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre said that ‘Buzo is too old to operate, the compounder (of the government veterinary hospital near their residence) who did home visits to check Buzo was in any case not skilled enough for this ‘complicated ‘ surgery for a dog of his age.
Keeping in line with Jaagruti’s approach on helping animals in distress, we suggested Mr. Singh to take Buzo to the veterinary surgeon we trusted for the job.
Incidentally, this doc’s clinic was also near to Mr. Singh’s residence. On the 6th August, 2010, Buzo was brought for examination and the doctor examined his tumour and then took his blood sample to get a diagnostic profiling done, which was done at a cost of Rs.1200/-.
[Please note that such a test was mandatory and important for the purpose of checking the condition of Buzo’s liver and kidney- which would help the doc reach a conclusion on whether Buzo was fit enough to take anaesthesia for the tumour removal operation.]
The test results came out fine but then came the shocker from Buzo’s family. As the date of the operation was being fixed Buzo’s owner B.P Singh said to us that “the treatment was ‘expensive’ and in any case Buzo is 11 years old and since dogs just live for about 12 years, there was no point spending so much on his treatment, especially when there is no guarantee either that the tumour wont resurface again”.
As if there is anything in life that comes with a guarantee, we wondered! However without getting into an argument on responsible pet ownership, we asked Mr. Singh very clearly about the amount that he would be interested in spending on his pet dog’s treatment. He said the he would be happy if the whole treatment expense (including tests, surgery, medicines and post-operative care) on Buzo was halved from what was being calculated currently i.e. he wanted it all to be done between Rs.3000-Rs.4000/-
But sensing a possible case of a pet being abandoned, we at ‘Jaagruti’ asked B.P Singh to bring their dog to the vet for surgery on the date given by the doctor while not worrying about the surgery costs of Rs.3000/-which we willingly aided from our end.
So, 12th August, 2010, at 2pm in the afternoon, Buzo was brought to the clinic. Buzo was sedated to help the paravets shave of his tumour infected area and soon after that he was anaesthetised and the surgery began.
[Buzo’s tumour was an extension of a rudimentary teat on the chest]
As we stood outside the Operation Theatre while Buzo’s tumour removal surgery was taking place, we happened to chat with Neeraj, Mr. Singh’s eldest son who shared with us Buzo’s story as well as their worries since the day his tumour started to grow in size, “ Our mother is very fond of dogs. We kept one earlier to keeping Buzo as well but he ran away one day and my mother was upset ever since then she went to her home town of Bulandshahar and Buzo had just taken birth at a relative’s place then…she got him home to our Uttam Nagar residence in Delhi. His eyes had not even opened yet and he has been my mother’s little pampered boy ever since that day.”
When we asked Neeraj how was Buzo dealing with his tumour, he said though Buzo had learnt to lick it and live with it, their neighbours objected to him being walked in front of their houses without the leash as he stinked and many a times told his family to leave Buzo in the jungle or in the streets. In short the neighbours wisely advised the family to abandon Buzo-and till now it was only Neeraj’s mother perhaps who refused to part with Buzo.
Another thing that came to light was that Neeraj told us that Buzo had some problem in his ears as there were ‘white insects’ that used to come out of the ear, which to our shock and surprise the family killed by putting ‘Phenyl’- a floor disinfectant into his ears.
One a half hour later- Buzo’s surgery ended and the paravets called us inside the OT.
The surgery was done successfully
A tumour weighing 800 gms was removed off Buzo’s chest literally!
What was worse was that the tumour had just got infested with maggots in the past few days itself, as they were not there when Buzo was brought to the vet for his blood sampling on the 6th August, 2010.
We stared at the tumour which was perhaps malignant in nature as we could feel the knots on Buzo’s body at many a places but for now, getting rid of this visible tumour was what we all could best help Buzo with.
Then, without any further delay, we at Jaagruti requested the vet to check Buzo’s ears.
Buzo’s right ear had a bunch of warts in his ear which were removed using a soldering iron and the wound was cauterized.
Both his ears had dead maggots which were cleansed out.
Antibiotics were prescribed to help Buzo’s stitches and wound (post tumour removal) to heal quickly.
Buzo’s fungal infection on the chest was cleansed and B.P Singh’s son Neeraj was instructed to do the following:
– Make Buzo wear a t-shirt properly knotted on the top to help the bandage stay put.
– Give him medicines on time (The medicines prescribed were Ceftum and Bidanzine Forte)
– Do not let him out on the leash alone.
– Do not let him roam around alone on the roof either where he could get exposed to water or monsoon showers as moisture could rotten it all.
– And bring Buzo to the vet for examination every alternate day till the stitches healed.
In 5 dressings and 10 days, Buzo was free of most of his visible ailments. The fungal infection on his chest was cured by topical application of Oxy Tetracycline spray and his stitches (of the tumour excision surgery) had healed smoothly as well.
Getting Buzo treated taught us about many a things- about morals and psychology of a pet owner to medical aspects of treating a tumour ridden old dog- all of which we deemed fit to share with you through this story.
Amidst all of this, we at Jaagruti are satisfied that this effort of ours prevented an old pet dog to be abandoned on the streets by his family and we thank the vet and his team for doing a stupendous job with getting Buzo back to good health.
[All photos (C) ‘Jaagruti’]