We at ‘Jaagruti’ think that this manual serves as a handy asset for all of us who look after our neighborhood street dogs in India and often find ourselves stuck!
All text below by Mr. Merrit Clifton from ANIMAL PEOPLE:
This Dog Care Field Manual, by Harrell Graham, covers wound treatment; treatment of both internal parasites such as worms and external parasites such as mange; emergency response to poisoning; and avoidance of rabies. Each topic is reviewed in depth and detail, recommending crisis care that almost anyone can give when the nearest veterinarian is many miles and hours away.
Graham, who recently returned to the U.S. after five years in rural Thailand, compiled The Dog Care Field Manual from his own rescue experience, in consultation with sympathetic veterinarians from around the world. Asks Graham, “Have you ever seen a sick or mangy dog and found yourself saying, ‘I wish there was something I could do to help that poor creature?’ Are you an expatriate living in a second or third world country where these sick and wounded animals are everywhere?
“This manual will show you how you can spend some time outside helping man’s best friend and at the same time get to know your community, meet people, and make your life more interesting and meaningful. It doesn’t require a lot: a handful of readily available medicines, plus some dry dog food.
“The satisfaction that comes from watching a mite-infected, sick and possibly hairless dog gain his strength and beauty back over a period of just a few weeks is hard to beat.”
Much of Graham’s advice will help rescuers anywhere. Even where veterinarians are plentiful and accessible during business hours, there is not always a clinic open all night when one finds a dog in distress, and even if such a clinic exists, emergency treatment may be necessary before the dog is moved.
“I read it and found it to be very useful,” C.P. Ramaswamy Institute president Nanditha Krishna e-mailed from Chennai, India, less than 24 hours after ANIMAL PEOPLE posted The Dog Care Field Manual for downloading from our web site. “Since I run a mini shelter with 15 dogs at home, I constantly need help. I have downloaded the manual to my desktop.”
The Dog Care Field Manual is not meant to substitute for veterinary care, even in remote regions of the developing world.
“I am a big believer in working with a local vet,” Graham told ANIMAL PEOPLE. In particular, an experienced local vet “can better diagnose certain cases,” Graham explained, where the dog suffers from a condition known in the community, but not common elsewhere. However, Graham found that the nearest capable veterinary diagnostician was often far distant. In Thailand, Graham recalls, “My vet asked me to bring him pictures––rather than haul all the dogs from the temples 30 miles away––and he could tell me what to do if I didn’t already know. There were only a handful of times I had to do this because, usually, Ivermectin and some worm pills, plus maybe some antibiotics, are all that most dogs need.
“On those occasions where the dog had problems I couldn’t deal with,” Graham added, “I took the dog to the vet.” Examples included “a broken leg with bloody sharp bones protruding; liver disease with great ascites (belly distention); and red cauliflower-like transmissible venereal tumors growing on the genitals, where the dog needed intervenous chemotherapy. I did administer intervenous vincristine at night once, on the side of the road, with a head lamp, and no one to assist me, but a vet can do it much more easily and quickly.”
Graham acknowledges that some of his advice may be controversial. “Regarding my suggestion of ‘throwing’ multiple drugs such as antibiotics, antifungals, and antiparasitics at an animal who has no hair and is sick,” Graham recalls grilling experts by e-mail, reminding them that “stray dogs will not have access to multiple tests in a vet’s office.” Most conceded that “Under those circumstances the ‘shotgun approach’ was okay.”
But Graham prefers to take a more cautious approach. For example, “I prefer to not give antifungals,” Graham says, “until I’ve first dewormed the dog, and have given the dog Ivermectin for mites, and antibiotics.”
Adds Graham, “I’ve treated more dogs with more severe skin infections than most western vets will see in a lifetime of treating ‘yuppy’ dogs. I know the approach I outline in the Dog Care Field Manual works because it has been ‘battle tested.’ That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
Graham is continuing to research possible additions and amendments.