“Animals have no voice. They can’t ask for help. They can’t ask for freedom. They can’t ask for protection. Humanity must be their voice.” -A.D. Williams
Some of our patients have four legs (or wings). In areas where health care for people is rare or absent, animals definitely suffer. Whenever we are lucky enough to have a veterinarian, the line for the vet sometimes is longer than the line to see the doctor!
After all, our patients keep dogs and cats and the odd jungle animal as pets, and a family may have its entire annual wealth invested in a cow or pig, or they may depend on their horse to make a living. Chronic parasites that weaken a domestic farm animal, or acute accidents that put animals’ health at risk may be catastrophic not just for the animal, but for the family that relies on it to survive.
Additionally, there are quite a few “Zoonoses” (diseases of animals that can infect humans) like worms that can be reduced by treating animals, so even beyond our commitment to advocate not only for those who have no voice, addressing the root causes of human disease and illness includes combating zoonotic diseases.
We also sometimes attend jungle animals that have been tamed in the villages or rescued from poachers for the exotic pet trade. Some of the cases we have seen include rescuing two baby mountain lions, removing wood slivers from a howler monkey, treating a possum attacked by dogs, relocating snakes and stranded sloths, and one of our favorite animal cases: a healthy-looking parrot who was brought to our veterinarian because it was not talking!
Dr. Dan Evers — animal whisperer extraordinaire, and the kind of vet who could probably take an animal completely apart and put it back together-founded our veterinary program in 2015 while living in Panama. Rarely have we encountered such a skilled clinician who can communicate with animals so well; to watch Dr. Dan in action is to witness something mysterious that cannot be explained. Although he is now back in the USA, Dr. Dan provides guidance and mentorship before and during veterinary volunteers’ trips to work with us. This is an extraordinary opportunity for experienced veterinarians or veterinary students alike, with the opportunity for a wide range of interesting presentations and the chance to demonstrate kindness for a truly underserved population. To find out how to come assist our veterinary program, please visit our Veterinary volunteer page.
Occasionally We Rescue Animals from Poachers, Like These Two Baby Jungle Cats
Max, our rescue ‘Kinkajou-in-Residence’
A young Ngabe girl brings her pet sloth to our clinic to see our Veterinarian. Wild animals should stay in the wild, but the future at least of this healthy young sloth is hopeful. This family has a tradition of raising young wild sloths, which begin to spend most of their time hanging around and exploring the forest around the family home, and eventually wander off into the forest to live wild.