We have a lot of readers that come both from developed and developing countries and we are grateful for each and every one of them. Through our articles and posts, we tend to provide educational material that can elevate the field of veterinary medicine even higher for the sole purpose of enhancing the well being of animals and humans.
Many times we come across misunderstandings, especially when it comes to the type of procedures being performed by veterinary professionals working and giving their best in economically and socially challenging areas. That’s why we decided to write an honest review, so to say, about the challenges veterinarians, vet techs and owners face in third world countries.
Economical impact on animal husbandry
The most obvious reason why the field of veterinary medicine is undeveloped and third world countries are the financial difficulties inside every pore of the society. Poverty creates an undesired enchanted circle that gives a negative impact on the animal’s health and well being, the professionalism of the veterinary interventions, the production of farm animals etc. Let’s explain this in a more delicate way.
We will first mention situations regarding livestock because they are somewhat priority and a way to reduce the level of poverty for the common people. A family of four own two dairy cows and sell the milk to a local dairy factory. The cows are kept in an improvised small farm without proper ventilation or drainage system. Such conditions influence their reproduction capabilities and milk production, and poor and unbalanced diet also play a key role for the health status.
Your first thought may be that the family is really irresponsible and have no clue what animal husbandry is all about. But these people give their best working day and night to pay the bills, provide minimum conditions for the children, and buy some food. They need the cows, but unfortunately, don’t have the finances to invest in their wellness.
They call their local vet to do artificial insemination but due to reproductive dysfunctions the cows aren’t able to get pregnant, yet the vet bills need to be covered. So they are stuck in a situation where there isn’t any benefit from the cows, but they also need to try artificial insemination couple more times. Restricted funds don’t let them pay the veterinary expenses on time.
The veterinarian is aware of the situation and agrees to get paid later on. The sad thing is that this family isn’t the only client that owes the vet money and there are a lot more people in a similar situation. During this time the veterinarian spends a lot of money for basic expendable materials and medications needed for the private practice. Because he doesn’t get paid on time by farmers, he also ends up owing the distributors. With barely managing to keep his business alive, there isn’t a possible chance of purchasing better equipment and lifting the expertise level of the veterinary practice.
This doesn’t mean that the animal owners don’t want to provide better conditions for their animals. This doesn’t mean that the veterinarian isn’t smart enough or educated enough to step up the game and raise the standards of the veterinary medicine in his country. It means that the dysfunctional flow of finances doesn’t let them invest.
Small animal practices in third world countries
Small animal practices in developing in third world countries are galaxies away from what you might imagine. Most of the times there isn’t even a typical clinic and vets deal with sick dogs and cats on the field. The general occupation of small animal vets in these countries is preventing, investigating and treating infectious diseases, and maybe elementary surgical procedures. The absence of proper diagnostic tools and equipment makes their job a living hell.
Again, due to financial reasons, they aren’t able to buy the things for even the most basic laboratory tests and most of the times a stethoscope, a thermometer and their knowledge are their only weapons. We are all aware that it’s almost impossible to give a definitive diagnose without a load of diagnostic procedures. That’s why these vets use their experience and sometimes intuition to help the animal. At this point, it’s all down to symptomatic treatment of the disease.
Even when a certain veterinary practice offers the owner diagnostic testing, it’s questionable whether he or she can cover the expenses both for the tests and the consecutive treatment. Well, why did the owner get a dog in the first place? If you can’t afford a vet, you can’t afford a pet, correct?… We are afraid that’s not the case in third world countries. In the urban areas, there is a constant increase in the number of stray animals that live their lives in terrible conditions. When they do get adopted it’s really a grateful gesture from the owners that are brave enough to spare some extra money for the animal’s needs. Even if they can only afford some cheap doggy food and annual vaccines it’s far better than what the dog or cat use to have.
In this part, we also must mention the occurrence of Rabies in stray animals and people, especially in urban areas in Africa. Many veterinarians are occupied with stray animal vaccinations. These actions are very dangerous, so we have to give our colleagues a big credit for their courageous attitude and enthusiasm.
We hope that someday the world will be a more peaceful and equal place for everyone. Until then we must give each other support, share advice and knowledge, share compassion, never judge other people’s professional approach and work on becoming the best versions of ourselves.