SLIDESHOW: Playa del Carmen mobile unit, both veterinary and community hub

Images from the work performed for animals by the IFAW mobile unit team and volunteers.

The mobile unit gives our project in Playa del Carmen versatility. In July, the IFAW mobile unit transported some of our most valuable resources, Coco’s Cat Rescue staff and volunteers, to offer a spay and neuter clinic in Cancun.

The team set up in an area known as Corales, where a local animal protection group has established a deep bond with the community, helping them with both animal and social issues. The group asked Coco’s Cat Rescue for help and we were happy to assist!

SEE ALSO: New Mobile Veterinary Unit in Mexico will reach more animals than ever before

In two days the team was able to spay and neuter 162 dogs and 115 cats. A lot of planning and dedication is required as the team is responsible for the animals from the moment they are registered and identified with paper collars to when they are returned to their owners with instructions for post-operative care.

This campaign was very special because except for one person we were all Mexicans! This is not common, especially with so many expatriates living here, and it was only recently that the local veterinary community has become deeply involved in local spay and neuter drives.

Although there is still some resistance, more veterinarians now offer low-cost spay and neuter services in their own clinics. This has resulted in fewer unwanted litters in communities, and has enabled owners to responsibly manage and care for their pets. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do but we are on the right track.

The College of Veterinarians is the State’s representation of veterinarians, and members are committed to helping their community become involved in animal welfare efforts. The dedication of local vets was exemplified by Dr. Sandy, who came into the heat and humidity we have in the Caribbean seven months pregnant to help out.

Volunteers are so important in enabling these events to run smoothly and engage community members. A local group – Animalistas - always involves young kids and teenagers to educate them about animal issues and create awareness that animals are an important piece of the community.

“Chino” here in the picture with me in the slideshow has come year after year assisting in all aspects of the clinic and now aspires to be a veterinarian. In the pictures you will see the day to day activities and how a surgeon can perform a surgery with high quality techniques and materials even outside the typical clinic setting.

These types of events bring owners together to understand much more besides spaying and neutering pets. The events build trust with community members and people who care about animals, as well as strengthening the bond between owners and pets. While pets are in recovery, owners have a chance to observe their pets and perform routine care practices such as clipping nails, cleaning ears, and removing ticks. We take this time to talk to owners about the proper care of pets, such as skin issues, parasites, and vaccines. Sterilization is just one part of the bigger picture of what animals need.


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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters