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Mission Accomplished

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Mission Accomplished

The final few days of the Mission Rabies vaccination campaign in Goa flew by and before I knew it, the teams were celebrating the end of the drive.

By midday on Thursday we had reached the original goal of administering 10,000 rabies vaccinations during the month of the October. Since we still had a day and a half remaining, we buckled down and set our sights on 11,000 before celebrating the successful completion of the drive.

Clinician's Brief
Clinician's Brief

My team, Team Leopard, vaccinated a total of 600 dogs and walked over 100 miles during our 2-week block of the campaign. Top honors went to Team Camel, which included Dawn and Lynel. They vaccinated over 1,000 dogs in two weeks! Mission Rabies reported the total number of dogs vaccinated during all four weeks of the Goa drive at 12,238. It was truly a tremendous accomplishment.

Team Leopard celebrating after a week of plenty of walking, netting, and vaccinating.
Team Leopard celebrating after a week of plenty of walking, netting, and vaccinating.

Team Leopard celebrating after a week of plenty of walking, netting, and vaccinating.

With the drive complete, Saturday was eerily quiet. The room where we met each morning to stock our coolers was emptied of the giant boxes of syringes, needles, vaccine cards, stickers, and wristbands. There was no 5-gallon jug to fill our water bottles for the day and the minifridge where hundreds of vials of rabies vaccine were stored was packed away.

Many of the volunteers had early flights on Saturday, but Dawn, Claudia, and I didn't leave Goa until later that evenings. We took the opportunity to visit the Goa Hicks International Training Center operated by Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) on Saturday morning. The center provides veterinary treatment for dogs, cats, and other animals as well as surgical training for local veterinarians.

Our tour of the facility began at the kennels, which house dogs recovering from various wounds, illnesses, and surgery. As we walked the rows, I recognized one of the dogs. My team had caught and vaccinated him on the third day of the drive. After he was netted, we noticed he had a large, infected wound on his neck. Instead of releasing the dog, we called one of the WVS teams to bring him to the center for treatment. I saw that the wound was healing well; When the wound is completed healed, the dog will be returned to the same place we first found him.

Touring the Hicks Center and unexpectedly encountering a dog I had previously vaccinated was an inspiring way to end the trip. It reminded me that, while I and the other volunteers return to our homes around the globe, the work in Goa continues. I feel deeply honored to have been a small part of it.—Alyssa Watson

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Alyssa Watson, DVM, graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. Dr. Watson is currently an associate veterinarian at Northwest Animal Hospital in Las Vegas. In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Watson is a medical editor for Clinician's Brief. Dr. Watson’s professional interests include canine and feline dermatology, reproduction, and soft tissue surgery. When not at the hospital, she is apt to be enjoying the outdoors with her husband and their two young sons.

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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