This past weekend in Harrogate, TN the annual RAM expedition took place at Lincoln Memorial University. As the vision, dental and medical portions of the expedition took place at LMU's arena, the veterinary portion took place at the facilities where LMU holds its' veterinary technician certification program.
Having directed the Cosby, TN RAM vet expedition in 2005, I was anxious to take part in another RAM. In 2005, my job was in 'intake' where all the animals were checked in, and I wanted more experience in a different part of the process. I chose 'recovery' and I was not disappointed!
When I arrived at the facility at 5:30am, there were already 45 people already there with their animals! These hardy souls got up much earlier than I and were already checked in and had their numbers at the ready.
I had brought three rescue animals to be spayed and neutered, so I had the opportunity to see what the whole process RAM creates from start to finish.
When my number was called, I brought in the animals and watched as each one was weighed and measured to make sure the correct amount of anesthesia was given to each one. The technicians made name tags that went around each pet's neck for positive identification after the pet recovers from surgery and can go home.
The technicians also recorded each animals vital signs on the intake sheet each owner was required to fill out.
After the pet's anesthesia was given and the animal was given time to go under, the pet was then transferred to the prep area where their bellies were shaved for surgery.
Then, as a veterinarian became available, surgery began. The report was that the vets were averaging 8 minutes per animal for a spay, and 5 minutes for a neuter.
There were a total of seven veterinarians donating their time for free veterinary care to make sure they put a dent in the pet overpopulation. Many of the females I saw were already in estrus, so this made a big difference!
The care each pet received was impressive!
After surgery, technicians were at the ready with post-op meds for pain and infection, as well as vaccinations for distemper and rabies.
While the recovery area was the end of the line, it was never dull there either. It was gratifying to see each animal wake up and regain consciousness. some were frightened little babies, and some large dogs were dis-oriented, but not one animal was lost or misplaced!
I had to include this one!
We even got a visit from reporters from the Daily Mirror in UK, and several TV news teams out of Knoxville, TN.
Here are the folks who get this program going- Stan Brock and Jean Jolly. If they look tired, they ARE tired- it is hard work to keep RAM going to provide the care that is so needed both here and abroad.
I am beginning to see RAM as a very large family that I am very proud to be part of- and it looks like that there will be another expedition at Cosby in 2009, so I am looking forward to being of service once again for this very worthy charity.
Please consider making Remote Area Medical one of your favorites as well- go to http://www.ramusa.org/ and make a donation.