Vet: Not enough aware­ness on need to con­trol stray an­i­mals

Vet shares life, work ex­pe­ri­ence in Kuwait

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Athoob Al-Shuaibi

KUWAIT:

In­side one of the small, well-equipped rooms of the In­ter­na­tional Ve­teri­nary Hos­pi­tal (IVH), you will find a vet who talks to dogs and cats as if he is talk­ing to hu­man beings. He lis­tens to their growls, barks and me­ows with full at­ten­tion in or­der to understand why they are up­set and what is caus­ing them dis­com­fort. Some­times, his pa­tients get ag­gres­sive, but he loves what he is do­ing.

Meet Dr Nel­son Gomez, who trav­els ev­ery morn­ing to the mid­dle of the desert in Wafra, where he works at the IVH to save dogs and cats along with an in­te­grated team of spe­cial­ists. He shared with Kuwait Times his life and work ex­pe­ri­ences as a vet in Kuwait.

Good op­por­tu­nity

Gomez hails from Venezuela, and moved to Kuwait in 2014 as a ve­teri­nary doc­tor spe­cial­ized in small an­i­mal surg­eries. “It is a grow­ing hos­pi­tal and I had a good op­por­tu­nity to be­come a part of its team. The job re­quires no less than five years of ex­pe­ri­ence and recog­ni­tion from a pres­ti­gious univer­sity or a mas­ter’s de­gree,” he said.

“In­deed, it is a com­plete ca­reer for me. I have al­ways wanted be in the med­i­cal field. But what seemed to push me was that hu­mans talk too much, and I want do some­thing that does not put me in con­tact with hu­mans. But at the end, we have to work with hu­mans,” Gomez ex­plained.

Dur­ing his ve­teri­nary work in Europe for six to seven years, he no­ticed that there were no stray cats and street dogs there be­cause gov­ern­ments are tak­ing con­trol. There is also a data­base of mi­crochip in­for­ma­tion about all cats and dogs. In ad­di­tion, mi­crochip­ping and vac­ci­na­tion is com­pul­sory for pet own­ers, and who­ever breaks the law gets fined.

On the con­trary, there is not enough aware­ness on the im­por­tance of controlling the num­bers of stray an­i­mals in Kuwait. “Many peo­ple here be­lieve neu­ter­ing is against Is­lamic teach­ings. There are a lot of street cats that peo­ple want to help, but they do not understand that the best help they can give to a street cat is to spay or neuter it, be­cause one fe­male cat can give birth to four to six kit­tens. So, if you do not fix this prob­lem, you are go­ing to al­ways face it,” Dr Gomez said.

Dog lovers

In Kuwait, cat lovers out­num­ber dog lovers, though the num­bers of the lat­ter are on the rise. In­ter­est in pets is grow­ing due to the im­pact of so­cial me­dia, with its videos of cute cats and in­tel­li­gent dogs, and In­sta­gram ac­counts of fa­mous pets. “The prob­lem here is that many in­di­vid­u­als are fi­nan­cially en­abled and have ac­cess to get what­ever they want. Thus, they can get the most ex­pen­sive dog breed. How­ever, they are not used to hav­ing a dog and they don’t want to take care of its needs. They don’t want it to lick or bark, and are not will­ing to teach it. There­fore, they de­pend on house­keep­ers to take care of the dog or cat,” Dr Gomez said.

“This is a big prob­lem be­cause the pet only so­cial­izes with the maid or the driver. When they bring the pet to us, we can­not get enough in­for­ma­tion in or­der to di­ag­nose. We have no op­tion but to guess what hap­pened, and most of the time, they do not know or they do not want us or the owner to know what hap­pened,” he added.

“On the con­trary, I am happy that there are a lot of peo­ple in Kuwait who are keen to learn about their pets and be­come proper an­i­mal lovers. They are on the right path. At the same time, they must learn the dif­fer­ence be­tween bring­ing up a puppy and an an­i­mal res­cued or ob­tained from a friend. They should al­ways think about them­selves and their pets to be as healthy as pos­si­ble, so as not to trans­fer viruses or diseases to them or their fam­ily mem­bers,” Dr Gomez noted.

At­ten­tion

“Pets need a lot of at­ten­tion. Peo­ple should be aware of the fact that even pets have feel­ings of jeal­ousy. When a new child ar­rives, peo­ple ne­glect their pets and this makes them jeal­ous. They need to be treated as mem­bers of the fam­ily and need to be loved,” he stressed.

“My col­leagues and I start work­ing at 10:30 in the morn­ing un­til 8:30 pm non-stop. As I am a sur­geon, if there’s an emer­gency, I stay un­til I fix it. I love surgery. Plea­sure for me is see­ing pa­tients re­cover and their fam­i­lies happy. Out­side work, I train at the gym ev­ery day in the morn­ing be­fore go­ing to work. Also, I dine out with my work­mates ev­ery Fri­day or Satur­day to check out a new restau­rant and dis­cover a new taste. In fact, my fa­vorite food now is Ara­bic food!” he re­marked.

Dr Nel­son ex­am­ines a cat.

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