Sunday, 17 October 2021
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Truro vet volunteering at spay/neuter clinic in Ecuador

Dr. Gwen Mowbray-Cashen performed surgery on several animals when she was part of a World Vets spay-neuter clinic last year. The clinic was held on the veranda of a home, and headlamps served as surgery lights. Mowbray-Cashen is going to help at a clinic in Ecuador this month. – Contributed

Dr. Gwen Mowbray-Cashen has already performed surgery on a veranda in Nicaragua, now she’s heading into the mountains of Ecuador.

The Truro veterinarian is spending some of her free time volunteering with World Vets spay/neuter clinics.

“When I went to Nicaragua it was an amazing experience, and now I’m hooked,” she said.

“We’re going to be working in Otavalo, a small community in the mountains, where they don’t have ready access to veterinary care.”

The dog population was growing – along with the number of rabies cases – and community members were poisoning some of the animals. World Vets offered to come in to run a short-term, high-volume spay/neuter clinic.

“We’ll deal with other health issues as we can,” said Mowbray-Cashen. “A lot of the dogs we saw in Nicaragua were in really rough shape. They were skinny, and almost all had fleas, ticks and internal parasites. I worried about some of them, but we didn’t lose any.”

While in Nicaragua, the World Vets team spayed/neutered 148 dogs and two cats, and it is hoped the numbers in Ecuador will be similar.

A team of six vets, along with veterinary technicians and assistants, will volunteer in Otavalo for a week.
World Vets’ mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of animals by providing veterinary aid and training in developing countries and by providing disaster relief around the world. More information can be found online at

 A new leash on life

Dr. Gwen Mowbray-Cashen is hoping to collect as many leashes as she can to take with her to Ecuador for a spay/neuter clinic.

“People bring dogs to the clinics using electrical wire, chains – sometimes so heavy they can barely walk – and ropes to hold them,” said Mowbray-Cashen. “If the dogs go home with a new leash or collar there’s pride; the dog is elevated in position, so I’m collecting new and gently used leashes, collars and harnesses for these dogs. I plan to pack a suitcase with 50 pounds of leashes and collars.”

Most of the dogs in Ecuador weigh 40 pounds or less, so small- and medium-sized collars and harnesses are most in need.

Mowbray-Cashen leaves on Monday, Aug. 6, so any donations should be dropped off by Saturday at Truro Vets, Global Pets or Pet Valu.


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