Animal Health Training in Laos

By Thomas and Anne Drew

GoatA goat recovering from injury after being stuck in a vine.

Anne and I made an early start for the first day of Anne’s Animal Health Survey. We started in Mai village, the most remote of all our project villages at 70km.away and very near the Vietnamese border.  That day, as often after, the survey took longer than expected because we were asked to treat sick animals as well. The very first house had a goat that got its leg trapped in a vine and was missing for almost a week until the owner found it. The goat had broken the bone and sloughed off a lot of skin, and the leg was healing in a deformed shape. Anne treated it with antibiotics and pain meds, as it was nursing a young kid that still needed the milk;  but she advised the owner that he should sell it for meat in a few months as it would be difficult for it to do well through another pregnancy. We went back to check it about 10 days later, and the leg was dry and the swelling reduced.

Goat HouseA goat house built in a vegetable garden.

At another household I gave Mr. Phok, the village veterinary worker, a hoof trimming lesson, and gave him his own Swiss Army knife. I pick these up second hand from those confiscated at Halifax Airport Security check. They make great gifts, and can help the VVWs to perform a needed service.

anne4Dr. Anne Drew and Mr. Phok examining a goat.

One of my jobs has been to take lots of photos of the team at work. After a great village lunch of purple sticky rice and jaew  (spicy chili dipping sauce), BBQ fish, eggplant and pureed greens we visited 4 more goat farmers in Salan Tai village and at the last one saw a great example of a creative use of resources. His goat house is built in his vegetable garden and he has planted things the goats wont eat on their way in and out: onions, cucumbers, pumpkins and herbs. The manure drops down and feeds the garden, everything was lush even though it is the dry season. It was beautiful!