Vet's dogged determination to help

FROM the south-west to the sub-continent, Charlie Blackwood spent a fortnight putting his veterinary skills to the test in a remote region of India.

Dr Charlie Blackwood checks Hugo at the Port Fairy Veterinary Clinic following his return from northern India, where he undertook volunteer work with Vets Beyond Borders. 140708DW31 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Dr Charlie Blackwood checks Hugo at the Port Fairy Veterinary Clinic following his return from northern India, where he undertook volunteer work with Vets Beyond Borders. 140708DW31 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

The Port Fairy vet visited the mountainous Ladakh province as part of his involvement with the international charity Vets Without Borders.

Dr Blackwood said he had always wanted to use his skills abroad for charitable purposes and was keen to assist with India’s stray dog problem.

The animal birth control program involved catching dogs, spaying and neutering, administration of an anti-rabies vaccine and returning the animal to the same spot from which it was picked up.

“There’s thousands of street dogs in every Indian city and they can pose a problem through disease,” Dr Blackwood said.

“The work I mainly focused on was desexing and vaccinating the dogs. 

“Rabies is not highly prevalent but it can be a problem in some regions, so this program goes some way to improving problems around that.”

Dr Blackwood first travelled to India 25 years ago as a backpacker but his 2014 visit was in a vastly different part of the country.

“The place I went to is right up in the Himalayas — it has almost a separate culture to the rest of India, although it is part of India,” he said.

“It’s a remote place and some of the facilities and practices are different, like the anesthetic technique we used. 

“But it’s a great eye-opening experience. It’s fascinating to see a vet clinic in another country first-hand.”

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