Veterinarian Dr. Colleen Phillips anticipated that animals would suffer a range of conditions in the wake of the eruptions of the Soufriere Volcano.
And she made plans early to mobilise medical clinics for such animals once it was considered sufficiently safe to go into communities in the red zone.
“I knew the effects of the ash was not going to happen right away, but eventually it would be,” she told SEARCHLIGHT this week.
Phillips, who owns and operates Pets N Medix, a veterinary clinic and retail pet store, and her team comprising about 10 persons, have been seeing “horrible ash burns”, animals with “their skins all dried out, and some with borderline pneumonia”, taken to receive care.
She explained that the animals are given a bath, and ash is removed from the ears, penis, and any other orifice. They are also treated for ash burns, conjunctivitis, ticks and internal parasites, as well as dermatitis.
Clinics have already been held in leeward communities including at Petit Bordel and Spring Village where a total of 394 animals, mainly dogs, were treated; and last week Sunday, in red zone communities above the dry river, 43 animals received treatment.
On Sunday, June 20, Phillips and her team would be at Georgetown providing free medical care to animals and she anticipates owners will turn out with their affected animals.
In order to ensure follow up care, Phillips said, particularly in the windward communities where many owners were not present and they had to “track down and catch” animals to administer treatment, they have left messages with people who know the owners of the animals, asking that they reach out to her team.
Phillips has sought and obtained support from veterinary colleagues in the region; the Animal shelter working group, and the Jamaica Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; as well as operators of ‘I love my Island Dog’ Animal Group and Budget Marine of St Martin.