I admit it, we are slacking on learning about human healthcare, but finding a good veterinarian for Hayley is a must. As a 16-year-old dog, geriatric care is important. I keep her in good health with a 2 mile walk in the mornings and almost a mile in the evenings, but things do pop up on older dogs.
Finding a veterinarian you like in any country is no easy task. And I am probably more particular than most because of my background in animal training and husbandry. I want someone who takes their time to develop trust with Hayley, and not think of her as $$$.
Hayley has cysts that need to be drained periodically, a grass allergy that affects her paws and recently developed a hemangiosarcoma on her tummy that grew rather quickly. She also needed a blood test because her last vet check-up in the States showed elevated liver enzymes.
Our First Visit to the Veterinarian
One day, we were checking out a shopping plaza and I noticed a veterinarian office in the corner. It was small, with a grooming area in the front, food and other products in the middle, and the vet examination room in the back. A woman vet giving a check up to a puppy with its human dad and brother in the room. I watched for awhile and liked how she worked with the puppy and communicated with its human family. I spoke to her later, and even though she didn’t speak any English, I liked her mannerisms and decided I’d try her out.
The receptionist did speak English, but he told me they did not accept appointments. It was first come, first serve. The next day, I brought Hayley in for a check-up. A male vet was working. I had to wait until he was finished with his current patient, then brought Hayley in.
I wrote everything out on a piece of paper in Spanish: her age, mixed breed, cysts that needed to be drained, the hemangiosarcoma, how she eats and what her poop looked like. He checked her over, drained a few cysts and brought the receptionist in to help with translation. Her fatty belly on one side was a hernia, but because of her age surgery was not recommended. It doesn’t bother her anyway. The hemangiosarcoma could be drained, but it was better just to cut it off and cauterize it so it wouldn’t grow again. He said he would use a local anesthetic around the area.
The 900 Peso Procedure
I agreed, and he got to work sterilizing the area, numbing it, scraping away the hair, and with a quick flick it was off. Hayley protested the whole time as the receptionist and I held her down. He mentioned that it might be better if I left the room for the procedure, but I know she’s horrible either way, and I wanted to see everything that happened. A shot of antibiotics afterwards and we were done. Total cost for a physical examination, cyst drains, hemangiosarcoma removal and antibiotics: 900 pesos ($45.00 USD)
She hurt for the rest of the day but was full of energy by the next morning.
The Recommended Veterinarian
Hayley still needed a blood test to check her levels. My friend Michelle suggested her vet because she lived close by and really cared about the animals. Michelle went with me to help with translation. The vet gave Hayley a full physical before taking the blood. A few days later we were back to go over the results and compare them to her previous results from our Orlando vet. Unfortunately, certain levels were elevated showing that her kidneys and liver are not functioning well. The vet prescribed two medications to help her organs and a new dog food that helps with renal support (the expensive kind).
PROS ABOUT PET CARE
- The veterinarians take their time with each patient.
- Most of the pet care needs like check-ups and vaccinations are a third of the cost of what they charge in the U.S.
- PETCO is here and offers everything you would regularly see in the USA from dog food and treats to flea control, beds and holiday costumes.
CONS ABOUT PET CARE
- The veterinarians don’t take appointments because they don’t know how long each pet will take.
- The vets do not have an endless supply of medication. Usually they just have one or two on the shelf. You’ll have to call the vet to pre-order medications a week before you run out.
- Dog food is more expensive in Mexico especially if its the higher end types like Blue Buffalo or Royal Canin.
In all, I’m pleased with the vet care Hayley received. Both vets had sterile examination rooms, were communicative and they did not rush through any of the tasks that needed to be done.
Maybe one day Tom and I will go to a real doctor and get check-ups, but for now, I’m happy with the veterinarian care in Mexico.
Updated March 6,2019
What If The Final Day Comes?
Unfortunately, our pets do not live as long as we do, and sometimes we have to make the hardest decision to end their pain. This past month was tough for all of us. Hayley hurt her back running, and though she recovered her walk, her body was shutting down faster than we could keep up. The day she stopped eating, we knew it was time.
In Mexico, they do not have pet cemetaries. Pets are cremated, and their ashes are put in a potted plant or around outside plants to help them grow. In this way, they are always with you, and you have a beautiful reminder of their life.
Our vet came to the house and Hayley passed away peacefully in her bed with us by her side. The cremetary owner came to pick up her body and returned her ashes two days later. Once our new house is built, we will scatter her ashes in our plants in the backyard.
We will miss our beloved Hayley. She chose me in the Dominican Republic just after I arrived. I had two other dogs, and she decided it must be a pretty good place to stay. She lived in 4 countries, taught the other two dogs how to dig for crabs on the beach, chased rabbits and squirrels, and would literally “fly” out of the car anytime we went to a park. She was my wild child, my free spirit, my Hayley. RIP 2003-2019.