Guest post by Ms. E Anne S Killick, BVetMed MRCVS, UK
This summer was my third visit to the northern areas of Pakistan. I have always enjoyed myself so much there – the people are so friendly and hospitable and, of course, the scenery is breath taking. Being a veterinary surgeon by profession I decided it would be very interesting to try and find out about the livestock problems and see if there was anything I could do to help. I spoke to my friend (who lives there) and contacted PAWS for some guidelines and then started canvassing the medicine suppliers in the UK. Novartis, CEVA and Animalcare were supportive of the cause and gave me some supplies to take.
My plan was to go to the Polo Tournament at Shandur and do as many short treks as time allowed. The latter would frequently involve camping on the high pastures. That way I would see quite a lot of animals and meet the local people they belonged to. I had a fascinating time, saw and learnt a great deal.
The local people arranged for me to meet their dispensers and also the local Veterinary Officer in charge. I knew before going to Pakistan that Foot and Mouth Disease was endemic but I saw the morbidity it produces in the animals for myself. Both the dispensers and local people alike were desperate for supplies of very basic medicines just to treat the blisters it produces.
Generally the livestock looked very well and certainly was cared for to the best of the owner’s capabilities. Preventative medicine as so largely practised in the UK is very difficult to do there on the ground – vaccines are virtually unobtainable and far too expensive for most people, similarly ecto- and endo- parasiticides are in very short supply.
Life is so different compared to the UK and I am full of admiration for how well people manage. Now I have a much better understanding of what is needed and hope to be able to give more support in future.