Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2020. 8:33 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: In Belize and throughout the world, many pet owners have developed relationships with their pets acknowledging them as members of the family. Pet owners around the world know that a sick pet can be a heartbreaking experience and often find themselves grateful for the veterinarians looking after their animals. Every year at the end of April, pet owners and global organizations take a day to salute the contributions veterinarians make to the world with World Veterinary Day.
The event, which is celebrated on the last Saturday in April, was held this year under the theme “Environmental protection for improving animal and human health.”
Our newsroom spoke with Victor Gongora, President of the Veterinary Association of Belize (VAB), who said that this year’s theme emphasizes a one health principle, that veterinarians form a part of a greater network with human healthcare personnel and environmental workers to promote and safeguard health in every way.
Gongora noted that there are a total of 35 registered veterinarians in Belize, with 10 of them being a member of the association. Gongora said that the VAB’s two major functions are to promote comradery between vets and to take the profession forward in Belize through education. He said that, on the occasion of World Veterinary Day, the association’s message to Belizeans is a sincere plea for responsible pet ownership.
“We’d really like to see more love and care for our animals, more responsibility for animals. A lot of people have pets and have complete disregard for welfare issues,” Gongora said.
He also pleaded with Belizeans to support the profession in the country by going to registered veterinarians instead of those not qualified, which could cause problems for their pets.
BBN also spoke with Animal Medical Center and learned that the organization had to cancel its usual activities for World Veterinary Day due to the ongoing state of emergency. The organization did take the time to post some valuable information on its Facebook account educating pet owners about heatstroke for dog owners, which is a prevalent concern in Belize due to the ongoing drought and persistent high temperatures.
The information features the signs of heatstroke which include body temperature that reaches 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit, heavy panting, rapid pulse or heartbeat, bright or dark red gums and tongue, excessive thirst, excessive drooling, lethargy, lack of coordination, staggering, seizures, glazed eyes, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.
“On hot, humid days, like almost every day recently, keep your pets indoors, if that’s a possibility. If they must be outside, provide plenty of shade and freshwater,” Animal Medical Center said.
BBN takes this time to salute Belize’s veterinarians, noting that they are classified as essential workers under the State of Emergency regulations and have been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures to ensure that animals all over Belize receive the care they need.
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