719 Quintard Avenue
Anniston, AL 36201
Open Mon - Fri: 6AM - 8PM,
Sat: 6AM - 6PM, Sun: 10AM - 6PM
If your pet is in immediate need, call
(256) 236-8387

Missionary Work

Dr. Barry Nicholls and the Animal Medical Center staff have completed hundreds of hours in the field spaying, neutering, and treating animals in developing countries since 1995. In September 2011, Dr. Nicholls partnered with World Vets – International Aid for Animals to further his volunteer efforts, helping to improve the well-being of family pets, reduce animal overpopulation, and reduce the occurrence of human health issues impacted by zoonotic diseases (diseases able to be transmitted between animals and humans) in developing countries.

To quote one of Dr. Nicholls’ favorite Chinese proverbs, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

More about Animal Medical Center’s continuing mission work in developing countries:

A World Away - Nicaragua

Dr. Barry Nicholls shares his experiences practicing veterinary medicine in a developing country.

A boy and his dog. Or his cat. A familiar sight in most American neighborhoods. A playful friendship forged with unconditional love and boundless enjoyment. Not so different in Nicaragua than in the U.S.

In September 2011, Animal Medical Center’s Dr. Barry Nicholls partnered with World Vets – International Aid for Animals on a veterinary mission trip in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Although the seven-day excursion was Dr. Nicholls’ first with World Vets, the trip was certainly not his first veterinary volunteer effort.

Dr. Nicholls is an experienced traveling doctor having completed hundreds of hours in the field spaying, neutering, and treating animals in developing countries since 1995. He was one of six doctors on a team of 14, including four licensed veterinary technicians and four veterinary assistants.

The World Vets’ website, www.worldvets.org, states the non-profit, Non-Government Agency (NGO) provides “veterinary aid around the globe in collaboration with animal advocacy groups, foreign governments, U.S. and foreign military groups and professionals abroad.” World Vets’ work spans 34 countries, six continents, and addresses not only veterinary issues, but also human health issues impacted by zoonotic diseases (diseases able to be transmitted between animals and humans) in developing countries.

Dr. Nicholls said the zoonotic impact was likely minimal, but the team did treat for ticks, which can infect and carry diseases to humans, and hookworms and roundworms, which infect humans, too.  He mentioned that World Vets’ organizes a trip in collaboration with human medical doctors who work in tandem traveling on the ship Comfort to address health issues pertinent to both.

“Spaying and neutering were our top priority,” said Dr. Nicholls, about his time spent in NIcaragua. “But we also provided basic care: correcting vitamin deficiencies and treating for parasites (intestinal worms and ticks).” He estimates they performed 107 surgeries and more than 200 consult exams, working an average of 11 hours per day.

 Dr. Nicholls continued, “We also treated some skin diseases and a few trauma cases including a rear limb amputation without formal orthopedic instruments.” He said they had to improvise and used his Gerber pocket knife to complete the emergency operation.

World Vets returns twice each year to Nicaragua, making a long-term impact in the communities they visit. Dr. Nicholls feels they “lit a candle,” referencing one of his favorite Chinese proverbs, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

Photos by Leah Finstad and Dr. Barry Nicholls
Article by Brooke Nicholls Nelson

 

Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic - Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Animal Medical Center’s gift that keeps giving!

Animal Medical Center (AMC) rewards employees having 10 years of employment with a trip to Rarotonga, one of the Cook Islands off New Zealand. AMC sponsors the only veterinary hospital on the island, the Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic. Animal Medical Center regularly sends surplus drugs and supplies to couriers who visit and volunteer at the clinic.

The veterinary clinic in Rarotonga was established in 1995 by Cathy Sue Anunsen of Oregon. Up until that time, there was no veterinarian on the island, and many animals were killed by the government because of overpopulation. Since that time, the clinic has spayed, neutered or treated for disease approximately 28,000 dogs and cats. EHF’s all-volunteer staff treats animals at no charge to the people of the Cook Islands.

Dr. Barry Nicholls has visited several times to do mission work, mostly spaying and neutering. In February 2003, Dr. Nicholls took Karon Johnston and Sandra Cotton along to assist.

In early 2010, Dr. Susan LeCoq, along with Missy Kines, and two veterinary assistants, Brandy Nelson and Cathy Campbell, traveled to Rarotonga to volunteer for two weeks. Dr. LeCoq says their expectations of a veterinary hospital set in an absolutely gorgeous Southern Pacific location is exactly what they got! They were able to combine a lot of work and a little bit of fun in one trip.

Dr. LeCoq’s group transported $8,000 worth of much-needed medical supplies collected by Esther Honey from generous donations throughout the United States. The hospital is not as well-equipped as Animal Medical Center or other hospitals in the United States; however, Dr. LeCoq says they realized they could “do just about anything with nothing and have fun doing it.”

The inhabitants of the island(s) were very appreciative of the services provided, even something as simple as de-fleaing, de-sexing, and de-worming made them happy. During their two weeks there, they spayed/neutered about 29 pets, did some trauma surgeries, and made vast improvements in the well being of the pets and the facility. Dr. LeCoq complimented her team on their work ethic, superb attitude, and their efforts to improve the existing program.
Future trips to Rarotonga have not been confirmed at this time.

If you would like to learn more about the Esther Honey clinic in Rarotonga, visit their website at: http://www.estherhoney.org