Camel Man-Hazari and Camel Vet- Dr.T.K.Gahlot It was in 1981 that I was posted at a Government Veterinary Hospital located 70 kms away from Bikaner. My first surgical case was a big challenge for me. It was a 3 months old punctured foot with a prolapse of digital cushion. Owner (Camel Man- Hazari, aged 30 years approx.) knew that I am a post graduate in surgery, hence requested me to treat his camel which was used for draft purpose and fetched big money for the family. Having known the poor prognosis, I accepted the challenge and started the treatment. At that time no books or literature was available suggestive of appropriate treatment. The big problem was the prolapse of the digital cushion which was irreducible. I planned the surgery by common sense and resected the prolapsed digital cushion. The cavity of punctured wound was packed with antibiotic powder and sterile gauge and cotton. Dressing was changed every week. To my surprise the wound started healing and cotton plug in the wound prevented further prolapse of the digital cushion. It healed completely in 2 and a half months time. Camel man Hazari was more happy than me as he and his entire family had no hopes for such a complicated case and more over other camel keepers also opined that such cases donot heal. Mr.Hazari proudly sat over the back of camel and went to his village. Villagers looked curiously the healed sole of camel foot. Camel had no lameness and resumed its draftability. Camel man- Hazari had his first successful commercial trip on the camel and his camel cart to adjoining village to transport the goods after recovery from foot injury. He was happy to note that his camel had same draftability as was before the injury. Entire family planned to call me to their hamlet located in the heart of their agriculture field approximately 10 kms away from my hospital. I acceded to their request. Camelman- Hazari came with same camel and its decorated and cushioned cart and took me comfortably to his hamlet. Their hamlet had few huts and I was lodged in one of those. Entire family sat with me and thanked me for treating their camel which was so dear to all of them. I joined them on a traditionally cooked Rajasthani food and enjoyed the recipes. Next day I returned back. A joy ride of 20 kms was a real camel safari for me on a luxury camel van across the desert stretch. This experience and honour as an upcoming camel vet was unforgettable for me.
Cobbler, Gold Smith & Camel Vet to treat mandibular fracture in camels After my postgradualtion I was at the field Veterinary Hospital which was 70 kms away from Bikaner. A she camel was presented to the hospital for treatment of her mandibular fracture. She was unable to ear because her lower jaw was hanging down and camels prehense (pick the food) by lips only but these were drawn apart. The hospital was poorly equipped and had no instruments for interdental wiring. Despite of these constraints I had a great temptation to treat the camel because i have invented the technique of IDW for mandibular fracture repair. I called the camel owner to get a silver wire from a local Gold Smith and a cobbler’s needle from a cobbler. I tranquilized the camel with triflupromazine hydrochloride and performed the IDW (Inter Dental Wiring) using a motor cycle plier for knotting and cutting the wire. The fracture of mandible healed in one and a half month. I removed the silver wire and camel owner sold it back to the local Gold Smith at a depriciation of half a dollar. Someone has righly said that “when there is a will there is a way.”
Caesarean and Camel Vet It was an independance day in 1981 that a she camel was brought in with a dystocia. The foetus was dead and emphysematous. We decided to perform the caesarean section. At that time we didnot have operation theatres for camels so surgery was planned in open air under a tree shed.Emphysematous foetus was double in size than normal one. It was removed by cutting into pieces. While removing its hairs got peeled off (it happens in the emphysematous foetus) and got spread into peritoneal cavity, muscles, fascia and skin. All these structures were washed with normal saline solution. Surgery was finished in more than 90 minutes. Lot of contamination took place. Laparotomy wound was closed and animal was administered with antibiotics, corticosteroids, analgesics and fluid therapy. In those day I didnot have much experience with camel caesareans and looking towards the infection and surgical trauma, I was quite passimistic about the prognosis of case. I thought that animal would succumb in night and I shall see the dead camel next morning but the scene was different. When I reached to the clinic the camel was seen alive but had some pain at the operative site with inflammation. I was very happy and thanked to God for this outcome. I asked owner to bring fluid therapy from market but he was very poor and purchase of medicine from market was unaffordable for him.I decided to help the camel to recover from this crisis. I prepared normal saline in my laboratory by triple glass distilled water and autoclaved it and administed to the camel at the rate of 10 litres per day for 7 days.To my surprise animal recovered very fast despite of suppuration at the incision site which was dressed daily. Animal had normal appetite in 2 weeks and recovered completely in 4 weeks.
Owner was more happy than me and had lot of appreciation for me and my team. He kept on bringing lot of other sick camels for treatment to me.
This case gave me an insight of role of fluid therapy in managing septic shock. I also learnt that a Vet should never loose the hope during treatment.