Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adventures in Guinean Health Care

The State Department does not have a high regard for Guinea's health care system. If any of us get anything worse than light cuts and bruises or a mild case of Guinea Gut, we're on a plane for London faster than you can say "ouch". However, the State Department is not quite as solicitous about the health of diplopets, so when the Jabberwock started throwing up his fancy imported low-carb biologically-optimized organic kibble it was time to take Guinea's kitty health care system for a spin.

Our health unit helped me find a French-trained vet not too far away, so I jammed the cat in his hated carrier and took him down for an inspection. He was pretty yowly on the way there, as is his wont when dragged someplace he doesn't want to go, but he quieted down real fast once the vet stuck a thermometer up his little kitty butt. In fact, I didn't hear a peep out of him for hours after that.

The vet's office was about what I expected, or what I would have expected if I hadn't long ago learned the futility of expecting things in Guinea. The power was out and the exam room was being cleaned, so he did the exam in the waiting area - scuffed and faded but immaculate except for a few wandering flies and a couple crates of chickens parked out front. He took a sample, made a slide, and checked it out on a microscope, the old-style kind with a mirror. Handy for power outages. We walked around back to his office where he told me that my little fuzzbutt has some kind of intestinal parasite and wrote a prescription. Quick, painless, and cheap: the visit and the pills together cost less than ten bucks. And I learned that I have adequate French to explain the details of Jabbers' gastrointestinal distress.

Now to start adventures with getting the cat to take a pill. Maybe a spoonful of bacon grease helps the medicine go down?


  1. I have had success getting pills into cats in two ways. 1) Pry open jaws. Jam pill as far down throat as fingers will reach. Close jaws and stroke throat from jaw to chest several times. Inspect damage (if any) to fingers. Believe it or not, this is the easier way.

    The second way involves crushing the pill, mixing it in butter and/or baking grease, and slathering it on the cat's tongue (or nose, or paws - doesn't matter, he'll clean it off). This is a bit messier, and takes longer, and seems to make the cat madder, which is counterintuitive.

    Good luck!

  2. Can you give the name and location of this french trained vet in Conakry? My daughter is a peace corps volunteer assigned to a village near Labe in the Fouta region. About two and half weeks ago she rescued a very young puppy, a couple of days old, and against all odds has kept it alive and now of course it is her baby! Right now she is in Mamou for in-service training and thinks she will be going to Conakry to try and find a good vet for the puppy. Any info you can give would be much appreciated!!

    1. Dr. Seydouba Camara (+224) 64 25 61 54. His office is located on Route le Prince between Hamdallaye and Bellevue, just before the Arc-en-Ciel headquarters going towards downtown.

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