By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – There never seems to be enough hours in a day for Dr. Gangadhar Patil, a veterinarian who practices in Marlborough and volunteers extensively with the World Vets Organization.
For the past four years, Patil has traveled to many countries like Ecuador, Honduras, Suriname, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic. He recently returned from a trip to Nicaragua last month where he spent 10 days as an instructor teaching surgical procedures to American veterinary students from different colleges across the United States. World Vets has a training center there.
“As a child growing up in Bangalore, India, we didn’t really have any pets at home,” Patil said. “My interest came later at pre-university where one of the instructors encouraged me to go into internal medicine. I came to the states and attended Albany Medical College where I received my master’s degree and I worked at New York University for two years. I opened my practice in 1989 and just love working with the animals. I am their voice.”
In many third world countries, there are many challenges when dealing with animals. There are many strays and, often, families that own pets do not have the means to spay and neuter these animals.
“World Vets provides education, training programs, veterinary field service programs, disaster relief programs and more. In addition, their free veterinary care not only helps the animals but the communities in which they live,” said Patil.
While on one of these volunteer missions, Patil shared the outline of a typical day. The hours are quite long and it is not uncommon for the doctors to be performing procedures from early morning until late at night in conditions that are very often times not ideal.
“When we register to volunteer for one of these trips with World Vets, they provide the supplies and the accommodations,” Patil explained. “We bring with us surgical instruments, anesthetic, syringes, catheters and whatever else we may need to provide services for the animals. It is typically very hot and humid and it is not unusual to be providing services in a barn or other type of building. The flight, meals and any other expenses are solely the responsibility of the volunteer.”
This month he will lead a team of 16 volunteers to Bangalore, India, for 10 days. There will be six other veterinarians, three technicians, four students, and three volunteers from France, Germany and Bahrain.
Patil relies on his associates to help his practice run smoothly while he is out of the country. Helping different communities and meeting like-minded people is very rewarding, he said.
“The satisfaction for me is being able to give back. I know that what I am doing is making a huge difference and impact on the communities that I visit,” Patil said.
In August, Patil will head to Romania to volunteer for World Vets. In September, he will be traveling to South Dakota to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to do a spay and neuter clinic.
In addition to volunteering for World Vets, started in 2009, Patil also volunteers for Worldwide Veterinary Services, based out of the United Kingdom, and Veterinarians Beyond Borders, which is based out of Australia.
“My first trip volunteering with World Vets was in Ecuador and it was most memorable. We spayed and neutered 300 animals in three days. What an incredible experience. Actually, the first of many,” Patil said.
In addition to running Compassion Veterinary Clinic in Marlborough, Patil donates his time as a veterinarian and member of the Board of Trustees helping to run an animal shelter in Mysuru, India. He does love to travel.
For more information about World Vets, visit www.worldvets.org.