The lion surgeon (+ videos) – Escambray

If operating on a pet can sometimes be too difficult for specialists, imagine the challenges of operating on a big cat like Mily. Escambray offers you this interview with whom many consider to be one of the greatest veterinarians in the country.

Ibraím led a team of specialists who operated on the lioness Mily at the Spiritus zoo. (Photo: Yosdany Morejón/Escambray)

March 27, 2019 is an unforgettable day for Ibraím Calero Herrera, doctor of Veterinary Medicine and professor of Surgery at the José Martí Pérez University of Sancti Spíritus (UNISS).

In that occasion, the teacher led a team of specialists who operated on the lioness Milyin a very mediatic case.

The animal had a projectile embedded in its right jaw as a result of a shot fired by a public order agent, who was trying to save the hand of the reckless young man who had inserted it through the bars of the cage.

The fact moved a good part of the population of Spiritus, and beyond the seas. Many asked not only about the health of the yayabero, but especially about the physical state of Mily, whose wound began to fester as the days went by.

Fortunately, Ibraim stepped forward. His 30 years of experience as a teacher and as a veterinarian were his main weapons, although he remembers that it was a complicated operation, especially since it took time to find the bullet, which had moved position.

“We continued insisting through physical examination of the entire area, then, when it seemed that there was no longer any bullet lodged, we realized that, depending on the path of the projectile, once it was deflected by the impact with the molar, an inflammation appeared in the ganglion close to the submaxilla, we decided to make the cut on the spot and we found the bullet there,” he explained to Escambray in that occasion.

At that time, the Sancti Spíritus zoo belonged to the Provincial Community Services Company and they were the ones who asked the teacher to save the animal’s life. He did so, but not before reading every book on the subject.

Mily, the lioness of the El Bosque zoo, in Sancti Spíritus, after her operation. (Photo: Xiomara Alsina/Escambray)

The institution did not have a gun or tranquilizing darts for veterinary use with which to sedate the animals, which is partly why the task was difficult and risky, since the lioness had to be anesthetized anyway, of course.

He speaks slowly and calmly. He says that, in his opinion, the most difficult thing in the profession is to reach a diagnosis. As is also determining the origin of a disease and the protocol to be followed.

He specializes in working with animals of economic importance to the nation such as cattle, pigs and horses. However, it prefers domestic pets such as dogs and cats.

Paradoxically, he completed a collaborative mission on the African continent and never had contact with big cats. There he excelled in carrying out campaigns against rabies, an acute and infectious zoonotic viral disease caused by a Rhabdoviridae that attacks the central nervous system.

“I was even the tutor of several research theses on the subject and I was shocked to see so many children die from rabies. We carried out very serious work in this sense and we achieved results at the end of the mission, ”he explains.

Professor Ibraim, as he is affectionately called, teaches his students that to study Veterinary Medicine, you must love animals and enjoy their care. This offers the professional the necessary motivation for improvement, delivery and sacrifice.

It is striking how currently the number of requests to the Ministry of Higher Education to pursue veterinary studies has increased, even by people graduated in other specialties, with bachelor’s or engineering degrees.

He says that his profession is as important as human medicine, that he constantly has to improve himself because “new drugs, new research, new theories are always coming out and it is our responsibility to implement them.”

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