Western-style veterinary care in Siem Reap is about to go to the dogs with the only barang vet in town about to return to the UK. English vet Hannah Padley, who has run The No. 1 Animal Place for around one year, can no longer keep her practice financially viable.
This means that pet owners who want western treatment for their furry or feathered friends will either have to go to Phnom Penh
or, in emergencies, attend the government veterinary office in Siem Reap.
Hannah described her time in Siem Reap as “quite
a scary experience full stop, because I’m on my own here, whereas in England you’ve got support and second opinions and such”. She said she had a few Khmer clients at her surgery, but the fad for pampered handbag dogs in Bangkok has certainly not surfaced in Siem Reap.
Hannah is also distraught that Khmer pet owners aren’t prepared to spend as much on their pets’ health as Westerners. Hannah, who is shelling out $6,000 to fly her dog back to the UK, refers to Khmer attitudes to their pets as “essentially Cambodian experiences”.
“I remember one Khmer gentleman coming in and telling me, through translation, how his pregnant dog was very sick and could not move,” she said. “I told him what I thought the problem was and that treatment would be quite expensive, maybe $150-$200. He gave me a look that seemed to suggest it might not be worth it but he’d think about it, and I never saw him again. You just couldn’t do that to a dog in the UK.”
On the other hand, she did have one Khmer dog owner prepared to do anything to save his dog’s life. But unfortunately the dog had a tumour in its uterus that was too big to be removed, and he wept when given the bad news. “But at least he restored my faith in Cambodian pet owners,” she said.