Bad experiences with the medical system...sick in Peru

November 21st, 2022 at 10:27 am EDT

Being sick is definitely not fun, and even more so when you are in a foreign country, have limited Spanish, and then meet doctors that just want to charge big $ :-(

While travelling I wish we had brought more things to help prime our immune system, such as the Omega 3 Fatty Acids which have been shown to help strengthen immune response in a weakened immune system, and aid if immune system is overactive.

They are inexpensive, and supply so many benefits being wonderful anti-inflammatories as well as immune support.

If you have to try these for your itching dog, or your vomiting cat, you should do so with my Krill oil supplement here..

Dr Jones' ULTIMATE Omega 3 Supplement for Dogs and Cats


Our experiences travelling in Peru, and with most of the Peruvian people in general have been wonderful.

Kind, helpful, generous!

But then there is the medical system.

My wife was sick... really sick.

It started on this fairly challenging hike, a 23km hike called the Colcoa Canyon Trek, and some of us felt sick the next day after consuming some questionable looking Pollo (chicken..)

The hike uphill the next day was especially challenging..5km..nearly 2000 meters of elevation hiking up to 3800 meters (over 12,000 ft)

We then rode on the bus to Puno, a city on the edge of Lake Titicaca bordering Bolivia..and my wife Catherine was especially tired/lethargic.

Once at the hostel she slept... In fact for the next 4 days she barely left the room, and hardly ate

She could hardly catch her breath climbing the stairs, was having sleep apnea, a mild cough, headache, stomach upset, and her nail beds were slightly bluish... all signs of serious altitude sickness..

I was definitely feeling worried, confused as she had felt great a few weeks earlier up high- we had been in Cusco, and we hiked the Inca Trail ( a 4 day hike) to Machu Picchu with elevations up to 4200 meters. She showed no signs of any altitude sickness then.

She started on the medication for altitude sickness (Diamox), of which we use in veterinary medicine to treat animals with glaucoma, but it didn't help, so we made the decision to get low to Lima.

While in Lima her breathing improved, color back to normal, but still NO appetite, and general stomach upset..

The 1st private doctor we saw in Lima did a brief 5 minute exam, and then said she likely had moderate altitude sickness, and suggested she was stressed, and offered her a script for sleeping pills ( that exam only cost 300 soles or $100 Canadian)

36 hours later she was still no better, hardly eating and feeling nauseous after eating, so we go the the nearest hospital

We were able to see an Internal Medicine Physician for the bargain price of 1800 soles ($600 Canadian..), who after another very brief exam said 'all you have is still likely altitude sickness', then ordered some blood work ( for 700 soles ($250) ), and then wanted her to get a Lung contrast CT scan for 2000 Soles ( $700..)

The incomplete blood work results came back the next day ( no urinalysis, no electrolytes..) but the Internal medicine physician would NOT interpret the results UNLESS we paid her another $600 Canadian...

The 'Specialist' was also UPSET that Catherine not wanting to get the CT scan which was only going to look at her lungs


Fortunately I was able to interpret the blood tests as Spanish/English Labs are similarly named..

A slightly higher White Cell Count

Neutrophils, a specific type of white cell fighting local infection was higher

Normal red cell count, not anemic

Normal kidney/Liver function

No evidence of any immune response to any unusual diseases ( we had been in the Amazon jungle, so ruled out Dengue etc..)

Based on the blood work it was more consistent with a mild infection, possible gastritis (stomach infection), perhaps UTI

So she kept taking the Slippery Elm herb I had ( great for intestinal upset), along with an antibiotic we had for diarrhea (Ciprofloxacin).

We have now travelled north in Peru to a town called Chachapoyas...and here the hostel owner had her take some grated Avocado seed tea (GREAT for GI upset and immune support)

Finally after 3 days of the Slippery Elm, the Antibiotic and the Avocado Seed tea, she is feeling better.. :-)

I am very disappointed about the experience with Conventional Doctors in Lima.. seems mildly familiar..

Before you go ahead and order wildly expensive, and somewhat risky diagnostic tests (the contrast CT Scan), do a thorough exam with a proper history- there was no real medical history taken..

Get complete Blood work, including Urinalysis

Focus on the primary presenting complaint... In veterinary school our older instructors DRILLED into us the importance of a Complete Physical Exam, History, and then forming a differential diagnosis based on the CLINICAL SIGNS

Then consider what diagnostic tests to run..

So glad that my wife is feeling better, and SO grateful to the local Peruvians who have been so kind helping us out :-)

And once again...this just reinforces why YOU need to be in charge of your own and your pet's health care, and learn about what treatments (natural and conventional) may be best.

Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew

P.S. Yesterday Catherine's appetite returned and we had a wonderful tour of an ancient site called Kuelap: it is over 1000 years older and 5 times the size of Machu Picchu!

Plus she ate 4 pieces of Pizza :-)

P.P.S. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are considered to be one of the most important supplements in Veterinary Medicine (Clinician's Brief).

I wish I had taken these for our trip here in Peru... and when we return, this will be part of my daily regimen

Dr Jones' Natural Krill Oil provides high levels of the important Fatty Acids, EPA and DHA, better absorption/bioavailability, WITHOUT the toxins now found in many Fish Oil supplements.

Great for lowering inflammation, helping with allergies, and boosting overall immune response.

Get your bottle here:

Dr Jones' New KRILL Oil Supplement

DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make specific medical recommendations for your pet.

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