New Project to help working horses in Nicaragua
Animal Aid Abroad (AAA) has recently partnered with an organisation in Nicaragua to provide veterinary care to the working equines, as well as to train local vets in equine medicine. Orprovet is headed by Dr Lester Tapia, CEO and founder and is an NGO that provides free veterinary services in Nicaragua for both large and small animals. The equine project is focused on the welfare, dental care, hood care, surgery and general consult for the horses who suffer due to the civil unrest in Nicarágua. Many horse owners lost their jobs because of a downturn in tourism, which was their livelihood. Their horses are put to work pulling heavy carts, overloaded with construction materials and others are used as taxis, in an effort to replace that lost income.
The first commitment from AAA to this group is to fund the vet supplies for a clinic to treat 600+ working horses from the 15th - 17th December. At this clinic there will be a team of 18 veterinarian volunteers with two vets from the USA that will be teaching local vets more equine medicine such as ultrasound, x-ray, dental etc, so that at the same time as the animals are receiving care, the local people are also being helped as well.
Pharmaceuticals that AAA will be funding include oral dewormers, ivermectin + praziquantel, external dewormer, anti inflamatories such as phenilbutazone, flunixin, supplements, iodine, IV fluids, different ointments for wounds, eye meds, pain meds, etc. Other supplies required include syringes, needles, gauze, IV lines, cotton, and bandages, etc.
In rural communities the vet clinics promote castrations because of excessive reproduction which leads to an overpopulation of horses that the owners cannot afford to feed. In these rural areas, the horses do agricultural work. There are communities here where there is no water service, so the horses work everyday pulling heavy containers of water so that their owners can sell it in the community to make money. The horses are overworked and do not receive any veterinary care because there is no money to pay for it.
The veterinary services facilitated by the organisation are without any cost for the owners and include hoof and dental work.
Through these clinics, the team has seen that these animals are malnourished and neglected, never having received veterinary care. Once the clinics had started a big improvement in the horses' feet and teeth was seen. Vaccines were also provided for tetanus and other diseases present in the region.
During the clinics the team of veterinarians was distributed across four areas: dental, hoof, general consult (including deworming and physical exams) and surgery performed in the field.
Training by a certified farrier is also provided to owners to teach them how to size and place shoes correctly.
With the main focus being to improve the quality of life of these horses, the organisation also raises funds to distribute shoes, halters, leads, padding ad occasionally tools so that owners can properly work their horses' feet at home.
Veterinary students are also invited to take part in the clinics to gain knowledge and experience in Equine medicine, in the field. Partnerships with veterinary schools in Nicaragua allow the students to attend and be provided with meals, accommodation and transportation.
In Nicaragua there are many working mules, donkeys and oxen as well. While some mules are treated during the clinics, the focus is on horses, however there are plans in place to help the donkeys and oxen in the future.
AAA is proud to partner with this group and to widen the scope for helping working animals around the world.