August 22, 2012

Mollepata; Day 2

We were disappointed to see frequent poor horsemanship today. It is always a frustrating decision between allowing an owner, who knows his horse best, to continue to hold the rope, or to request that he step

away so that the horse relaxes. An interesting observation that we made today was how much the horses here relax when their eyes are covered. Oftentimes the owners’ first response is to throw a colorful scarf over their horse’s eye before injecting, trimming hooves, or working around the hind legs. Several veterinarians remarked how unlikely horses in the U.S. would calm to this treatment. Also, the horses here relax immediately when a rope is thrown around their neck or placed around a hind leg, but have the opposite reaction when a human approaches them with the same caution and care.

Several horse owners became frustrated while waiting in the lengthy farrier station line, but it was emphasized to them that the work is hard and takes time. One man observed several horses this morning then was taught how to use the hoof knife, rasp, and nippers. He will be bringing his own horses tomorrow. He was very interested to learn how much the job can pay in the United States, especially that horse owners will pay a professional to travel around and provide this service, and we emphasized the potential there is for him to start a farrier service business like Brooks´, here in the area. The Peruvian and Bolivian vet students continued to learn trimming and shoe pulling techniques at the farrier station today, although the majority of the horses today presented with extremely long feet caused by leaving the shoes on for such extended periods of time.

The most frustrating case of the day was an eight year old mare with a sagittal fracture and consequent root infection of her 308 tooth (left lower jaw, midway back). There was a missing fragment at the buccal (cheek) side, and the crown of the tooth was therefore tapered, and difficult to engage with extraction forceps. Horses of this age also have very long roots, further complicating extraction, and after about ninety minutes of trying we were forced to accept defeat. A lot of necrotic tissue and rotten feed material was removed from adjacent to the tooth, but in the end, the problems will likely remain despite long term antibiotics, which we left with the owner, along with pain meds. We will try again next year.

We were glad to see that the highly infective strangles case from yesterday returned for further treatment. A tracheostomy was performed in which a handle from a plastic juice jug was cleaned and inserted into the trachea. The animal began to breathe easier and will return one final time again tomorrow. Another animal presented with symmetrical abscesses on both sides of his croup, covering about half of the gluteal area. Jennie used a scalpel to clean the area because it was already draining and continued to flush it; much to the owners’ surprise, the solution entered one hole and came out another. Although the owner insisted that he had not done so, we suspected IM oxytetracycline had perhaps been injected there for a past respiratory infection.


A group of veterinarians traveled outside of town to the Mountain Lodges of Peru´s (MLP) location, where they dewormed and vaccinated 20 more horses. MLP owns a string of tourist lodges on the trek to Macchu Picchu from Mollepata to Soraypampa, over Salkantay Pass to Collpapampa, and Macchu Picchu, which is the route we are also taking to care for some of the horses used on these isolated treks. MLP’s social service division is YANAPANA Peru, which has been mentioned in previous blogs and is the provider of logistics and infrastructure support for the trip. We are also allowed to

camp at MLP’s sites along the way. Of this group of horses, some were recommended to come down the hill to Mollepata for dentistry or farrier work. A hoof abscess was also found and treated there. .

After school let out, several kids were entertained with a calm old white horse named “Gringa” as Angie helped them to label the parts of the horse in Spanish using namecards and duct tape stuck to her coat. She cooperated very well, and the kids seemed thrilled to learn where things like the horse´s knees, elbow, ribs, and cannon bones were.

Just over 100 horses were seen at our second day today in Mollepata.

Angie Gebhart and Dave Turoff

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This