Here are the final 2 blogs from the great Equitarian work in Peru:

Pictures of this trip can be found at:


Day 10: August 26, 2012

We awoke in our run-in shed full of tents this morning to find the patient from yesterday alert – and out of his makeshift stall, contentedly grazing. His owner arrived soon and received Sulfa antibiotics to administer to the horse and careful post-op instructions. He assured us that his horse will rest near his house for at least a month, where he can keep a careful eye on him.

We loaded our pack animals in the misty weather and set off for our next worksite and campsite, Collpapampa. Unlike our prior hike, this one was almost entirely downhill. It was a 4 hour hike for most of us, but extremely beautiful as our path followed closely a river full of waterfalls, providing soothing “background noise.” We stopped at the second small town we passed through, our destination, but it has changed very much since Dave’s last trip to the area 2 years ago. Although the Mountain Lodge of Peru is located just across the river, about a 45 minute walk, many other tourist companies in the area set up tents all around this small town. There is also somewhat massive road construction leading out of this town and into Santa Teresa – the first accessible point we have seen in awhile!

An harriero couple graciously offered their house to us, which is being constructed, while tourists slept outside on their front lawn. A few of us took him up on the offer while others set up tents next to one of the three rivers that actually intersect into the area. What a beautiful location! It was exciting to meet the new tourists that came to our campsite. We came to find out they had walked all the way from Soraypampa, our trek’s starting location, just that day, which took us over 15 hours in total, spread out across two days.

There was regrettably an omission from a previous blog: we neglected to include the names of our Peruvian and Bolivian colleagues and friends. Renata Araujo Soletti joins us as a veterinary student from Bolivia, and Massimo Delli-Rocili and Ian Penny are veterinary students from Lima, Peru. Veterinarians from Peru are Carlos Montoya, Sandra Landazabal, and Verónica Orozco. All of them bring professional and cultural expertise to the team, and some individuals have been returning participants on this trip for several years! We will miss our new international friends the most when we leave Peru!

Peru HSVMA-RAVS 2012

Day 11: August 27, 2012

We have found some patterns among cases depending on worksites, and in Collpapampa we found it interesting that we had no castrations. In fact, most of the horses were already castrated. RAVS has visited this location for the past few years and it is fulfilling to see concrete effects of the efforts and resources of the past.

The animals today were overall tough to handle. They tended to show up in large groups, many mules were present, and many animals’ first reactions were to instantly rear.

Penrose drains were also in high demand today. One was used on a very infected saddle wound which had abscessed into a canal. The drain was applied to facilitate drainage and the owner was given instructions to cut it off after 5 days. The owner, also the provider of the house we were staying in, seemed very understanding that this horse clearly needed a month or more off from work. Another Penrose drain was used on an old abscess on the cheek, perhaps from a puncture wound inside the mouth. Scar tissue was present and cut out.

There were quite a few mules today with severely deformed and overgrown feet, and we again faced the frustration that many owners expected to be able to put shoes on right away that day. In fact, these cases would warrant months to a year of corrective trimming before shoes can be fitted, speaking logically from the point of view of the shape and wear of the hoof.

“Haba,” commonly called “lampas” in the past in Europe and North America, was brought up a few times today. Owners sometimes request that veterinarians cut out the piece of soft tissue on the hard palate just caudal to the upper incisors that can be visible in very young horses with short incisors or old horses with very worn incisors. We explained that this soft tissue is anatomically normal, and that resecting it is harmful, and made a comparison to cows still being able to graze without top incisors. They have a “dental pad” instead. In addition, there is a large population of aged horses with only central and intermediate incisors (X01 and X02) worn to the point that grazing is impeded. Reducing the corner incisors as little as half a mm can sometimes restore occlusion of the worn 1s and 2s.

A foal was presented as very sick, with a cough and nasal discharge that has lasted for two months. Based on symptoms he presented with, it was hypothesized that he may have a lungworm infection – after all, these horses are around many mules and donkeys. The owner was also concerned about fleas, and asked about bathing the horse in a solution they called Botox, but the white flakes in the mane appeared more like dandruff. In any case, we dewormed the foal and gave the owner several more doses of ivermectin as this was the only dewormer we had in supply.


mule was presented with a large, semi pedunculated mass, presumed to be a sarcoid, just ventral to the left eye. Under general anesthesia, this was partly debulked and then ligated with a narrow strip of tire inner tube. On future trips we will investigate the possibility of bringing a small tank of liquid nitrogen to treat sarcoids with cryotherapy.

Two members of the group walked to the Mountain Lodge across the river in an attempt to access wifi (which turned out to be unproductive). However, it was obvious the wonderful infrastructure that exists in this project. One of the tour guides that was lunching with a trekking group who had just arrived at the lodge, explained to the interested tourists the work that the veterinarians were doing across the river in conjunction with Mountain Lodges of Peru’s social services subsidiary. We can’t help but hope that this small-scale publicity in tourist areas could benefit awareness of the project.

Our head count of patients for the day was approximately 80 animals.

You can visit any of the sites below to learn more about the Peruvian organizations that make this trip possible:

Vida Digna:


Mountain Lodges of Peru:

Angie Gebhart and Dave Turoff


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