3rd Equitarian Workshop – Day 3 Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Equitarian group enjoyed another tasty Mexican buffet breakfast at the hotel in the early morning. The plans to depart from the hotel to the village of Sa

n Juan Tepulco at 8:00 AM were changed. Instead a group discussion regarding yesterday and today’s events was started while we awaited the vans. Amy McLean and Rebecca Bott gave a brief review of handling behavior and imprinting as compared to horses. An interesting discussion about individuals handling donkeys and mules ensued. Next, Larry Kelly gave a brief review of what we might expect to see in mouths in San Juan Tepulco, and included his view points and opinions about fluorosis in regards to what he sees with dental pathology in this area. Larry entertained us by saying that veterinarians should have butt wipes (aka hand wipes) available at the end of the day if they are going to do equine dentistry in a region where fluorosis is a concern, due to its effects on the teeth, making them quite brittle as well as other changes such as hypercementosis, disrupted eruption, discoloration, early attrition and diastema. Our Mexican colleague, Dr. Maria Masri, who is a human dentist as well as large animal internist, had interesting comments about fluorosis symptoms seen in people in Mexico in comparison to horses. Lastly, Stephen Blakeway commented about some of the things that the Donkey Sanctuary groups could contribute to the Equitarians while being a part of its community development programs. He emphasized the importance of communications with individual communities to determine people’s and animal’s needs. It was also stated that this annual workshop should be used as a learning and teaching model for those attending that have an interest in starting their own group or project. Dave Turoff commented that it would make sense to have water available for animals being brought in. We then loaded up and headed out.

When we arrived in the village, we saw that the animals brought in were mostly working burros and mules. Work was quickly begun at the various stations: saddle and harness fitting and repair, dentistry, farriery, surgery, and medicine. The animals were sent to the specific station based on what was observed at the reception station and gleaned from the owner’s history of the animal. Generally, body condition scores of equids brought in were low, and all work stations were kept busy all day.

Today’s workplace – a vacant lot with work stations set up for the many donkeys.


Drs. David Turoff and Hal Schott place a dental speculum in a donkey’s mouth for its dental work. (Check out Turoff’s Equitarian arm tattoo!)

Pressure sores from pack saddles and halters were common findings. The prominent spines of many of the thin donkeys led to many discussions with owners about nutrition. Each was given a month’s supply of FullBucket’s vitamin mineral supplement. We were delighted to see that many of them ate the powder avidly.

An owner coping with multiple donkeys and bags of supplement at the same


A number of donkeys had carbuncle-like lesions around their carpi which were strongly suggestive of cutaneous tuberculosis. These lesions were cleaned, and an immune stimulant was administered.

Likely cutaneous tuberculosis lesion

Various hoof problems were common and the surgery station was kept busy with castrations and various other procedures.

The majority of people bringing animals to us today were women and young children although a few came in as a family.

Our clients today were extremely friendly and appreciative of the efforts being put forth by the Equitarian groups. A delicious variety of local food was prepared by the women of the village and was available for purchase at one of the tents throughout the day. Work finally slowed down around 5:30 PM after which most of the tents were taken down. An estimated total of 350 animals were received over the course of the day, but a final count awaits review of the medical record sheets. A lot of tired but happy Equitarian members traveled back to the hotel to have dinner at 9:30 PM.

Blog by Dr. Chuck Boreson and photos by Karen Kennedy, Icon Studios

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