by Dr. David Turoff

This is the 4th in the current series of HSVMA-RAVS trips to the Peten
region of Guatemala. The service area consists of a string of small
villages on the Rio Mopan and tributaries, along the border with Belize.
Apart from our teams t
here are no veterinary services available at all for the horse
population here, . The horses are used under saddle primarily in the
cattle industry, and for packing to some extent, with very few used for
draft. Body condition scores, and general overall health of the animals
has improved noticeably over the last four years.

The team this year is notable for its diversity, consisting of 6 North
American veterinarians, a veterinarian from Nicaragua, one from
Guatemala, and a student from Switzerland. One major disappointment was
the unfortunate cancellation of participation by students and faculty
members from the veterinary school in Honduras, with whom the Equitarian
Initiative had a very successful collaboration in February of this year.
The Honduran veterinary college is only in its third year of instruction
of its inaugural class, and academic credit for participation this year
could not be worked out, but inclusion

of the Hondurans will be a major
goal of next year's trip here. Many of the problems in Central America
are regional rather than national in nature and scope, and multinational
collaboration can only be beneficial.

From a logistical standpoint, everything so far has gone very well; no
one missed any flights, all needed connections were made, customs
clearance was without incident, and and the team arrived on site two
days ago, ready for our first working day yesterday in Cruzadero. By the
end of the day we had treated 43 horses, including 4 castrations and
several skin problems, including the most interesting case of the day,
which looked to be some sort of autoimmune / hypersensitivity problem,
with secondary bacterial dermatitis, for which we prescribed steroid and
antibiotic therapy.

Today we will be at Nuevo Modelo, where we expect to see between 70 and
100 horses, if we are able to get there at all; it has been raining HARD
at night, and the tributaries of the Rio Mopan are full and the roads
deep in mud, but with some luck and persistence we should be all
right………….more tomorrow, internet connectivity permitting……….

David Turoff
Adrienne Otto


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