August 25, 2012

Field veterinary work is often at the mercy of the ambient conditions, of which we were reminded frequently today. We all agreed that today was also a day of creative problem-solving.

Many of us woke to wet tents and clothes fr

om the almost relentless drizzle throughout the night, which continued through most of the morning and late afternoon. After searching for simply a flat, level work site, Dave found a run-in shelter about the size of 7 or 8 12×12 stalls. Many pitched in to clean out the manure and dirt from the floor and it was ready to be a dry, out-of-the-wind worksite. Our first patients showed up soon after – a group of 7 horses which had all been infected with strangles earlier in the year. One even had a healed draining tract from an abscess of the left guttural pouch, which we hypothesized, was what had saved this horse from his painful infection. A few of these horses showed ramps and malocclusions, and when recommended for dentistry the owner at first declined. After carefully explaining to her that this procedure can help her horses to eat better and gain weight because they often develop sores on the inside of their mouth from unkempt teeth, she eventually accepted. Another of her horses was severely splay footed and required corrective trimming.

The next owners were a group of brothers who brought three horses and one mule for castration. We decided to lay a horse down first in our creative enclosure – the run-in shed – since mules can sometimes be harder to sedate. The surgery went well, but upon standing up the horse almost immediately showed some small intestine hanging from the incision. It was incredible the way the entire team worked together to anesthetize the animal a second time and combined forces to correct the ailment in about a 90 minute surgery in the field. It’s gratifying to realize what a skilled surgeon with a good support team can achieve with some improvisation, even under marginal conditions, and we were all grateful to be working undercover instead of out in the freezing rain.

We explained to the worried owner that this animal may have experienced a scrotal hernia sooner or later because of his enlarged inguinal ring, and how good it is that we were there to help the horse during this highly unusual and potentially catastrophic event. We carefully explained that the near evisceration was a result of a larger-than-normal inguinal ring and that this is a complication of castration that happens in less than 1 of every 1,000 horses castrated.

We all worked together again to build two more walls for the corner of the shed in which we were working, from two ladders, two pieces of PVC pipe, a few bed frames, rope, and tape. The horse stood from his second surgery with relative ease after we performed a warm-water enema to elevate his body temperature and rehydrate him; and covered him with some plastic feed sacks in which we had carried some of our supplies. We “borrowed” some chaff-like feed from the MLP storeroom and gathered as much grass as we could for this youngster who was used to eating only pasture. He quickly began eating both types of feed and fortunately remained calm in his jury-rigged enclosure while we took turns staying with him and checking on him through lunch and the rest of the afternoon.

There were only a few other horses present for us to look at that day, besides the other 3 for castration, and needless to say they all went home during the extensive surgery and after standing out in the rain (and even snow!) One mule needed his hooves trimmed badly but even after a large amount of several sedatives given IM, and chasing him around a huge boulder to try to shorten his rope, he was untouchable, so he was also sent home.

The castrated horse stayed with us through the night – in fact, we set up our tents inside the long run-in shed just next to his makeshift stall to keep an eye on him throughout the night. In the morning he was bright-eyed and hungry, and had defecated throughout the night. We sent him home with the owner, who understood to keep him quiet for 4 weeks and to give the antibiotics we had dispensed him. The owner was very cooperative with our post-op instructions and seemed thankful to be going home with such a considerably well horse.

We have already spoken with a few arrieros (wranglers) about seeing their horses tomorrow in Collpampa tomorrow, so we are looking forward to the next day. We will hike the trek tomorrow morning and hope for less rain than today brought us. It is for sure a shorter trek than the last, but we are all looking forward to more mountain views!

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August 25, 2012
Field veterinary work is often at the mercy of the ambient conditions, of which we were reminded frequently today. We all agreed that today was also a day of creative problem-solving.
Many of us woke to wet tents and clothes from the almost relentless drizzle throughout the night, which continued through most of the morning and late afternoon. After searching for simply a flat, level work site, Dave found a run-in shelter about the size of 7 or 8 12×12 stalls. Many pitched in to clean out the manure and dirt from the floor and it was ready to be a dry, out-of-the-wind worksite. Our first patients showed up soon after – a group of 7 horses which had all been infected with strangles earlier in the year. One even had a healed draining tract from an abscess of the left guttural pouch, which we hypothesized, was what had saved this horse from his painful infection. A few of these horses showed ramps and malocclusions, and when recommended for dentistry the owner at first declined. After carefully explaining to her that this procedure can help her horses to eat better and gain weight because they often develop sores on the inside of their mouth from unkempt teeth, she eventually accepted. Another of her horses was severely splay footed and required corrective trimming.
The next owners were a group of brothers who brought three horses and one mule for castration. We decided to lay a horse down first in our creative enclosure – the run-in shed – since mules can sometimes be harder to sedate. The surgery went well, but upon standing up the horse almost immediately showed some small intestine hanging from the incision. It was incredible the way the entire team worked together to anesthetize the animal a second time and combined forces to correct the ailment in about

a 90 minute surgery in the field. It’s gratifying to realize what a skilled surgeon with a good support team can achieve with some improvisation, even under marginal conditions, and we were all grateful to be working undercover instead of out in the freezing rain.
We explained to the worried owner that this animal may have experienced a scrotal hernia sooner or later because of his enlarged inguinal ring, and how good it is that we were there to help the horse during

this highly unusual and potentially catastrophic event. We carefully explained that the near evisceration was a result of a larger-than-normal inguinal ring and that this is a complication of castration that happens in less than 1 of every 1,000 horses castrated.
We all worked together again to build two more walls for the corner of the shed in which we were working, from two ladders, two pieces of PVC pipe, a few bed frames, rope, and tape. The horse stood from his second surgery with relative ease after we performed a warm-water enema to elevate his body temperature and rehydrate him; and covered him with some plastic feed sacks in which we had carried some of our supplies. We “borrowed” some chaff-like feed from the MLP storeroom and gathered as much grass as we could for this youngster who was used to eating only pasture. He quickly began eating both types of feed and fortunately remained calm in his jury-rigged enclosure while we took turns staying with him and checking on him through lunch and the rest of the afternoon.
There were only a few other horses present for us to look at that day, besides the other 3 for castration, and needless to say they all went home during the extensive surgery and after standing out in the rain (and even snow!) One mule needed his hooves trimmed badly but even after a large amount of several sedatives given IM, and chasing him around a huge boulder to try to shorten his rope, he was untouchable, so he was also sent home.
The castrated horse stayed with us through the night – in fact, we set up our tents inside the long run-in shed just next to his makeshift stall to keep an eye on him throughout the night. In the morning he was bright-eyed and hungry, and had defecated throughout the night. We sent him home with the owner, who understood to keep him quiet for 4 weeks and to give the antibiotics we had dispensed him. The owner was very cooperative with our post-op instructions and seemed thankful to be going home with such a considerably well horse.
We have already spoken with a few arrieros (wranglers) about seeing their horses tomorrow in Collpampa tomorrow, so we are looking forward to the next day. We will hike the trek tomorrow morning and hope for less rain than today brought us. It is for sure a shorter trek than the last, but we are all looking forward to more mountain views!
Angie Gebhart, Jon Cheetham, and Dave Turoff
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