by Dr. Judy Batker
Our final numbers are in and we accomplished a lot at this year’s work with the Horse Spirit Society. Over 4 days at the end of July and beginning
of August we traveled to approximately 8 large sites
and many more small or individual sites.
727 horses were vaccinated for EWT and WNV the majority of vaccine being donated by Boehringer-Ingleheim . 541 horses were dewormed, 101 castrations were done, 124 dentals and 90 horses had farrier care.
Overall the condition of the horses was good with most body scores falling between 4 and 6. We saw that if teeth and feet had proper alignment they wore well, if there was a problelm to begin with it became a very big problem. As mentioned before many of the castrations were cryptorchids and we occasionly ran into the problem of unknown historys. We would be told that they had not been castrated only to find a scar when we laid them down.
There was time for education also with several people learning trimming tips from our farrier. Others learned how to give injections and wound care. In some cases we also discussed medical treatments and nutrition.
Quantitative fecal testing was done on 16 with results showing all but 2 under 100 eggs per gram. These 2 were both under 200 eggs per gram. Our group will be discussing future deworming and what strategys will be best.
These horses live and eat on the plains of south west South Dakota and are hardy animals. They have a variety of uses including racing, transport and summer camps for their children. Their owners take great pride in their horsemanship and horses.
Historically there has not
been regular veterinary care given to the horses on the reservation. This is due mainly to the lack of money available by many families and the lack of transportation (trailers). There are a few families that have used veterinarians in the surrounding areas for emergency situations. Many of the people own a large number of horses, sometimes for cultural reasons and find it difficult to give preventative care or emergency care to any of them.
To try to prevent “learned dependency” our group has several areas of education we are working on to help the native americans become as self sufficient as possible in the care of their horses. Daily as we work, we teach them how to give IM injections, bandage and discuss wound care. Next summer we plan on having a “short course” teaching bandaging and wound care at a technical college. One of the instructors has begun planning on incorporating that into his classes.
We also are working with several men who attended a farrier week course, helping them continue practicing their skills as well as how to make it an actual business for them.