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October 14, 2010

Helping Horses and Mules in the Andes

Humane Society International

  • Checking a hoof. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Examining teeth. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Holding still for treatment. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Equines are vital work companions. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Giving veterinary care. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Help for the ailing. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Far from anywhere. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • A woman and her baby. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

  • Rounding them up. Maria Teresa Guzzinati/Vida Digna

by Alexandra Rothlisberger

This August, HSI and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) teamed up again to provide much-needed care to working equines in Cusco, Peru.

After 10 days of hiking across the Peruvian Andes and camping far away from any signs of modern civilization, the team was able to reach communities that otherwise would not have access to veterinary treatment for their working equines.

On this journey, our group treated 707 of the horses and mules responsible for carrying tourists and their luggage up the route of Alto Salkantay in Cusco. They de-wormed the animals and vaccinated them against tetanus and rabies, provided dental and hoof treatments, nursed wounds, and did minor surgeries and castrations.

Our partner organization in Peru, Vida Digna—Asociación Pro Animales, was instrumental in developing this project. HSI supported Vida Digna’s initiative to provide an opportunity for local students to accompany our team across an eight-day hiking trip from Molleplata, through Pampa de Soray, to Huayraccmachay and Collpapampa.

Students from the Peruvian Universidad Scientifica del Sur and volunteers from Vida Digna designed easy-to-read triptychs narrating basic care for equines, which were distributed during lectures and after treatment to reinforce new knowledge.

HSI and HSVMA will continue to support this program to bring veterinary services to communities that depend on their equines for survival.

Alexandra Rothlisberger is Program Manager, Latin America & Caribbean, Companion Animals and Engagement, for HSI.

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