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March 5, 2012

Empowering Haitian Veterinarians to Help Equines and Their Owners

Humane Society International


by Amelia Muccio

The goals of our latest workshop in Haiti were simple: teach Haitian veterinarians equine care to enable them to provide much-needed medical treatment and at the same time, show owners how to keep their animals healthy.

Lending expertise

Haitian veterinarians do not have in-depth training in equine medicine. Recognizing this educational opportunity, HSI sent a top-notch team to instruct them in dealing with issues such as parasitology, handling techniques and dental, wound and hoof care. The group included David Beard (equine behaviorist), Dr. Javier Donatelli (equine veterinary specialist), Chris Jonason (licensed farrier) and Brooke Vrany (assistant director of Days End Farm Horse Rescue). They conducted a five-day session for 20 local veterinarians, with three days spent in hands-on interaction with equines and their owners in Haiti’s Plateau Central.

Treating and teaching

When we arrived for the field clinic, the owners were lined up with their animals in eager anticipation of our help. In Haiti, working equines are vital to a family's economic stability and productivity. It is in an owner’s best interest to keep his animals as healthy as possible.

Donate now to support our efforts to help animals affected by disasters like the earthquake in Haiti.

Unfortunately, the equines we saw were in bad condition. Many were thin and most suffered from wounds as a result of uneven pack loading. Our team and the Haitian veterinarians vaccinated the animals, trimmed their hooves, cleaned their teeth and dressed their abrasions while explaining to the owners how to provide better care and avoid injuries.

Spreading lessons learned

As we continue to train Haitian veterinarians, their confidence grows, along with their ability to impact the health and well-being of animals in their communities.

As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for a lifetime.” These vets are Haiti’s animal welfare champions and with additional support, they will spread what they learn to their colleagues and neighbors. We hope to permanently improve animal welfare in Haiti by providing them with new skills and a greater understanding of how to treat animals and educate their owners. Contribute to our disaster response fund.

This training and video would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and Best Friends Animal Society.

Amelia Muccio is director of Haiti Project and Disaster Operations for HSI. 

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