Improving lives for donkeys in Karpathos

On March 12th, our Equine Care team were pleased to return to Karpathos island last month after an urgent request from Dr Anna, Veterinary Surgeon at Animal Welfare Karpathos, to help an elderly donkey with overgrown hooves. The donkey’s elderly owner was concerned with the condition of her hooves, but with no access to a farrier on the island, the problem was getting worse. Our farrier, Tasos, trimmed the donkey’s hooves to relieve her from their severe deformity and chronic laminitis. As with most similar cases, overfeeding with high energy food contributed to her condition, while age and joint issues exacerbated it. After her hoof trimming, her movement was noticeably improved! Our team thoroughly examined her and gave her first therapy session, including painkillers, which, with regular hoof trimming will improve her quality of life. We are staying in contact with Animal Welfare Karpathos to arrange for further farriery care to be offered in the future.

Our team also provided veterinary, dental and farriery services to 12 donkeys across the island, the majority of which are used to transport their owners to areas vehicles cannot access. The practice of hobbling, a traditional technique to prevent animals escaping, continues to be observed on the island and is a basic welfare issue. Although the owners that our team met genuinely loved and cared for their animals, and the team observed no injuries, malnourishment or signs of overwork or abuse, it is evident that outdated techniques are still deep rooted. Whilst we continue to educate these owners on the legal and welfare implications of such practices, our aim is also to focus on the younger generation of equine owners, in cooperation with the local welfare group, to eliminate hobbling and improve animal welfare for the future years to come.

Many thanks to Animal Welfare Karpathos for organising the trip, Anna Katogyritis and Sophia Hiras who accompanied our team, Billy’s Rent A Car for sponsoring the hire car, George and Stavroula Katogyritis for offering meals and Calypso Bay Apartment Studios in Pigadia for offering accommodation to our team.

Dr Anna Katogyritis auscultating the donkey while Tasos trims her hooves
Tasos and Dr Anna providing treatment
Dental technician, Alkis, and Veterinarian, Kostas treating one of the donkeys in a village on the island
Dental treatment is over but some more attention would be nice!
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