Equine Care on Amorgos: A Decade of Dedication

On June 17th and 18th, after the request of local welfare group Animal Zone International, the Equine Care team of Animal Action Greece visited the island of Amorgos, just like every time for about ten years now, to provide veterinary, dental and farriery care to the island’s equines.

Amorgos is the easternmost island of the Cyclades island group. There are approximately 2.200 residents in the Municipality of Amorgos, which earn their living from agriculture, livestock, fishing and maritime professions, as well as from tourism.

The veterinarian Kostas, the equine dental technician Alkis and the farrier Tasos offered their services to 33 equines which are used for various agricultural and transport tasks. 23 donkeys, 6 mules and 4 horses, in Lagkada, Ormos Aigialis, Tholaria, Chora and Katapola.

Since there is no dental technician or farrier on the island, almost all equines needed dental and farriery treatment. Advice was also given on their proper diet, as well as appropriate ways to keep them from running away without the use of “pastoura”. “Pastouroma”, the phenomenon of hobbling is still obvious on the island, especially in the older generations’ habits; our team educated them once again on the problems caused by hobbling and informed on the relevant existing law; the way to see changes in this habit, is to convince the younger generation.

Tabanus flies, horseflies and stable-flies sucking blood were some of the equines’ problems encountered in several animals, which were treated with ecto-antiparasitic medicines, while veterinary advice was given for the prevention.

Two donkeys were found with chronic laminitis due to incorrect feeding and advice was given to remove the grain from their diet.

Interesting to see that a big percentage, 45% of the equines were found overweight during this outreach and 15% underweight, showing that there is need for more training regarding feeding on the island.

During their stay, the team also visited Animal Zone International equine shelter, where they offered their services to the elderly “residents”, five donkeys and one mule. The team even had to work in the rain to get in time all the animals treated. The Animal Zone equine shelter offers great relief to the aged, abandoned or mistreated equines of the island, as this is where they can find love and care for the rest of their life.

Our team was impressed by seeing the difference in Napoleon, the donkey which, last year, was treated after having just arrived, abused, underweight and suffering with a big wound on the leg; this year the wound had completely healed and, although very old, the donkey looked definitely stronger and happier.

Kokkinia, one 46 year old retired mule, in between her worn down teeth and multiple other dental problems, had an extremely overgrown molar, which was taken down with motor equipment in order to relieve her from the pain and discomfort.

Taking into consideration our actions to help microchip the working equines in Greece, we were glad to microchip four more animals during this outreach.

We would like to express our special thanks, for their sensitivity, to Seajets for offering free return ferry tickets and to Blue Star Ferries for offering 50% off in the ferry tickets’ cost for our equine team’s members; Anna Studios and Galini pension for the team’s free accommodation, Thomas rent-a-car for providing a car for the team’s transportation, the “Kamari” restaurant in Katapola and “Kostaras” restaurant in Aegiali for covering part of the team’s meals.

We were glad to cooperate for the first time with the Municipality of Amorgos and would like to thank them for taking over the petrol cost for the team’s transportation around the island and for finding the sponsorships mentioned, through the kind Deputy Mayor Popi Despotidi.

We were delighted to receive all the offers and work together with everyone mentioned above; it is extremely important to have everyone’s cooperation, as this way a lot more can be achieved.

Of course, let’s not forget to express our big thanks to the local welfare group, Animal Zone International, which covered part of our team’s meal and to their amazing coordinator Litsa Passari, who, for ten years now, undertakes with the same passion the organizing of the action on the island of Amorgos and takes care of all the little details before and during the visit.

Please see relevant links from Animal Zone International here and here.

We should last, but not least, note that the owners of the animals were very hospitable, waited patiently, showed their gratitude for the services of the three professionals, offered bottles of roasted raki and asked us to repeat the action next year, which they have embraced from the first moment.

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