On April 27th-28th 2017 we sent Michael Gaganis and Giannis Brastianos, one of our great Equine Project duos, to visit the island of Naxos and examine as many working equids as possible, treating any that needed our help. One of the issues in the area is that people have cut down on the use of their working equids and, as a result, we are beginning to see increasing signs of neglect.

One of the hardest and saddest cases they were faced with was that of a male horse that had been suffering from chronic lameness due to founder (dropping down of the lowest bone in the leg when it is no longer supported properly within the hoof) in all four limbs, as well as a very old fracture that had never healed properly. Giannis trimmed the animal’s hooves in a way that would provide some relief. In consultation with Michael, he offered the owners advice on how they could improve the quality of their horse’s remaining life. But the truth is that the animal must have been in a great deal of pain for some time. We didn’t see it in the early stages of its disease and now things may not improve much. Michael felt he should break the news that euthanasia should be considered in this case. Often, owners need time to come to terms with this and agree to it. It’s always a very delicate issue to handle.

While in Naxos, Michael and Giannis took the opportunity to educate some owners on the negative impact of hobbling their animals, and in a couple of cases they managed to persuade them to stop! Many thanks to Nancy Whitney for organizing the outreach, and the Hotel Grotta for the accommodation.

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