Dr. Kelsey Shacker and Dr. Katarina Purich

Animal Health Technology Instructor Volunteering in Honduras

Dr. Kelsey Shacker and Dr. Katarina PurichOver 100 million people around the world rely on working horses, donkeys, and mules for family survival. Many who find themselves relying upon these beloved animals do not have the means to provide basic health care.

From November 8 – 18, Olds College Animal Health Technology instructor Dr. Kelsey Shacker and Dr. Katarina Purich from Poplar Grove Veterinary Services Ltd in Innisfail, will be venturing to Honduras in Central America, to volunteer with the Equitarian Initiative, an organization that works with veterinarians around the world to deliver health care and education to improve the health, nutrition, productivity and welfare of horses, donkeys, and mules.

Equitarian Initiative is a not for profit entity established by equine veterinarians to sustainably improve working equine health by harnessing the passion and expertise of volunteer veterinarians.  They work alongside other international not for profit organizations and veterinary colleges to enhance both learning opportunities and availability of basic health care in areas of need in the United States and internationally.

“The animals we will be seeing are used daily,” explains Dr. Shacker.  Most owners do not have access to proper equipment, like halters or saddles, which can cause saddle sores, skin issues, and more.  We veterinarians will be working alongside other veterinarians from Canada and the USA in performing dental examinations and procedures, field surgeries, managing wounds, and educating owners on safety and nutrition, productivity, and welfare of horses.”

Kelsey and Katarina, along with other veterinarians from Canada and U.S.A. will be working alongside Honduran vet schools and local veterinarians to see over 300 horses. Their trip will begin with lectures to students at the Honduran Veterinary School, and from there they will branch out into the community to set up equine field clinics.

Prior to leaving for Honduras, the pair sourced a variety of donations to take with them, including fly masks, curry combs, dandy brushes, hoof picks, halters, and colouring books and stickers to share with local children. Kelsey and Katarina express their thanks to local horse owners and equine businesses for their support in finding equipment to donate.