Return to Andros

On March 25 – 27th the GAWF/Animal Action team visited the island of Andros to provide veterinary, dental and farriery care to the island’s equines. Due to the pandemic, the team hadn’t been able to visit since 2019, so the majority of the working equines there were very much in need of their services.
 
Veterinarian Kostas, equine dentist Alkis, and farrier Tasos saw 70 equines, to address and record their problems, and provide continuity in their management. The general condition of the equines of the island was moderate; owners generally love their animals, but ignore basic principles of their management and care such as antiparasitic treatment and vaccinations. The team discussed in great detail with them so they understand the benefits of these treatments. The most common issue was overgrown hooves and laminitis due to inappropriate nutrition or overfeeding, and many had problems with sharp edges and hooks on their teeth; all of which were treated in the best possible way.
 
One of the most serious incidents was an elderly donkey, Aspasia, who had incredibly long and twisted hooves due to laminitis. She needed a huge effort from Tasos to cut down her hooves, improving her condition and consequently her wellbeing. More trimmings will be needed regularly to help the hooves return to their normal shape.

At the very end of the trip, another serious incident was found in an elderly mare in a remote village. She was wearing an unsuitable headcollar with a chain, which had been embedded in the skin of the face and lower jaw and had created a huge and very painful wound. The team carefully sedated her,cut and removed the chain, then treated the wound, gave antibiotics and a new soft harness in order to help the wound heal and prevent it from recurring. The local volunteers will continue helping the owner and checking on the animal’s condition.

During this outreach we also managed to visit the ‘Magic Mountain Shelter’, where our team offered full treatment to the 7 donkeys, a mule and a horse that Sandy Britton keeps under her care (as well as 25 dogs and 20 cats!). You may have seen Sandy recently feature on Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild! The team worked well into the evening, treating equines by torch light as the sun set.

It was a very demanding outreach. The team travelled long distances, visiting 26 villages to provide care to as many animals as possible. 
 
The help they received throughout the trip from the group of volunteers on the island, John Luke, Irini Kontorousi, Petros Vasiliadis, and Julia Joyce, who organised the programme and facilitated the team’s work was invaluable. Without their help it would be impossible to reach and treat all these animals.
 
Our special thanks to Fast Ferries for their genuine interest in helping our work by offering free return ferry tickets for all team members and their vehicle despite the workload of the 3 day holiday period! The Municipality of Andros for undertaking the cost of our team’s meals and needs for petrol around the island. The tavernas ‘Stamatis Restaurant’ in Batsi and ‘Ta Souvlakia tou Gavriou’ for being so flexible and helpful, Christos Profilis from Blue Dolphin Hotel in Batsi for his low price offer for accommodation, Frantzeska Tzioti petrol station in Korthi, and last but not least, to Vangelis Loukisas from the Andros Film Club for following our outreach team to take photos and videos of our work!
 
Several owners showed their appreciation by very kindly donating to our organisation. While we should note that all the owners of the animals were very hospitable, waited with patience, showed great thanks for our services, offered snacks and treats to the team and asked them to visit the island again next year.
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