A Successful Return to Amorgos!

Elisa Geskou, the vet, and Jiannis, the farrier from GAWF (Anglo-Hellenic Animal Welfare Organization) returned to Amorgos at the end of May and stayed 2 days. Their visit was very successful! Last year they treated 17 animals. This year they treated 34!!!

Many farmers responded to the invitation extended by Philozoike to bring their animals to be treated by professionals, especially in the area of Aigiali (the northern tip of the Island) ,where the team was working for the first time. Various cases of skin mange, bacterial skin infection, horseflies (a big problem on the island) and ticks on equines were found and treatment was given. Owners were given advice about how to use insect repellents to keep the flies from bothering the animals.

In our shelter, where we now have 2 donkeys and a horse, they treated our donkey Daisy who was suffering from a skin disease and also seemed to have a very rotten tooth which was pulled. She is now a much happier old donkey. Her skin is healing and she put on some weight: she is finally eating regularly. The hooves of all the sheltered animals were trimmed and they all got an anti-fly medicine.

We are very grateful to all people who made this possible. First of all to Elisa and Jiannis of GAWF for their patience and all helpful counseling. Many thanks are also due to to Maria, the local veterinarian, for her assistance, and Evangelitsa Passari, who will soon be working as the AZI program coordinator in Amorgos. Last but not least wish to thank Nikos Vassalos, Panajotis Psichoios and Vangelis from Eligryson for offering rooms and breakfast!

GAWF members will return to Amorgos next Spring.

For more about this remarkable story, please read Elisa's own diary entry:

AMORGOS (29-30 May 2012)

The team travelled 9 hours on the boat to arrive to Amorgos on Tuesday the 29th, at 02.30 in the morning. We started our work in the north part of the island on the first day and in the central and south on the second day, both days working until dark. We treated 24 donkeys, 7 horses, 7 mules and a baby goat with a skin injury.

A big problem on the island are the flies biting the body of the equines, especially the legs of the donkeys, therefore we showed the owners (that hadn’t met us last year) how to use the insect repellents. Various cases of skin mange, bacterial skin infection, horseflies and ticks on equines were found and treatment was given. A sarcoid was found on a horse and advice on how to treat it if he wants was given to the owner.

Routine dental and farriery treatment was offered to all the animals needing it. Big hooks and overgrown feet were rasped back to normal, relieving the mouths and legs of the animals. A very rotten tooth was extracted at one of the very old donkeys rescued by the local welfare group. Last year we had trimmed the very long feet of a retired donkey in Chora that could barely walk and had given analgesics for long time in order to alleviate the pain coming from the foundered feet. This year, the same donkey arrived to have his long feet trimmed again, but he was a much happier donkey walking without pain.

Amorgos is another island (like Naxos and other neighboring islands) where hobbling is used on animals, in order to keep them confined in one area and not escape. Once again we informed the owners about the dangers of hobbling and tried to advise new ways of tethering an equine; to the old ones that don’t change their habits, we tried to convince them at least to use soft materials and place them on parts of the leg where they can cause less damage.

During the visit, Giannis also had the chance to show ways of training and riding horses to some of the young boys of the island who own pleasure horses and are not able to handle or ride them properly. This is not usually part of the Equine Team’s work, but having a properly trained and ridden horse makes a happier and healthier horse - which is our aim.

Anna from the local welfare group rasped some feet under the guidance of Giannis. The equines that they have rescued need some rasping all through the year, so it was a good opportunity for Anna to learn how to keep them trimmed if needed.

The team had been invited by the local welfare group “Filozoiki Merimna Amorgou” and Anna and Vasilis Apostolakis. Litsa Pasari from the welfare group and Maria Despoti, the local vet, were with us during our work around the island. We would like to thank all the above for the organizing and their hospitality, as well as Ioanna and Nikos Vassalos and also Panagiotis Psychogios, member of the welfare group, for offering us the accommodation.

It was a successful visit following last’s year’s visit, as we managed to treat most of the equines treated last year, plus many more new in other parts of the island, therefore keeping the promise we had made before leaving the island last year.