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International Programs Student Trip Reports
In keeping with Texas A&M’s Vision 2020 objective of graduating students with a global perspective based on global experiences, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences provides a limited number of travel stipends to students to help them gain international work/study experiences. The following travel reports give an overview of what our students learned while living, working, and studying abroad.
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Guatemala - Clay Whitten and Scott Fleming

Guatemala - Clay Whitten and Scott Fleming

Our trip to Guatemala was organized through the Texas Equine Veterinarians Association, the Equine Initiative, and World Horse Welfare.  Scott and I were joined by five veterinarians and one industry representative from across the country to comprise the team of eight that traveled to Guatemala.  We all met at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport on Saturday October 6, 2012 and began our 8 day journey to Antigua, Guatemala and the surrounding rural areas.  Our plane arrived in Guatemala City well after the sun had set for the day.  We loaded our belongings onto the top of a bus and began our trek to Antigua through the mountainous terrain of Guatemala.

We began our work in San Andres Itzapa, a hilly town not far from Antigua.  We set up our work site at a local soccer field and began seeing horses for the day.  We only saw fourteen horses for the day with the most prominent problems being chronic saddle sores and poor hoof care.  The World Horse Welfare group had saddlers and farriers on sight to correct these problems and provide a tremendous amount of knowledge to the locals.  We were also able to vaccinate and deworm the majority of the patients seen.  Our sight was just adjacent to a local school and the kiddos were very interested in the happenings around the soccer field.  As the day wrapped up we returned to Antigua for a time of fellowship and a great meal.

For the second day of work we returned to San Andres Itzapa and were greeted by 30 or sohorse horses waiting to be examined.  With more horses being seen, 55 total, the range of problems was much wider as well.  We even saw two horses with Vampire bat bites on their necks.  Both days at San Andres Itzapa we uncovered many horses with dental problems most of which required simple floating.  With this being the second day, there were many more locals that showed up to watch our work.

Wednesday we traveled to the town of Zaragoza.  It was a cloudy day with intermittent rain but that did not discourage us or the locals from treating their horses.  The horses seen in Zaragoza were of larger stature and in better body condition compared to the horses from the first two days.  One of the local farrier students being sponsored by the World Horse Welfare was from Zaragoza and was able to provide us an empty lot and a large tent to work from.  We saw eighty horses in Zaragoza and all were vaccinated and dewormed.  The ones that needed dental work were provided that service and many horses had hoof work performed on them as well.

We traveled further on Thursday to the town of Chimaltenango.  Our operation became more stream lined at this location.  We gathered all the owners around before any work was done to explain our purpose.  They were informed of the fatal consequences of West Nile Virus, Rabies, and Tetanus and their modes of transmission.  We floated more teeth in Chimaltenango than we had in the previous locations and we saw a mare with Melanoma and another mare with Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  There were also parade horses presented to us and the owners were insistent on showing them off before they were sedated for different procedures.

The last work day of our trip led us on a very long and winding road to the village of Las Escobas.  We saw 27 of the healthiest horses of the week and two mules while in the village.  One mule had an infected cheek tooth that was extracted using vise grips.  There were also several frisky foals that had to be roped for their vaccines and deworming.  As we left the village a double rainbow was spotted in the distance.  We all agreed that was a great ending to a very rewarding work week knowing that we were able to help the equids and people of Guatemala while also learning about their culture and way of life.



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