For breakfast, I had the waffles again.
In the morning, we practiced performing general exams on horses. I personally like the method of going from nose to tail when performing a physical exam, so I started by looking at the respiration rate (from afar before touching the animal to avoid a higher rate due to stress), eyes, nose, mouth, ears, throat, skin, pulse rate, body condition score, and temperature. After obtaining the animal’s history from the owner and deeming the animal healthy, we weighed the horse and measured the horse’s height using special measuring tapes. At the very end, we gave the horses an oral dewormer and an intramuscular tetanus vaccine. When giving the injection, we pinched the skin right next to the injection site to distract the horse, and injected the vaccine in the V-shaped area of flesh on the neck. Once the horses were taken care of, we dewormed the dogs, as well. Then, we went to a small creek on the property and swam for a little while, which was honestly one of my highlights from this trip! We also found soursop fruits, which are a common ingredient in desserts and drinks in Belize.
Dr. T also taught me and my partner how to age a horse. The first tooth is 2 years, and if the tooth next to it is half the size of the first tooth, this adds an additional year to the horse’s life, making it 3 years old, for example. I found this particularly interesting, as I’ve wanted to learn how to age horses for several years but never had the opportunity to work with horses before.
Once we left the horse farm, we returned to Midas briefly and had lunch at Hode’s Place. My roommate and I both ordered the buffalo chicken sandwich, which ended up being pieces of fried chicken smothered in barbecue sauce, which wasn’t even spicy. I will stick to the rice and beans at Hode’s from now on.
After eating we went to Dr. T’s sheep farm to vaccinate and deworm his sheep. I like vaccinating, so the time really flew by on his farm. The only breed he had that I was easily able to identify was the Barbados Blackbelly.
For dinner, we went to Authentic Flavors. I got the coconut breaded chicken with rice and beans. It came with a Mayan chocolate dipping sauce, and I was surprised that it actually was a good combination. We stopped by Crave before we left town, and I got a “Pineapple Smoozie” without milk (essentially a pineapple slushy) which was INSANELY good. You need to try it if you come to San Ignacio.
TIP OF THE DAY: **When working with the horses, talk to them as you approach them, and keep a hand on them at all times, especially as you are moving from the head to the rump. If you were to walk toward the horse and suddenly put your hand on their back, you could accidentally startle the horse and the horse could kick you, so please be careful around them!**
Today was extremely interesting! We started off our morning at a beef cattle farm giving the cattle an injectable dewormer and a vaccine (clostridium perfringens types C and D). These injections were given in the rump on either side, and since the skin is so tough, we had to inject cows quickly with a little force before pushing the plunger. I found that the cows were easy to work with, since they are in a chute and really can’t move around. Most of the time I don’t even think they felt the needle.
If my camera roll has taught me anything, it’s that I really REALLY love German Shepherd mutts. Is it just me?
For lunch, we went back to Hana’s and I got a cheeseburger and fries with a chocolate milkshake, which were both delicious!
After lunch, we went to two house calls with Dr. T. The first call was for a bull with a swollen prescapular lymph node on the right side, and a swollen front right shoulder and leg. The cow’s temperature was 102.9˚F, and the normal range for cattle is 100˚F to 103˚F, so this temperature fell at the upper range of normal (no fever). Dr. T determined that this was not arthritis, since more joints would be affected, and it could be blackleg, but there was no fever and more joints would be swollen. Therefore, Dr. T gave the bull a penicillin injection to fight the likely infection.
The second house call was a dog with a large wart on his right hind leg. Dr. T performed a local removal, and each student had a role. I held the light, while other students performed tasks from gauzing the incision site to clearing away garbage to suturing the incision. Once the surgery had ended, Dr. T gave the dog penicillin to prevent infection, vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding, a pain medication, and an antiinflammatory medication. Dr. T believed that the wart was likely turning into a tumor and that it would return, but he did not tell the owners this because he did not want them to worry. I found that interesting, as I know in human medicine in the United States, I believe there is a law that states you must tell your patient this kind of information. However, I agreed that Dr. T should not have told them, since there is no guarantee that the tumor will come back, or that the wart was a tumor since the owners did not want to biopsy it, so only time will tell.
For dinner, we went to D’Sky Bistro. I ordered the crispy chicken basket, which was a bit disappointing. The salad was amazing, but the chicken was dry. However, I ordered the strawberry cheesecake, which was the best piece of cheesecake I’ve ever had, so I highly recommend getting a salad and the cheesecake if you come here.
TIP OF THE DAY: **The cows enter a chute before you give them injections, so they cannot kick you or move too much. However, they still are able to move a little or potentially jump, so you’ll want to inject the cows as quickly as possible. Practice quickly pushing the plunger on the other animals when giving injections to prepare for working with the cows.**
Today we went to a horse farm, practiced some more physical exams, and gave the horses injections (the rabies vaccine and vitamin B complex) and dewormers. Since we have already performed physical exams on horses once before, this was second-nature to me. My partner’s and my horse’s vitals were all normal, and the only issue was that she had a lot of ticks in her ears, as did every other horse. Other than that, her hair was shiny and soft, her body condition score was a 7, and she was quiet, alert, and reactive. Once we performed all of these tasks on the horses, we were able to ride the horses through the jungle on a horseback riding trail. I’ve only ridden a horse one other time and this was honestly my favorite activity throughout the entire trip. For those of us who had very little experience on horses, we walked and trotted, while those with more experience also cantered. We were taught about all kinds of plants and animals while riding through the rainforest, and I went from not liking horses at the beginning of the day to wanting to own my own some day. The owners of the farm were very sweet and helpful, too, and after riding, they made us all chicken soup and brownies for lunch. We were also able to watch two stallions get castrated.
After lunch, we had the option of either going ziplining or cave canoeing. I went cave canoeing, which was so much fun. Some of the highlights were that we saw fruit bats, we learned about ancient rituals (I believe these rituals were Mayan) including sacrifices, and there was even a human skull on top of one of the sacrificial areas.
For dinner, we went to Guava Limb again, and I got the fettuccine alfredo and carrot cake, which were both amazing! There were raisins and pineapple chunks in the carrot cake, which both added a nice flavor to the cake. Guava Limb is one of my favorite restaurants in San Ignacio, so if you come to Belize you must try it.
TIP OF THE DAY: **If your horse is like mine and wants to pass all the other horses when riding, try to keep it from getting too close to the rumps of the other horses. My horse suddenly sped up when I wasn’t paying attention and ran right into the rump of the horse in front of her, and she ended up being kicked by that horse.**