British veterinary support a lifesaver for Ukraine’s horses

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A mare with severe lymphangitis is now being treated for free by a horse vet in Lviv. Her condition had worsened without the correct care.
A mare with severe lymphangitis is now being treated for free by a horse vet in Lviv. Her condition had worsened without the correct care. © UEF-CF

Hundreds of horses caught up in the Russian conflict in Ukraine have been able to benefit from veterinary aid, support and supplies co-ordinated and funded by members of British Equestrians for Ukraine, thanks to the initial efforts of a retired veterinarian.

Anatoly Levitsky, retired Ukraine Equestrian Federation team vet and in-house vet at Kyiv Hippodrome, assembled a network of vets who could help treat horses in the war-torn country when many vets were called into military service. The need for medication, equipment and dressings became increasingly urgent and Levitsky reached out to his contacts, including the British Equestrian Veterinary Association (BEVA) and the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

It was the collaboration between British Equestrians for Ukraine, in which BETA and BEVA are key players alongside British Equestrian, the British Horse Society and World Horse Welfare, plus the British Equestrian Veterinary Association Trust and the American Association of Equine Practitioners who answered the call for help.

More than £250,000 has been raised so far by British Equestrians for Ukraine, and the financial support and goods provided by the group has helped a great number of horses survive illness, wounds and trauma.

A team of veterinarians, including David Rendle, president-elect of BEVA and Dr Till Hörmann of Hörmann Equine, a mobile veterinary practice in Leicestershire, secured aid donations and negotiated the purchase of drugs and equipment at trade or vastly reduced rates using the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund. Their hard work secured goods worth more than £190,000 – enough for two full truck loads which were driven from Britain to Ukraine with the support of the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation.

In a bid to keep the veterinary network functioning throughout Ukraine, Levitsky has overseen the distribution of the much-needed medicines, dressings and equipment throughout the regions in need and stocks should last several months.

In a letter thanking David Rendle for the assistance, Levitsky said: “I’m grateful to you David, and all the organisations who made this possible, for not giving up when faced with the difficulties and for placing your trust in us. Also, for collaborating together, which can’t have been easy, to make a huge difference. It has been worth it, and you have not only brought relief to animals but given support to the people themselves by showing them that they are not alone and for as long as it takes.

“Many international organisations took part in providing food and evacuation of horses from the war zone, but only you came to the help of Ukrainian vets in treating the wounded, burned and traumatised equines. The two big trucks you provided with drugs and equipment was brilliant – so much so it wasn’t easy to unload, to sort and to distribute between different regions of Ukraine – but we’re so grateful,” Levitsky said.

The mare's owner could not pay for treatment and asked non-equine vets for help, but they did not know what to do, and her condition worsened. 
The mare’s owner could not pay for treatment and asked non-equine vets for help, but they did not know what to do, and her condition worsened.  © UEF-CF

Rendle said that without the generous support from individuals and companies, none of it would have been possible.

“As equine vets, we’re passionate about welfare and we knew we had to do something to help the horses as well as the people. It’s been a huge collaborative effort and the results speak for themselves with the number of lives saved and relief provided.

“However, the situation in Ukraine is ongoing and while we may have bought some time, for now, the need for help will continue. With winter not that far away, further support will be needed. Anatoly and the network of vets and volunteers have done some incredible work in the most testing of conditions and I call on everyone’s support so that we may continue to provide whatever help is required to the horses and people of Ukraine.”

British Equestrians for Ukraine is calling for further donations to help with the continuing need for veterinary and farriery support as well as establishing an in-country supply network for feed, forage and bedding as the colder months approach.

» Financial donations can be made via World Horse Welfare 

»  Donations of products such as veterinary supplies, feed, small bale forage, bedding, rugs and headcollars, can be made through BETA, which is co-ordinating transport. Contact: Claire Williams, claire@beta-uk.org, 01937 587062.

 

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