DogDaze by Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star)

I am happy to report that that the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF), Compassion and Responsibility towards Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines and The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) have gotten together to together bring relief to the oft-neglected working animal in the city — the caritela horse. 

With the sponsorship of international animal welfare newspaper, animal people — the three groups were able to conduct an outreach program for Intramuros horses at the Intramuros PC Barracks on December 11, 2010

Dubbed “Love Ko Kabayo Ko”, the program aimed to register calesa horses, and offer free veterinary care for them. 

A dozen caritelahorses from Intramuros got free veterinary check-ups from horse vet Dr. Neil Tanquilut. Equestrienne, TV personality and PAWS volunteer Karen Pamintuan was saddened and shocked to learn from some of the cocheros that this was the first time that their animals were seeing a veterinarian.

“It’s good to see though that they were very eager to learn more about how to give better care for their horsers and were taking note of the tips being given to them,” Karen Pamintuan said. “A lot of the cocheros seemed to be genuinely fond of their horses.”

“The common problems seen were fungal infection in the hoof area or thrush and the absence of dental care for the horses,” said Dr. Tanquilut. 

He extracted blood (for CBC) and a fecal samples from each horse. AKF clinicians used a special measuring tape for the diameter of the horse’s body, which approximated the animal’s weight. The weights were then recorded and provided basis of how much dewormers to give on that day.
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The Intramuros equines were also brushed and groomed by some grooms from the Manila Polo Club brought over by CARA president, Nancy Cu Unjieng.Nancy, a horse owner, conducted a mini-lecture for the cocheros on basic horse care. “Nancy had all the horse-care reminders translated from English to Filipino. She tried her very best to deliver the lecture entirely in Filipino, which is not her first language. She did her job wonderfully,” commented Luis Buenaflor, director for operations of AKF, who was the lead organizer for the project

Here are some of the tips that were shared with the cocheros: 

• Horses’ teeth, unlike other animals’, grow continually and must be checked once a year. The teeth must be filed down by a vet or a professional once a year so that their mouths will be free from wounds caused by sharp teeth.

• Horses do not vomit and their intestines are much smaller compared to their bodies. If there is improper feeding, improper swallowing or if a horse is not dewormed regularly, this can cause problems and, eventually, great pain for the animal.

• A horse experiencing stomach pains must be checked by a veterinarian right away. You can tell that the horse has stomach pains if it sweats excessively, if it is uneasy, frequently digs its hooves into the ground and is constipated, or if it often turns its head to its side as if pointing to its stomach. While waiting for the vet, the horse must be walked and not just held stationary so that he can ease some of the pain while waiting to be given medical attention.

• Horses should not be made to work for more than eight hours in a day. They must be made to rest at least four times a day in a shaded area; they must be watered and cooled off.