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2013 - The 3rd Annual Stallion to Gelding Castration Day

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   This was our third year to host the Stallion to Gelding Castration Day and I was very grateful to the 18 equine veterinarians across the State of Georgia who volun-teered to participate by hosting a clinic at the reduced price of just $100 per horse. GERL would be paying $50 to the vets for each horse they castrated in addition to reimbursing them for the drugs they used during their clinic. I really wanted to beat our record of 141 castra-tions from last year, but would be happy with whatever number we could do. We had a lot of returning vets who had participated in the previous two years and were able to snag a few new ones as a result of a mass mail-ing that we had recently done to every large animal vet-erinarian in Georgia.

   If you're not a regular reader of the GERL newsletter you may be wondering why I make such a big deal out of such an event? That is simple. We have over ten million horses in this country and that number is grow-ing by approximately three hundred thousand every year! That is mind-boggling to me, but easily explains why you can buy a horse for as little as ten dollars to-day. If it is a stallion you can probably get it for free! Of course, who do you think typically buys a ten dollar horse or takes a free stallion? My experience for the past five years of "being in the trenches" of horse res-cue , they are usually living in squalor and are on wel-fare or some other type of government assistance. They have absolutely no idea how to care for a horse and un-fortunately for the horse, they seldom do.

   In an effort to reduce the number of horses bred and born every year, GERL created and offers two differ-ent castration pro-grams: our Stallion to Gelding Castration Day; and our other Stallion to Gelding program where GERL will pay $75 towards the castration of any stallion in Georgia. The owner must fill out an application and the cost is whatever their personal vet charges for performing castra-tions. This program is particularly beneficial for equine owners who do not have a trailer or the ability to transport their stud to a clinic. In addition, GERL also pays 100% of the cost of cas-trating every stallion picked up by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and offers this same service/support to local animal controls and law enforcement who agree to prosecute the owners of impounded equine.

   Most of my friends would not be the least bit surprised to hear me say that GERL's annual castration day is my favorite day of the whole year. After all, I am often referred to as "The Castration Queen" and I wear the title, proudly! But this year was a little different because I would be taking Sil-ver, my little GERL foster mini horse, to the clinic to be gelded. I have been fostering him since I picked him up in July and had been waiting for castration day which was the first step to getting him to his new "forever home", which was already waiting.

   I arrived at Countryside Animal Hospital in Jersey around 9:00 a.m. to find all of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Thenogenology students and vets already there and waiting to get started. Miss Anne arrived a few minutes later and Linda Kundell arrived shortly after her, pulling the GERL cargo trailer. We helped get the GERL booth set up with tables, chairs and all of the other necessities and went inside to get coffee and donuts.
By this time, several other clients had started to arrive with their stallions and I walked Silver over to an area in the large arena where he would be laid down (eventually). The two students who would be performing Silver's castration, Erica Rodriguez and Ukachi Ugorji, UGA Sophomores, were very excited about the opportunity to operate. Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken would be assisting the girls with Silver and he had a former college roommate from Illinois who was also a vet, standing nearby. I snapped a few pictures and moved on to the other groups of students who were getting ready to lay down their first patients. Dr. Billy Myers was assisting one group while Dr. Dan Carter and Dr. Robert Stawicki, Clini-cal Assistant Professor at UGA, assisted the other two groups.

   After hanging out at our booth for a while I thought I'd go back and check on how Silver was coming along, and much to my surprise, he wasn't even down yet! In fact, he looked exactly as I had left him earlier, not the least bit wobbly. Dr. Fayrer-Hosken was sitting on the ground beside Silver and coaching the two slightly flustered students while he injected the fifth or sixth dose of twilight drugs. By this time, all of the other students were on their second horse, but Dr. Fayrer-Hosken continued to reassure them that Silver would eventually go down. Silver had attracted quite an audience by now and several of them exchanged stories of the perils of castrating minis and donkeys, which was quite entertaining.
Finally, he did go down, but he sure didn't want to stay down! Dr. Stawicki came over and helped sit on him to keep him down while Erica and Ukachi prepared everything nec-essary to start the surgery. Erica actually performed the sur-gery and it was a beautiful thing. She did a marvelous job and the smile on her face was priceless! But, Silver wanted to jump up almost immediately after the surgery which had everybody surprised, except the veteran vets, of course. Fi-nally, he was allowed to get up and he was perfectly fine. In fact, you would have never guessed what he had just been through! Tough little creatures they are.

   Speaking of minis and donkeys, I spoke to Dr. Ava Talmage a couple of days after her clinic up in Jasper and she told me that out of the twelve stallions she castrated at her clinic, most of them were mini donkeys and they had a really long day! Tamma Trump helped at Dr. Ava's clinic and she men-tioned that they didn't get out of there until after 7:00 PM!
It is so gratifying to be able to help make something happen that not only benefits many Georgia stallion owners, but also benefits the UGA students. We received a very nice thank you card from all of the UGA Thenogenology students and it made me realize how much they look forward to this event every year. It makes me proud to be a part of GERL.

   GERL was not able to secure a large castration grant this year but tremendous thanks goes to Kel-Mac Saddle Club as well as to one anonymous donor who each gave large dona-tions earmarked for our castration program. We are very grateful to each of the participating veterinarians, their staffs, vet students and instructors from the UGA School of Veteri-nary Medicine, as well as the many GERL volunteers who came together to make this event a tremendous success by castrating 114 stallions this year!

Dr. Ava Griner Talmage, Amicalola Veterinary Services, Talking Rock
Dr. Billy Myers, Dr. Dan Carter & Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken - Countryside Animal Hospital, Jersey
Dr. Rhonda Veit and Dr. Ross Kittrell, New South Equine Medicine, Good Hope
Dr. Logan King, King Equine Vet Services, McDonough
Dr. Wanda Thompson, Royston Animal Hospital, Royston
Dr. Patricia Barnes, Union County Pet Hospital, Blairsville
Dr. Chandra Moxon and Dr. Mark Korb, Barnesville Ani-mal Clinic, Barnesville
Dr. Eric Sjoberg, Dr. Brittany Bell and Dr. Jennifer Ad-ams, - Maggie's Menagerie Veterinary, Ila
Dr. Jennifer Baker & Dr. Bill Baker, Equine Associates, Hawkinsville
Dr. Katie Lott-Ellis, Jacksonville Equine Associates, Waynesville
Dr. Lois J. Lassiter, Budget Vet, Conyers
Dr. Chandra Moxon and Dr. Mark Korb, Barnesville Ani-mal Clinic, Barnesville
Dr. Robin Barrow, Barrow Veterinary Services, Social Circle
Dr. Charles Graham, Cairo Animal Hospital, Cairo
Dr. Hagart, Town & Country Animal Hospital, Mt. Airy
Dr. McCord, Bowdon Animal Clinic, Bowdon
Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Gardner Veterinary Services, Means-ville
Dr. Donna Wilder, Macon County Vet, Montezuma
   


 
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