A group of intrepid motorbiking vets have raised funds to vaccinate hundreds of equines against African horse sickness (AHS) in a remote South African region.

The 2016 Vets With Horsepower team. Image from @VwHPCPD / Facebook.

Vets with Horsepower is organised annually by Derek Knottenbelt to raise funds for important equine and human charities around the world.

This year, nine senior academic and practicing specialist vets, along with their support crew, undertook an endurance motorbike trip of 2,500km over 12 days.

Serious threat

The group provided education events for horse owners and equine veterinarians along the way to raise funds for three South African charities:

  • Ethelbert Childrens Services
  • the Highveld Horse Care Unit
  • the Bizana Project

No dedicated veterinary support exists in the region despite the serious threat posed by AHS.

Significant start

As part of the trip, Vets with Horsepower spent a day with the Bizana Project, working with South African vets to provide AHS vaccinations and care for working horses and donkeys and advice for their owners.

Prof Knottenbelt explains: “The loss of a horse here means kids can’t go to school and it’s an enormous loss of income to the family too. The AHS threat is massive, but thanks to support from Zoetis, among others, we have been able to make a significant start with a vaccination programme this year.”

Vets with Horsepower have been motoring for six years and have so far raised more than £400,000.

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