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A Happy Yak is a Healthy Yak!
In the spring of 2009, a veterinarian from the United States, Dr. Lance S. Fox, ventured to climb to the the summit of Mount Everest. While at base camp, Dr. Fox dewormed some of the Nepalese yaks used to carry equipment from the lower villages in the Khumbu region. In July 2009, two months after successfully reaching the top of the world, Lance received information that of the 200 animals treated, the female yaks were making more milk!
This was made possible by the generous donation of Safe Guard® from Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. Not only did Dr. Fox administer the product himself but he also taught Phurba Tashi Sherpa, an 21-time Everest Summiteer, how to administer the Safe-Guard®. This ‘yak clinic’ made possible follow-up doses to be administered approximately 6 weeks later.
There are thousands of yaks living in the area but only about 2500 yaks live and work at the altitude and target area encompassed by this proposal. Veterinary care in this remote part of Nepal is almost nonexistent.
In April of 2011, Lance, along with fellow veterinarians Dr. Andrew Skidmore, Dr. Kristen Obbink, and Dr. Claire Windeyer, ventured up the Khumbu Valley of Nepal all the way to Everest Base Camp to conduct Healthy Yak clinics. The following Sherpa villages provided the strategic backdrop for each clinic respectively: Khumjung, Phortse, Macchermo, and Pheriche. Almost 800 animals were dewormed which included almost two dozen ponies and a handful of village dogs. At Pheriche we examined fecal samples, documenting that internal parasites are indeed present in the yaks and naks (female yaks).
The success of this trip would not have been possible without the assistance of the following organizations and people: Himalayan Experience Ltd., Mountain Experience Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Russell Brice, Agriculture/Veterinary Technician Bhesh Bahadur Ghimire, Guide Ram Chandra Sunuwar, and Nima Rita Sherpa. Enough dewormer was left at the villages for a follow-up dose to be administered approximately six weeks later and again in late summer/early fall when more yaks and naks will congregate in the lower villages.
Because of Mr. Ghimire’s active involvement in this project my hope is to see additional product(s) donated in order to further promote the health and well-being of both the animals and Sherpa people of the Khumbu. Stay tuned for consideration of a non-profit organization.
To see photos captured during this trip please click here.
Visit Lance's BLOG to read more!
Note - While Lance is grateful for Intervet's generous donation of Safe-Guard dewormer, he is fully responsible for its use in the course of his work. Intervet is not a sponsor of his project and has not reviewed, suggested or endorsed his use of Safe-Guard in yaks.
For More information about Lance Fox, Visit www.foxeverest.com