A working donkey getting its teeth checked by a SPANA veterinarian with a boy holding the donkey and its ropes
Sami couldn’t eat and grew despondent after food became lodged in his oesophagus.

Sami’s story

Life should have been easier for Sami the donkey. After years spent toiling in the fields under the hot sun in Mali, he was spending his later years performing lighter tasks for his owner, Aishata, a market worker in Ségou.

The first distressing sign that something was wrong was when Aishata noticed that Sami was drooling excessively. He wouldn’t eat and appeared anxious and despondent.

Worried that her usually happy donkey was in pain, Aishata took him to SPANA’s mobile clinic, which was visiting the market in Ségou. After an initial examination, the SPANA vets identified that Sami had ‘choke’, a serious condition where food becomes lodged in an animal’s oesophagus (food pipe). If untreated, a blockage like this can lead to pneumonia and, in severe cases, it can rupture the food pipe and be fatal.

The vets acted quickly and managed to soften the food debris so it could pass safely into Sami’s stomach. He was also given anti-inflammatories to ease the pain and inflammation caused by the condition. During his treatment, our vets identified the main cause of Sami’s problems: overgrown teeth.

Sami could no longer use his teeth to chew his food properly, causing it to block his food pipe. To stop this from happening again, all Sami needs is to have his teeth filed down regularly to stop painful sharp points forming. Our SPANA vets can do this fairly easily using a tool called a rasp.

Sami’s case is not an isolated one. Working animals across Africa are suffering and at risk of conditions like choke, colic and even starvation, simply because they do not have access to veterinary dental care. That’s why your support is more important than ever.

No working animal should go hungry because of poor dental health. Will you please help us to continue our vital work and provide lifesaving dental treatment with a kind gift today?

Thank you

Your generous donations will be used for projects such as those featured in this appeal and where they are required the most to help animals in need. Thank you so much for your support.


To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.