Fantu, a six-month-old foal from Angolea, Ethiopia, follows his mum Izara everywhere she goes. Izara provides him the comfort, safety and love that he needs. Sadly, twice a day the young foal sees his mum carrying 100 litres of water on her back, struggling more than normal as he trails after her. Izara has to carry water for her owner’s cows but she can’t stop coughing. Her whole body heaves as she struggles to inhale. Izara’s airways are so constricted by mucus that it’s like she is trying to breathe through a straw.
Worryingly, more working animals like Izara are developing infectious diseases in the current Covid-19 crisis, especially respiratory ones. At the watering hole Izara travels to each day, weak and wheezing working animals huddle together while their owners pick up supplies. As they graze together and interact, contagious respiratory diseases quickly spread.
Now, because of the pandemic, respiratory diseases are reaching epidemic proportions. Healthy and unhealthy abandoned animals are mingling even more as they desperately search for food or water. With a lack of food and veterinary care, animal welfare standards are low, as are the immune systems of working animals. As a result, they are more at risk of developing diseases.
Without treatment, Izara’s lungs could grow weaker. Bacteria could then take hold and lead to her developing pneumonia. She’d be unable to work and to look after her foal, who would be at high risk of getting pneumonia too – and have an even lower chance of surviving.
When Izara’s owner Kassahun noticed her symptoms, he knew he had to act quickly. He’d heard the SPANA mobile clinic was coming to nearby Angolea and walked three kilometres with Izara and Fana to reach it. After examining Izara, our vets diagnosed her with a bacterial respiratory disease. They gave her antibiotics in some feed and an anti-parasite treatment, as parasites can be another cause of respiratory disease.
The SPANA team asked Kassahun to continue adding antibiotics to Izara’s feed for five days and quarantine her away from healthy animals until she recovered. Very sadly, this meant he had to Fantu separate from his mum because the foal was at risk of catching the contagious respiratory infection.
Kassahun was so relieved that his beloved horse had received treatment and would get better. ‘During Covid-19 we were worried that SPANA may discontinue their services, but you are here to help,’ he says. ‘Thank you very much for all your support, even in difficult times like this.’
More working animals like Izara need our help. But with your support, we will stop these diseases in their tracks and prevent working animals suffering a debilitated life.
To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.