Before the pandemic, Kotial the 17-year-old carthorse transported building materials around the desert town of Boghé, Mauritania, in the scorching heat. When Covid-19 forced construction sites to close, Kotial switched to transporting water barrels, providing a lifeline to his owner, Omar, and the local community.
Although Omar was grateful to have found work, Kotial had to deliver large quantities of water to meet an increase in demand. Most locals had also lost their sources of income and were unable to pay full price.
Omar struggled to afford the food his hardworking horse desperately needed.
Kotial had become so malnourished that she barely had enough strength to carry the large barrels home. One day, the mare slowed down significantly and struggled to put weight on her leg. She stumbled as she walked and showed clear signs of discomfort. Her owner was beside himself with worry, as Kotial was in a great deal of pain and urgently needed treatment.
Fortunately, SPANA’s Boghé centre has remained open during the pandemic, so Omar came to us for help.
Upon examining Kotial, the SPANA team soon found her source of pain: a metal nail became lodged in the sensitive middle part of her hoof. If she continued to work in this state much longer, chronic lameness would have led to permanent damage.
Our vets treated Kotial with a much-needed course of antibiotics and painkillers. They gently removed the nail, cleaned the wound, then trimmed and bandaged the unbalanced hoof.
Immediately, Kotial’s condition improved, and she started to walk more comfortably than she had been in weeks. Concerned with how thin Kotial was, our team gave her an anti-parasite injection and expert care as she recovered in our stables for five days.
Kotial’s owner was given advice on hoof care, cart balance and safe levels of loading and work. The team also provided him with enough feed to help Kotial on the road to recovery.
Thankfully, Kotial was brought in before she endured the misery of infection or the hopelessness of incurable bone damage.