Face of a brown horse with its head down and fur around mouth looking damp and sparse
Elise was in such agony that she couldn’t eat and was close to starvation.

Imagine having toothache so severe you can’t eat. Sadly, dental disease in working animals is all too common, and it can put their lives at risk.

Without regular grazing, an animal’s teeth can become overgrown with sharp points. Baby teeth can distort the growth of newer teeth if they are not lost in adolescence. If left unchecked, these problems can lead to exposed, bleeding sores, throbbing ulcers and horrific infections. When the pain becomes too much, animals can struggle to eat, ultimately leading to starvation.

But access to regular oral examinations is all that’s needed to stop its potentially life-threatening consequences.

You can help by donating today, so SPANA vets can stop working animals from going hungry because of agonising toothache. Your gift could help vulnerable animals access vital dental treatment.

Elise the working horse stands with her owner after receiving treatment for tooth extraction and dental disease

Elise’s story

Elise, a two-and-a-half-year-old working horse, transports water and goods for her owner, Abdelkarim, near Chemaia, Morocco.

One day, Abdelkarim noticed Elise was losing a lot of weight. He could see her rib cage sticking out of her body. She was lethargic and struggling to pull her cart. She had swellings on her cheeks that were slowly pushing through her delicate skin.

Abdelkarim knew Elise needed urgent treatment. Deeply alarmed, he took his horse to the SPANA centre in Chemaia.

Elise was examined by SPANA vet Dr Youness, who could see she was dangerously thin and on the brink of starvation. He examined her mouth and immediately saw what was causing her distress.

As a young horse, Elise hadn’t lost all her baby teeth – the caps were stuck in her gums, blocking her adult teeth and causing them to twist as they grew out. This put pressure on the bone socket, creating large bumps at the roots of her teeth, causing Elise’s cheeks to swell up and making chewing unbearable.

To free Elise from her pain, Dr Youness carefully sedated her and extracted her baby teeth caps, making room for her adult teeth to grow normally.

At a one-month check-up, the SPANA team discovered another baby tooth was now stuck in her gum, as well as a painful fractured tooth that had become infected. Dr Youness removed the cap and the broken tooth. Elise also received a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory injections to treat the infection caused by the broken tooth.

Happily, after one month, Elise seemed to be making a full recovery. She was no longer in pain and the swelling on her face had gone down. She was also back to eating normally and gaining weight.

Abdelkarim thanked SPANA for taking such good care of Elise, who is essential to his family’s survival.

We urgently need your support to save other working animals like Elise from the life-threatening consequences of dental disease. Will you please donate 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.