Rubbish dump donkey Mali

A simple vaccine could save working animals from this horrific disease.

Working animals around the world are at risk of tetanus when they carry out their important work. If not treated almost immediately, tetanus can cause an agonising death.

Animals working in dangerous and dirty areas, such as cities and rubbish dumps, are surrounded by threats on a daily basis. All it takes is a graze from a collision on a busy street or a cut from a sharp object for tetanus bacteria to enter an animal’s bloodstream and cause a catastrophic decline.

Whilst tetanus is extremely rare in the developed world due to routine vaccination, sadly it’s still all too common in many of the countries where we work.

With the help of kind supporters like you, we can save innocent animals from this preventable disease.

Click here to view our detailed report on our approach to battling tetanus.

Fleur the donkey

Fleur’s story

Fleur the two-year-old donkey transports waste from Bamako, Mali’s capital city, to the rubbish dump in Badalabougou. On the busy streets, she already risks her life dodging traffic while pulling a heavy rubbish cart.

This difficult and dangerous work supports her owner, Ali, and his four children.

At the dump, there is even more risk. Lurking in the piles of twisted metal and rotting rubbish are sinister bacteria that cause tetanus. The bacteria need only a tiny break in the skin to get into Fleur’s thin body and flood her nervous system with toxins.

It’s hard for Fleur to balance on the mountains of rubbish as she pulls her heavy cart. As she tried to steady herself one day, Fleur stepped on a nail sticking up from discarded wood, piercing the soft part of her foot.

Blood oozed out of Fleur’s foot as she limped. It was a small wound, but deep and excruciating – the perfect entrance to the body tetanus bacteria needs to cause catastrophic problems.

Limping through ankle-deep waste, the cart Fleur pulled felt heavier and heavier as she grew weaker from the pain. Every step stung and put Fleur at increased risk of tetanus. She needed urgent help before her deep wound became infected and put her life in danger.

Luckily, Ali had seen the SPANA mobile clinic, which visits the rubbish dump weekly, and he brought her there to get help.

Our vets got to work cleaning and disinfecting Fleur’s wound. They gave her anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the painful swelling. Crucially, they also gave Fleur a preventative and lifesaving anti-tetanus vaccination to stop the lethal infection before it could take over her body.

Ali was so grateful for the treatment Fleur received.

“Fleur is very important to me,” he said. “Thanks to Fleur, I can feed my children. I thank SPANA who are doing good work.”

Fleur the donkey receiving tetanus vaccine
Fleur receives her tetanus vaccination from a SPANA vet

For so many other animals like Fleur, small cuts can become a deadly problem. If not treated immediately, tetanus can cause an excruciating death over several days. After bacteria enters a wound, it can spread to the nervous system and lead to muscle stiffness and organ failure. Eventually, the animal won’t be able to breathe.

That’s why we’re so determined to reach as many animals as possible with lifesaving vaccinations and treatment before it’s too late. We can also help more animals in the long term by raising awareness of tetanus through community training. Please don’t let their lives be cut short by this awful disease.

With the help of kind supporters like you, we can protect these poor animals from this lethal but preventable disease with a simple vaccination.

Will you please donate today to save working animals from deadly tetanus?

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. We would be so grateful for whatever you can give to this vital tetanus appeal. Thank you.

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