A lifetime of backbreaking work with no hope of retirement. That’s the heart-breaking reality for most working animals in the countries where SPANA operates.
Many won’t make it to older age. Of those who do, almost all will experience excruciatingly painful, stiff and swollen joints. Agonising arthritis causes their bodies to seize up, and on some days, they can barely move – but still they must work on.
Sadly, there is currently no cure for arthritis. A lifetime of pulling heavy loads means that working animals are more at risk of developing this cruel disease. But with your support, we can provide early diagnosis, education for owners and careful management of the condition.
Shada the mule works in Marrakech, Morocco. Life there is extremely tough for working animals. At an age when she should retire, daily life for Shada has only grown harder. Day in, day out, she carries heavy loads of construction materials in oppressive 40-degree heat for her owner, Mustafa, and his family.
Some days, because of an unbearable flare-up of arthritis, Shada can hardly move, let alone haul a heavy cart along the hard, dusty roads of Marrakech. With no rest, her joints become tender, hot and inflamed and she faces crippling lameness.
For working animals, like humans, arthritis can be an invisible condition. But, unlike us, these animals cannot voice their pain. It is deeply saddening for any animal lover to imagine what they must endure every day.
Shada’s movements became more laboured as her joints grew stiffer. The soft cartilage between her bones was breaking down.
Luckily, our team of trained vets were on hand. When Mustafa brought Shada to see them at the SPANA centre in Marrakech, they gave her a full physical examination, feeling her joints for any abnormalities. The affected joint was swollen and tender and an X-ray confirmed that Shada was suffering from arthritis.
Our vets prescribed pain relief and a two-week course of anti-inflammatories to ease her discomfort. Mustafa was advised to let Shada rest for one to two weeks before gradually introducing her back to work, with more breaks and a decreased load. SPANA vets also stressed the importance of regular hoof trimmings, proper shoes and an adequate cart to help manage Shada’s arthritis.
Sadly, there are still many more older working animals like Shada who are suffering from this debilitating condition.
Please, if you can, send a kind gift today to help older animals receive the veterinary care and support they need.
To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.