Every day, thousands of working animals endure the unbearable pain of lameness, preventing them from standing or moving normally. Sadly, it is one of the most common conditions affecting them today, worsened by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Life for these animals has become much more difficult over the past 18 months, as they work harder to support their communities. Lockdowns and marketplace closures have led to animal owners losing their incomes. Consequently, vast numbers of working animals have faced malnutrition, with desperate owners unable to afford food. Emaciated animals are at greater risk of lameness as they become weak and more prone to injury.
If left untreated, lameness can become so severe that animals are permanently debilitated and unable to work – and in the worst cases, left to face a harrowing death.
Kotial the 17-year-old carthorse transports water barrels in Boghé, Mauritania, in the scorching heat, providing a lifeline to her owner, Omar, and the local community.
An increase in demand during the COVID-19 crisis meant that Kotial had to deliver larger quantities of water than she normally would. Most locals had also lost their 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 could barely 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, our team found her source of pain: a metal nail had become lodged in the sensitive middle part of her hoof. If she had 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 started to walk more comfortably than she had in weeks. Concerned with how thin Kotial was, our team gave her an anti-parasite injection and she recovered in our stables for five days. Omar was also given enough feed to help Kotial on the road to recovery, along with advice on hoof care, cart balance and safe levels of loading and work.
For every working animal like Kotial, there are thousands more who are suffering from crippling lameness and who desperately need your support.
As the pandemic continues, animals are more vulnerable than ever. Our vets and farriers are on the ground treating helpless horses, donkeys and mules suffering from lameness.
With your donation, our expert vets can provide vital hoof treatment, easing the suffering of working animals worldwide. Your support can also help us to provide emergency feed and medicine for overworked and malnourished animals like Kotial. In most instances, we are these poor animals’ only hope of receiving veterinary care, and we can’t do this without you.
To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.