In these unprecedented times, we ask you to take a minute to consider working animals around the world that have to endure the horrifying effects of malnutrition. In developing countries, many animals struggle to sustain themselves on sparse pasture and little drinking water, especially in times of crisis. The lethal combination of malnourishment and dehydration can cause agonising colic and quickly put the lives of working animals at risk.
Bullo’s life is hard. Every day, he walks for miles over rocky, uneven ground that has dried up from frequent drought. He then toils for eight hours helping his owner, Mr Hamu round up cattle in Maun, Botswana.
When his trusted horse suddenly collapsed one day, unable to move and clearly in a great deal of pain, Mr Hamu was distraught.
If Bullo couldn’t work, he would no longer be able to afford to keep him.
When our dedicated vets arrived, they carefully examined Bullo and diagnosed him with a severe case of spasmodic colic. He was highly dehydrated and malnourished from the drought after feeding on dead grass and difficult to digest plants. The blockages in his intestines were causing excruciating pain.
The vets immediately eased Bullo’s pain with anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic injections. Bullo had spent a prolonged amount of time lying on his side, which can cause serious health problems in horses. The resourceful team fashioned a hoist to help support his frail legs, but he just couldn’t stand on his own so they allowed him to rest. Whilst resting the team fed Bullo gradual, small amounts of fresh water and nutritious food, and provided him with blankets.
The following morning, Bullo’s heart rate had decreased and he was breathing more easily. The vet team managed to lift him with the hoist and, thankfully, this time his legs were able to support his weight. Over the following weeks, SPANA vets continued to visit Bullo to monitor his condition. The horse was soon eating, drinking and having normal bowel movements again.
Mr Hamu was grateful for SPANA’s work, saying ‘Without your help, Bullo would have suffered and died. I don’t know what I would do without my horse.’
Animals like Bullo are now more vulnerable than ever as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. With depleted income, many owners can barely afford to provide food. Starving animals are forced to eat whatever they can find among the rubbish – sometimes even plastic bags. This can cause agonising colic and intestinal blockages. Already weak, they are even more susceptible to widespread issues such as infectious disease.
SPANA is committed to easing the suffering of malnourished animals through sustainable emergency preparedness schemes. By providing high-energy feed for working animals, essential medicines, or surgery to remove painful obstructions, we can help end the needless suffering caused by malnutrition.
To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.