Every day in Ethiopia, Obel the carthorse tirelessly hauls people and their goods to and from the market for six hours along busy, dusty and uneven roads.
In these conditions, it is easy for debris to enter a horse’s sensitive eyes. If it doesn’t leave the eye naturally, this can cause infection or other serious conditions. When Obel’s owner, Mengiste, noticed his horse’s left eye was looking painfully inflamed, he became deeply concerned.
Despite Mengiste’s best efforts to rinse Obel’s eye with water, the condition only worsened. Obel’s vision blurred as his sore eye continued to weep. He was in agony and disoriented, and risked stumbling as he pulled his cart over the cobblestone roads. He began frantically rubbing his face against his body to try to soothe his swollen eye.
Seeing the poor horse’s rapid deterioration, Mengiste took Obel to the SPANA mobile clinic for help. When our dedicated vets met Obel, the horse could barely keep his eye open. They carefully examined him and discovered he was suffering from a severe corneal ulcer, likely caused by dust, debris or ill-fitting equipment. Corneal ulcers are abrasions to the surface of the eye, which cause excruciating pain and, if left untreated, scarring, chronic inflammation, ruptures and eventual sight loss.
The team knew they needed to act fast to save Obel’s sight. After flushing his eye with saline, they gave the brave horse anti-inflammatories and antibiotics to treat the infection. The relief seemed almost immediate, as Obel became visibly calmer. Mengiste was advised to correct the position of Obel’s blinders to prevent rubbing against his skin. He was given anti-inflammatories to take home, and was shown how to gently apply the ointment until Obel was no longer at risk of losing his sight.
‘Thank you, SPANA. I was so worried about Obel. I knew that without treatment my horse may lose his eye.’ – Mengiste