Eight-year-old Bullo works as a gharry horse in the bustling town of Debre Zeit, 30 miles south-east of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Six hours a day, every day, he hauls people and their goods to and from the busy market. The life of a gharry horse is tough and exhausting, and as a result Bullo suffers from lameness in one of his front feet.
But when Bullo fell ill with serious abdominal pains, it meant that he couldn’t work at all for his owner, Fikru. Fikru was distraught when he saw his horse in pain. He was sweating and rolling around on the ground:
‘He kept biting and kicking at his abdomen. I didn’t know what to do as I could not afford to get the vet to look at him. I became so worried because I have to work to feed my wife and three children. Then my friend told me about SPANA, so I walked Bullo over there to see what could be done.’
At SPANA’s permanent clinic in the town, the vet quickly diagnosed that Bullo was suffering from colic. Bullo was dehydrated and had been feeding mainly on straw that’s hard to digest so there were painful blockages in his intestines. The state of his unrasped teeth hadn’t helped his condition, either. These were sharply pointed, which meant that Bullo couldn’t chew his food properly.