Jamil the foal was suffering from an aggressive bladder infectionthat was causing bleeding and pain. In the midst ofthe coronavirus (Covid-19)travel restrictions, his owner wasn’t sure he could reach our centre in time to save his young horse.
The SPANA team first met one-year–old Jamilwhen he wasrushed to the SPANA centre in Chemaia, Morocco, in the back of a pickup truck. Earlier that morning, his owner,Youssef, had come to deliver his horses’ breakfast and was shocked to discover the floor of their stall covered in blood. After checking for external injuries, Youssef quickly realised that Jamil had been passing the blood in his urine. The foal was lethargic and clearly uncomfortable, kicking at his belly in a bid to ease the pain.Youssef knew he would need immediate treatment for whatever was causing the bleeding.
Due to Covid-19 however, Youssef was stuck.He needed a special licence from the localauthorityto bring his foal to the SPANAcentre, located more than twelve kilometres away from his farm. As is the case in most countries, movement in Morocco has been dramatically restricted and peoplenow require formal documentation if they wish to travel. It took two days for both Youssef and the pickup driver to finally get the permission that they needed to transport Jamil. At this point though, Youssef was concerned that the damage had already been done. He said,
‘Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of hope that Jamil would recover.’
Although the foal is still too young to work, his mother helps her owners to survive byploughing land, bringing produce to town and carrying water from the nearby well.Youssef has a lot riding on his mare and young Jamil, who will one day work alongside his mother, supporting Youssef’s extended family. Everyonehad been excitedly waiting forJamil’s birth and was thrilled to have a new addition to the farm.
At the centre, the foal was clearly distressed as he was led off the truck. SPANA vet Younesshad seen this condition before, diagnosing Jamil with a case of‘haemorrhagic cystitis’.This rare bladder infection in horses causes blood clots, pain, weight lossand lethargy. Left untreated, Jamil would eventually succumb to the aggressive infection.
The team first injected a painkiller to sootheJamiland allow them to work more easily. The blood clots would need to be removed immediately as they harboured the dangerous bacteria that were causing the infection. To do this, Younessused a local anaestheticto numb the area before inserting a catheter to flush the bladder with saline (salt water).Oncethis was done, he administered an antibiotic to fight the painful infection and a drug to stop bleeding and promote blood clotting. Jamil and his mother were led to a stall for a few hours, where the foal was given plenty of fluids and rest as he recovered from the procedure.
Before sending them home later that day, the team gave Youssef a five-day course of antibiotics and painkillers. They explained how to administer the drugs and how to help Jamil recover. As Youssef let his horses back onto the truck, he promised to follow the treatment plan dutifully.
A few weeks later,the team were finally able to visit Jamil at home to check on his recovery thanks to travel restrictions for essential workers easing. They were delighted to find a happy and healthy young horse with no signs of infection.
Youssef was deeply grateful to have Jamil back to full health and said,
‘Thanks to the dedicated SPANA team, my foal was saved from certain death.’