Aziz is a hard-working camel helping his owner Bashir earn a living taking tourists on rides across the desert in the Tunisian town of Douz. Thanks to Aziz’s relaxed attitude around people, Bashir also uses him during weddings to transport the bride and groom in style. In a faltering economy hit hard by a dwindling number of tourists, Aziz is a critically important lifeline and source of income not only for Bashir but for all of Bashir’s family and community as well.
They have been working together for more than 20 years now so Bashir considers Aziz family. Over the summer, Bashir noticed that Aziz – who has a sweet tooth and loves dates – was starting to damage his teeth when chomping through the hard stones inside the fruit. This meant that he wasn’t able to properly chew other foods or absorb the important nutrients as a result. Upon closer inspection, Bashir saw that Aziz’s teeth were growing crooked and were razor-sharp, causing painful lacerations to Aziz’s cheeks and tongue.
Luckily, Bashir heard that SPANA’s mobile clinic was coming to Douz and he brought Aziz along. The clinic’s head vet took a history of the animal and asked Bashir for more details about his diet. He used a metal dental gag to hold Azizs’ mouth open so they could have a thorough look at his teeth. It was obvious that dates were the cause of the problem and had wreaked havoc on the camel’s teeth.
Using a mechanical tooth rasp the vet team rasped the sharp edges down on Aziz’s teeth. Much to Bashir’s relief, the effect was immediate and Aziz was once again able to chew comfortably without pain.
The SPANA vet advised Bashir to ensure yearly dental check-ups for Aziz at the SPANA clinic and recommended he prevent Aziz from eating so many dates. He also reiterated the importance of a balanced diet for Aziz as well as keeping him well hydrated in the summer, when Tunisian temperatures regularly rise above 40 degrees. Bashir thanked the SPANA vets, later saying “I’m really happy with this work and I appreciate that SPANA comes here every week to care for our camels.”