A camel awaits treatment in Rajasthan

Mitul the camel was becoming increasingly lethargic and quickly dropping weight as a result of an unknown illness. Mukesh knew that his animal needed help quickly if the camel was to survive.

A camel and cart

When he met SPANA staff at our mobile clinic, Mukesh explained that his trusted camel Mitul was good-natured and well-behaved. The obedient camel had never bitten Mukesh or any members of his family, the 30-year-old day labourer proudly informed our vets. But despite his positivity, Mukesh was worried. Mitul had not been eating or drinking for several days and Mukesh knew that in the blazing heat of the north Indian desert, this could soon mean dehydration and death if left untreated.

Mukesh depends on his only camel for a meagre income earned from the transportation of construction materials and raw goods to markets. Every morning before dawn, Mukesh loads his camel cart with sugar, lentils and oil and sets out to start his day’s work before the sun gets too strong. As his camel is his only source of money, Mukesh is careful not to overwork his animal, only using Mitul for four hours a day.

The 16-year-old camel is well-loved by his owner and family, in particular Mukesh’s two young children, who dote on their father’s camel with treats and ear scratches. In addition to the income earned through his day labour, Mitul is critically important in carrying food and clean water home to the family and giving them a small degree of independence.

Camel and ownerMukesh was already aware of SPANA’s work, having heard about our services through friends and neighbours who had sought help for their own sick and injured camels. The team is well known to the community here and are a trusted source of information on how to best care for these valuable animals. At our mobile clinic, Mitul was found to be rolling on the ground and moaning in discomfort so the vets quickly came to the rescue yet again, administering intravenous fluids containing electrolytes to fight Mitul’s dehydration.

The vets knew exactly what the problem was – Mitul was suffering from a case of colic, abdominal pain caused by a blockage in the digestive track. This is a real problem for camels as their grazing sites are sometimes littered with rubbish. The intravenous fluids helped to rehydrate the lethargic camel while the vets administered anti-spasmodic medicine, magnesium sulphate and liquid paraffin to flush out the blockage.

They advised his owner to give the camel several days of rest while he recovered from his ordeal. His appetite would soon return and, with it, his energy and ability to work.

Mukesh was beside himself with relief, saying,

We are so very grateful to you, without SPANA our camels could not work and we would all be unemployed.

Within a matter of days, Mitul should start to make a full recovery. With Mukesh’s continued care and SPANA’s support, Mitul can look forward to many more years with his family.

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2 comments on “Mitul’s loss of appetite

  1. Janet Pether on


    I was going to donate to your charity but will donate elsewhere now, having seen this:


    Why are you wasting precious resources on commissioning this? These funds should be directed towards the animals people donating money to you think it is going to!

    What percentage of the donation goes towards the animals? I bet the founders would be outraged.

    • SPANA on

      Dear Ms Pether,

      I can quite understand your concern at seeing this and I do appreciate you giving me the chance to explain why PR like this is so important in our mission to get lifesaving help to more animals.

      Just a few years ago, SPANA invested very little indeed on raising awareness and fundraising activity. On the face of it, seeing a larger percentage of each dollar going direct to veterinary care makes sense. Yet, in reality we were failing to reach a new generation of supporters and, as a result, SPANA’s future was uncertain. Our donors were very elderly and very low levels of awareness of our vital work meant we were not attracting supporters at the rate we needed.

      We recognised that we must do something about this. Had we not acted, SPANA would today have faced a serious crisis. But, by investing just a little of the funds we receive into attracting new donors, we have been able to grow rapidly, more than doubling the number of donors we have. This has turned around the fortunes of the charity, enabling us to expand into new countries faster than ever before in our history. Thanks to this growth, SPANA now operates in over thirty core and outreach countries – a huge increase. This means we’re able to reach more animals in need and our future is more secure.

      There’s more to be done, of course. And thanks to our supporters, we plan to see an even more rapid growth over the next five years.

      By using just a small proportion of our income to reach new donors, we can make our donations go so much further, helping more working animals today and into the future. We’re a practical animal welfare charity and we’re always very careful about how we use your kind gifts, working hard to make sure that any money that doesn’t go directly toward funding animal care will ultimately help many more animals in the future.

      The working animal problem is huge, with as many as 200 million needing our help around the world – yet awareness of the issue is incredibly low here in the UK and in Australia. Media coverage always generates new support and can also lead to significant cash donations from people who’d never previously heard about SPANA, so it can be an effective way of helping raise much-needed funds.

      Wherever possible, we aim to secure media coverage that is directly focused on our projects in developing countries. However, sadly the media is rarely willing to consider stories that focus exclusively on animals overseas. Consumer surveys like this are a way for us to relate to issues in our lives – it’s one of the most cost effective ways we have of highlighting the short, painful lives led by working animas overseas.

      Consumer surveys like this are so very cost effective in getting a rarely-seen story like ours into the public eye. This particular story helped us to generate significant national and international media coverage, with the articles explaining SPANA’s work – we couldn’t have hoped for more exposure. Reaching such a large audience has helped to introduce many people to the plight of working animals and has led to donations from new supporters interested in their welfare.

      Raising awareness and letting more people know about the work SPANA does is so important, as we rely completely on the generous donations we receive from supporters like you to continue providing vital veterinary care for animals in need.

      Thank you once again for giving me the chance to explain.


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