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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