When Sami the horse was struck by a speeding car in Morocco, her owner was heartbroken and thought she would have to be put down. Read how SPANA vets intervened and eased the suffering of both the animal and owner.
As Sami stepped out in to an intersection after a long day pulling her cart, she didn’t notice a car hurtling towards her until it was too late. The horse reared in the oncoming beams of the headlights, trying to veer to the right to avoid impact. But the vehicle struck the horse’s chest and right shoulder, throwing her to the ground with a sickening thud.
Sami’s owner Said, who was driving the cart, was shocked; he shakily climbed out of the overturned cart, almost too scared to survey the damage. Not only was Said very attached to his animal, but without her, he had no means of feeding his three children back at home. The initial relief he experienced at seeing that Sami had survived was immediately replaced by horror. In the dimming lights of the car, Said could make out deep wounds running down Sami’s chest and legs. Blood and broken windshield glass covered the ground around the dazed animal. While the driver of the car was unhurt, the bonnet of the car had been completely crushed upon impact. A number of witnesses to the accident remarked to each other how incredible it was that the horse and driver had survived at all.
Although Said managed to get Sami to her feet, he knew that every second was critical as the horse was losing so much blood. Thanks to a Good Samaritan with a truck, Sami got a lift to the SPANA clinic alongside Said, who kept her calm during the journey. Said called ahead to warn the SPANA team of the accident, and they were there to meet him at the doors to the centre. Despite his panic, Said was deeply grateful for the calm and capable intervention of the vets – without them, his horse would surely have died from her painful injuries.
Struggling to walk, the horse hobbled to the treatment area where the SPANA team removed the glass and debris from her wounds before gently disinfecting the area. They staunched the flow of blood and sutured the cuts before giving her a tetanus injection. Given the awkward location of the injuries, the team realised that normally wrapped bandages wouldn’t adhere to the suture sites properly. Instead, they got creative, using twine to pin the bandages together so that it wouldn’t slip from the animal’s shoulder.
Sami was still in shock and needed time to rest and calm down. Our vets administered strong painkillers to ease her suffering, before leading her to a cool, quiet stall for the night. Said was teary-eyed as he thanked the vets. He knew that if they hadn’t been there to intervene, Sami’s open wounds would have become badly infected, affecting nerves and muscles before possibly killing her.
Sami became a fast favourite of the stable staff at the centre. Every day she was led out of her stall for a bandage change, and after 10 days of observation and care, she was finally ready to have her stiches removed. When Said came to collect his horse, he was given road safety training and encouraged to wear a reflective vest when working at night. The team also recommended attaching reflectors or even CDs to the back of his cart to catch the light of oncoming vehicles and improve visibility.
Car accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence across Morocco with thousands of animals injured or killed each year. SPANA vets are working hard to reduce the incidence of these easily avoidable injuries, speaking to owners at every mobile clinic and market to explain how simple measures like reflectors can mean the difference between life and death for their working animals.
Thanks to SPANA’s timely intervention, Sami is expected to make a full recovery with time and proper care.