SPANA vet handing owner new bit for brown donkey

Poorly fitting equipment can cause discomfort and infection for working animals the world over. Read how SPANA vets treated Zrika the donkey when he was brought to our Moroccan centre with painful donkey harness and bit injuries.

Zrika the donkey and his concerned owner Hamid El Mansouri arrived at our Casablanca, Morocco centre first thing in the morning having set out before dawn.

Hamid and Zrika work long hours, wading through the city’s scrapyards looking for metal, often labouring under the baking Moroccan sun in temperatures as hot as 40 degrees.

Zrika's owner brings him to a centre for treatment Although Hamid just about supports his wife and four children with the income from this, he struggles to be able to afford the right harness equipment to make Zrika’s work more comfortable – a common problem in all the countries where SPANA works.

‘Making do’ is sometimes all people can manage. The rough rope harness and rusty wire bit had begun to cut in to Zrika’s chest and the corners of his mouth, making it painful for the donkey to eat, drink, or walk long distances.

Hamid knew that he couldn’t let Zrika suffer, but worried how he and his family would make do if they stopped working for too long. He had to seek help and thankfully knew where to turn, making the seven kilometre journey from his village to get the help of SPANA.

Our SPANA Centre vets first examined Zrika and got to work cleaning and treating the wounds to soothe his pain. They recommended 15 days of rest during which Zrika’s wounds could start to heal, and suggested more frequent work breaks for both owner and donkey when Zrika was back on his feet.

Exchanging Zrika's uncomfortable bitFinally, the vets explained to Hamid the importance of using the right equipment and gave Hamid a modern, padded harness and a smoother, more comfortable bit. Hamid was relieved to receive such helpful advice and care and explained his struggles in looking after Zrika:  “I tried to look after my own animal in vain for lack of means and fortunately SPANA is there to teach me how to take better care of him.”

Armed with a better understanding of how to prevent similar injuries from happening in the future, Hamid headed home, confident in his ability to better look after his donkey who means so much to the entire family.

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