Donkeys queueing for treatment at SPANA centre in Mali

Samba spent many years hauling carts in Senegal. Regarded as too old by his owner, this frail horse was walked miles to horse traders on the border with Mauritania. Mauritania is a desperately poor country. Most people can only afford the very cheapest animals, which they rely on for their livelihoods.

Skinny and weak, with painful harness wounds, Samba was sold at a cheap price to a new owner. But no matter how much he was given to eat, he kept losing weight. By the time he arrived at SPANA’s veterinary centre, on the border between Senegal and Mauritania, he was emaciated. He could barely walk, never mind start a new tough working life.

SPANA’s vets examined Samba and found he had a serious dental problem. Because of the poor quality of his food and contamination with coarse Sahara sand, the enamel ridges on his teeth had completely worn away.

With no grinding surface left, Samba couldn’t eat or digest properly. So our vet advised Samba’s owner to soften his food by soaking millet with water. Now, Samba will get the nutrients he needs to make him stronger for the future.