Anisah was brought to SPANA’s Chemaia centre in Morocco after being badly burnt in a barn fire. Find out how she beat the odds and recovered from third-degree burns with the help of our team.

Zahiri Abderazak, his wife, and five children depend on the hard work of Anisah the donkey for their very survival. Anisah pulls the family’s little cart to and from market and the local water hole. She is a lifeline for her family in rural Morocco and without her, they would struggle. Since Zahiri had suffered an accident several years ago, Anisah had become even more important to her owners.

One evening, Zahiri awoke to the sounds of frantic whinnying from his back garden – Anisah’s barn had caught on fire during the night and the three-year-old mare was trapped. Zahiri raced to free Anisah and after braving the flames to rescue her, finally managed to get the blaze under control.

Zahiri immediately examined his donkey and was horrified to see severe burns down her stomach, back and legs. The animal was in shock and unable to eat or drink. Zahiri knew she was suffering and getting worse by the minute so brought her straight to the SPANA centre for treatment.

In the leafy shade of the centre courtyard, the vets examined the extent of the burns – her feet were particularly badly injured as the flames had spread across the hay scattered on the barn floor and vets feared she might have lung damage from smoke inhalation. Burns like Anisah’s can be life-threatening; an animal is unlikely to survive if more than 50 per cent of their body is badly burned and the vets were worried she wouldn’t recover.

To provide immediate relief, the burned areas were cleaned, sprayed with cold water and soothed with cold compresses. Anisah was put on a course of potent painkillers to dull the pain while antibiotic ointment soothed the burnt skin and prevented infection. Fluids and electrolytes were administered via an IV to rehydrate her and help her recover her strength.

Although the prognosis was poor due to the extent of Anisah’s injuries, the vets did everything they could to make her recovery as pain-free as possible, regularly dressing her wounds and keeping her calm. They treated her at the centre for two weeks, carefully monitoring her vital signs and tending to her wounds. Although it was a long distance from their small farm, Zahiri regularly made the long trek to visit her and check in on her progress.

Amazingly, with the patience and expert care of the team, Anisah started to make slow and steady recovery. Several weeks later, although her skin was still painful, the resilient mare had made huge progress, enough to be discharged from the centre to recover at home. Vets advised Zahiri to keep Anisah out of the sun, ensuring that her burns had time to heal. The family was relieved to know that their cherished donkey would soon be back to full health.

Zahiri expressed his gratitude saying,

Thanks SPANA for having saved my donkey. She is very important for us, especially for me after I had my accident. Without SPANA, my donkey couldn’t be treated because I can’t afford veterinary fees and long-term care.

For working animals like Anisah, SPANA provides the only veterinary lifeline in the case of injury or illness. Without our presence in places like rural Morocco, injuries like Anisah’s would mean unnecessary suffering and possibly an early death. Our vets work tirelessly to ensure that as many animals as possible lead healthy lives free from pain and sickness, supporting their owners in the process.

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