Hundreds of donkeys work pulling heavy loads up and down the dangerous rubbish dumps of Bamako, Mali. For one animal, the strain of the work had resulted in pain, lameness and possible infection. Read how our SPANA mobile clinic intervened, just in time.
Well before dawn, Seydou the donkey and his owner, 18-year-old Madou, make their way to the mountainous rubbish dumps of Bamako, Mali. Both donkey and owner work long, exhausting days collecting rubbish in the capital city. Seydou drags the refuse – plastic bottles, bags and rotting food – up the steep slopes of the dump before returning to the streets to start the process all over again.
Recently, Madou had noticed Seydou limping and favouring his back leg as they worked. The joint of the animal’s back leg had become swollen and hot to the touch. To make matters worse, the little donkey was covered in wounds that weren’t healing, despite the traditional treatments Madou used to alleviate the pain.
While Madou does his best to provide for his donkey, he can barely afford food for them both, let alone expensive private vet bills. So, for donkey owners like him, SPANA mobile clinics are their only source of hope.
SPANA vets examined Seydou’s leg and determined that the injury was the result of a sprain and reoccurring trauma to the joint. The team administered anti-inflammatories to soothe Seydou’s discomfort and gave Madou a lesson on how to avoid such injuries in future by distributing weight better in the donkey cart.
While treating Seydou’s leg, the team also noticed several open sores along the donkey’s body; a result of poorly-fitted harnessing. They took the opportunity to speak to Madou about the importance of using soft, padded materials that would allow the wounds space to heal. The team gave a harness cover to Madou, showing him how to cover the hard plastic of the harness with a soft cushion which would stop rubbing and break the cycle of injury.
Madou thanked the SPANA team profusely, saying:
“I don’t have a lot of experience of how to care for my donkey but SPANA gave me guidance and useful equipment. I am very happy to have their support.”