Barika the donkey’s dental treatment 

Barika the donkey’s dental treatment 

Barika the donkey had lost his appetite. Find out how dental treatment by SPANA vets in Mali soon had him eating again.

Barika the donkey is a lifeline for his family. Every day, he helps them earn a small income by carrying out crucial day-to-day tasks, such as transporting goods to market and collecting water in the Saharan town of Ségou, in Mali.

One day Barika’s owner, Moussa, noticed that Barika wasn’t eating. This was very unlike Barika, as he usually enjoys his food. He had also developed some small sores on his back and nose. Luckily, Moussa knew about SPANA’s mobile clinic which visits Ségou, so he took Barika along for treatment.

SPANA currently operates three mobile clinics in Mali, one of which makes regular visits to Ségou. Daily life for many families in Mali is dependent on working animals and because of this, demand for SPANA’s veterinary treatment in Ségou and the surrounding area is high.

At the mobile clinic, SPANA vets quickly diagnosed why Barika had lost his appetite. His teeth had overgrown in an uneven way, and they now had some sharp points that were causing damage to his tongue and cheeks. Ulcers had developed and these can be excruciating for animals. They were causing Barika immense discomfort when eating.

Donkey’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, but if the teeth do not wear down evenly, it can be difficult for them to grind and digest their food properly. The vets carefully rasped Barika’s teeth to remove the sharp points and make them even, ensuring that he could eat comfortably.

The vets then cleaned and dressed Barika’s other wounds – caused by poorly-fitted harnessing. They gave Moussa some soft padding to stop the harnessing from rubbing into Barika’s sensitive skin and showed Moussa how to fit it correctly. They also explained to Moussa the importance of using safe and comfortable equipment to prevent wounds in the future.

Moussa was delighted that SPANA vets had helped Barika. He said: ‘SPANA is needed in Ségou because there are so many people who bring their donkeys here to get treated. Thank you for your help.’

We want to help even more working animals, just like Barika, in Ségou. That’s why, thanks to your help and support, we are planning to develop a permanent centre in Ségou. This new centre will be a lifeline for the working animals of Ségou – providing free veterinary care, training animal owners and veterinary professionals, and helping children to develop feelings of compassion and respect towards animals. Thank you for your support in making this possible.

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