Covid-19 threatens Farook’s survival

A severely malnourished carriage horse in Mauritania

Covid-19 threatens Farook’s survival

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on movement are having a devastating impact on the welfare of working animals across the world. As a result of the wider situation, Farook the carthorse, a once healthy animal, was suffering the terrible effects of malnutrition.

A severely malnourished carriage horse in Mauritania

Farook was so malnourished when he arrived at the SPANA centre in Nouakchott, Mauritania, that his ribs were visible through his rough coat. Not only was he lethargic and painfully thin, but he was also suffering from parasites and eye problems. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 17-year-old horse was in good health generally, working alongside his owner, Adama, to transport people and goods across the city. But since March 2020, regular lockdowns have prevented people like Adama from working and earning a living. As a result, through no fault of their own, owners across the world are struggling to afford the food that their hardworking animals, like Farook, so desperately need.

A SPANA Mauritania vet administers an anti-parasite treatment to combat a carthorse's weight loss

As soon as Farook entered the clinic, the SPANA team began treatment for his various problems, starting by administering an antiparasitic treatment. Internal parasites are more of a threat than ever currently, as they feed on the already limited nutrients animals can hope to get through foraging. What’s more, wounds that would normally heal quickly run the risk of becoming infected, as working animals lack the nutrients needed for skin cells to quickly regenerate.

The team also cleaned Farook’s swollen eye and applied antibiotic ointment to combat a corneal ulcer, before instructing Adama on how to continue the treatment at home. At the same time, they gave Farook an injection of pain-relieving medicine to ease his discomfort.

Following treatment, the horse was much more comfortable and relaxed. Before discharging him, the team provided Adama with an emergency supply of feed to help Farook recover his strength and weight. Thanks to this intervention, and with full rest for a few weeks and better nutrition, Farook made a full recovery. He was stronger and his energy returned.

During the last year, SPANA has been working tirelessly to prevent working animals from suffering due to the considerable impact of the pandemic. Sadly, Farook’s story is all too common with working animals across the world fighting to survive. Your support is making it possible for us to be there for animals who would otherwise have no help available to them. On behalf of working animals everywhere, thank you for your support.

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