Six-week-old foal Emily was so weak when she arrived at our SPANA Zimbabwe mobile clinic that her delicate legs were buckling under the weight of her own body.

Emily and her mother, Mary had been brought to our clinic by their young owner who explained how sick with worry he’d been over the heath of his trusted donkey Emily struggling to stand at mobile clinicand her new foal. For years, Mary has helped him and his grandmother to travel to and from school, the local clinic, and market and they had been delighted to welcome another animal in to the family with the birth of Emily.

But only a month and a half in to Emily’s life, they had noticed how frail she’d become and that no matter how hard she tried, she could never seem to get enough milk from Mary when she nursed.

SPANA Zimbabwe vet Erick treats a dehydrated foalThis region, a seven-hour drive south of Harare, is extremely rural, and for many communities, SPANA’s mobile clinic visits are the only time that owners can bring their animals to seek veterinary care. So when the donkey’s young owner had heard that SPANA could help, he’d immediately brought Emily to get treatment.

SPANA Senior Veterinarian Erick saw immediately how malnourished the foal was and led her straight to the shade of a tree to start treatment. Out of the heat of the blazing sun, he used an IV bag to replenish Emily’s fluids. The little foal was so exhausted that Erick lay her down on her side to rest and recover while she received treatment, occasionally stroking her face to comfort her.

SPANA Zimbabwe vet Erick lets Emily the foal recover out of the sun during treatmentWhile she rested, Erick turned his attention to her mum who was grazing nearby. No matter how much she ate, the young mare had been struggling to extract enough nutrients from the grass as parasites – rampant in this part of Zimbabwe – had leached precious vitamins and minerals from her.

Erick and SPANA Community Trainer Timothy dewormed the mare and explained to the boy how to supplement Emily’s diet with corn meal to give her the precious nutrients she needed to grow while her mother regained her strength. While Emily gained some weight, Mary could start to get her strength back and produce enough milk for her new-born in the process.

After an hour and a half of recovery, the foal woozily got to her feet after hearing Mary’s call for her baby. Already, Emily looked stronger and more alert and her glassy eyes now seemed brighter. The vets explained to the little boy that Emily was still weak and needed gentle care as she recovered and to be kept out of the heat of the midday sun. The little boy promised to take good care of his precious working animals and thanked Erick and Timothy for saving his foal’s life.

With a bit of luck and SPANA’s help, Emily can now live a long life and continue to be a source of joy for her owners and mother well in to the future.

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9 comments on “Saving Emily’s life

  1. Susan Reilly on

    Heartbreaking to read how the horses, donkeys, mules and camels suffer because their owners are so poor and cannot give them the help they desperately need to get better, but so heartening then to read of the wonderful work that SPANA vets and staff carry out to restore these animals to good health. I am so pleased to be able to donate to SPANA to help them continue with this very important work for both the animals and their owners.

  2. Lynda Haleigh on

    It’s so sad to hear that any animal is suffering, but with the help of SPANA, these animals are getting the help they much need, and it is so uplifting to see them get well again. Keep up the incredible good work SPANA – you are helping the animals and also the poor people that own them, and educating these people to look after their animals will save them from a life of pain and suffering!

  3. Viv Hendry on

    It would seem that SPANAS Mobile Clinics are literally life savers! I can’t think of a better way to donate a few spare pounds to help these amazing, hardworking animals. Thank You SPANA for all you do for these beautiful animals. Xx

  4. Gloria Prado on

    I find it so hard to read these stories. They bring tear’s to my eye’s but at the same time I feel so grateful that SPANA is there to help. You do an incredible job. I’m so proud to be a Donor. It’s not much what I can give bit I know every penny counts. You guy’s at SPANA are ANGEL’S kerp up the AMAZING BRILLIANT work that you do you not only help the Animal’s but the poor familie’s who rely on them. X

  5. Toni Prosser-Jackson on

    How wonderful to read of such successful treatment and to see these hard working animals being given a second chance to lead a healthy life’. I am glad I contribute to SPANA’S excellent work and am more than happy to continue. I have just left a gift in my will to help when I am no longer here to do so in person. well done everyone involved!

  6. Julia De Freyne on

    Inspiring stories . And what dedicated people help treat these poor animals with Spana globally. I am delighted to support such a good cause.


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