When Sossi brought his foal Hajrass to SPANA, he was worried that the sick horse had little hope of survival. Read on to find out how SPANA intervened to beat the odds.

As the sole provider for his mother and brother, Sossi relies heavily on his mare Massouda to support his family in rural Tunisia. For five years, Massouda has worked tirelessly to support her owner, pulling goods and serving as a wedding horse, transporting grooms on their wedding day. The hours are long, with both owner and animal working up to ten hours a day in searing heat. With the birth of Massouda’s foal Hajrass, Sossi hoped that, one day, this new addition could help ease the burden for his mother while still allowing Sossi to support his own family.

But, sadly, following a difficult birth and problems suckling, Hajrass’ health was failing him. The little foal was listless and weak, struggling to walk more than a few steps at a time. As Hajrass spent so much time lying on the stable floor, he had developed painful bedsores prone to infection. Terrified that he was about to lose Hajrass, Sossi had brought the weakened foal to the village vet for treatment.

But with limited supplies and experience in providing intensive care, the vet was unable to do much more than dress the animal’s wounds. He recommended that Sossi should bring Hajrass to one of SPANA’s mobile clinic visits to the area, knowing that we could provide the care that he could not.

When we first saw Hajrass, it was clear that a lot of hard work would be required by both our vets and Sossi for him to pull through. Hajrass was dehydrated and his joints were swollen, which made movement very painful. Our vets were able to diagnose Hajrass with a life-threatening condition called septic polyarthritis, and immediately set to work with a treatment plan.

Hajrass’s was severely dehydrated so he was promptly administered fluids and vitamin injections to revive him. The vets also started Hajrass on antibiotics while the team flushed his infected joints with saline to fight the infection. Anti-inflammatories were administered to bring down the swelling in his joints and ease his pain. Hajrass’s wounds were dressed with Manuka honey to combat infection.

While the team treated Hajrass, they talked Sossi through how to continue his care at home. They showed the worried owner how to clean and dress the wounds and gave him enough medication to treat the foal at home.

Hajrass’ first few days of recovery were touch and go. But, with SPANA’s intervention and advice, Sossi nursed Hajrass back to full health over the course of a month, stopping his work several times a day to dress the foal’s wounds. The swelling in Hajrass’ joints began to subside and, as the pain lessened, his energy and appetite gradually returned. Watching the once lethargic horse run and play alongside his mother, Sossi reflected,

It’s a miracle to see this foal healthy.

SPANA improves welfare of working animals like Hajrass through a combination of treatment and owner education. Whilst Hajrass was under our care, we were able to show Sossi the best way to reduce the risk of similar illnesses in future through proper husbandry.

Vets explained the importance of ensuring that foals get plenty of colostrum (mother’s first milk) to build up their immune system, as well as allowing adequate rest and recovery between periods of work.

Thanks to SPANA, Hajrass is now free from the debilitating pain and can enjoy a brighter future. With time, he will be able to train alongside his mother, ensuring a future income for Sossi and his family and a better working life for Massouda.


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35 comments on “Hajrass brings hope for the future

  1. Hilary Hickman on

    I have supported SPANA for many many years now and have nothing but admiration and gratitude for the amazing work they do. Watching it grow and expand across more and more countries has been so gratifying, and to hear about the healing help and assistance received by so many animals, and their hard-working families, has been quite incredible. Thank you SPANA for all the wonderful work you do.

    • SPANA on

      Thank you so much for your loyal and generous support Hilary, we could not achieve anything at all without our incredible supporters.

  2. Sanchita Guha on

    Is there a SPANA chapter in India? A lot of towns in India use donkeys for transportation, and the animals look miserable. When I donate to SPANA, it is not for anything specific; it is to be used wherever necessary. But I am very interested in an India chapter, if there is one.

  3. Jennifer Elliott on

    I can only stand back and admire the work you do. The only way I can do anything in a small way is by giving small donations as and when I can, Long may you be there for the animals who rely on your interventions when needed. I am sure the work you do for their owners ensures that the animals will continue to be carted for, In this world it is lovely to read of success stories when so many animals suffer because of mankind. Sometimes I am ashamed to be human. At 84 I sometimes despair at the way animals suffer at the hands of man, so it is lovely to read a success story. Jennifer Elliott

    • SPANA on

      Thank you so much for your kind words Jennifer. It is indeed a wonderful success story that is only possible because of the loyal support we receive from people like you.

  4. Denise Cleaver on

    Thank you so much to everyone at Spana for the wonderful work you do with these worthy vulnerable creatures, so pleased to be supporting your valuable work

  5. Mrs Rosalind Turnbull on

    How lovely is he now! His owner is also to be praised for his sense in going to the vet, and then taking good care as instructed afterwards.

  6. Gloria Burke on

    Wonderful news. So pleased Hajrass has recovered from his painful sores and is in good health now. Well done SPANA keep up your amazing work.

  7. Celia Morey on

    A lovely story. I am so glad the little foal survived and hope that he can help his mother support the family, since his owner really cared about his animals. You do brilliant work. Thank you.

  8. jennifer Glover on

    How good that Hajrass’s owner Sossi had the sense to get treatment and the treatment worked through hard work.thanks to Spana for the expertise.

  9. J. De Freyne on

    This is a really uplifting story and I have full admiration for SPANA’S work all over the world to help
    ailing animals and their owners.

  10. Helen Jamieson on

    Wonderful, and one of the main reasons I support SPANA with passion; not only are you healing but also educating, and in doing so encouraging a love of our fellow creatures.
    Thank you so much for all that you do.

    • Lizzy Anderson on

      With my birthday ciming u p on the 16th Feb it was a lovely birthday present to see this lovely Hajrass being recovered back to health so glad to be able to help im disabled in a wheel chair so at last I can help out this way thank you for the splendid work you do

    • Philip Wade on

      As a Spana supporter it is lovely to see the wonderful work you do and to see sick and suffering animals fully return to good health. Also the great work you carry out in educating owners how to best care for their animals. Well done….

    • SPANA on

      Thank you Philip for your great support. All our supporters are utterly brilliant and we are grateful for you every single day!

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