How SPANA put the smile back on Damme’s face

How SPANA put the smile back on Damme’s face

Find out how SPANA vets in Ethiopia helped Damme, a nine-year-old horse, when he had an excruciating wound on his tongue.

Damme, a nine-year-old horse, supports his young owner, Sisay, in the town of Bishoftu, in central Ethiopia. Every day, Damme pulls a cart through the bustling streets to help Sisay earn a small living transporting goods.

Early one morning, Sisay was preparing Damme for their day’s work. To his surprise, Damme wouldn’t eat. He gently coaxed Damme to take a small bite, but it was clear that Damme was experiencing extreme discomfort eating. Sisay then tried to fit Damme’s bit, but became even more worried when Damme shied away from him. Sisay was so concerned that he cancelled his first delivery and took his horse straight to SPANA’s veterinary centre in Bishoftu to find out what the problem was.

At the centre, Damme was carefully examined by SPANA’s vets. They discovered a large wound on Damme’s tongue, caused by a damaged and poor-fitting bit. Damme must have been in agony every time his bit rubbed against the wound. The vets set about cleaning the wound to make sure it was free from any accumulated food or damaged tissue. They then gave Damme anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve any pain. While the vets were checking Damme’s mouth, they noticed his teeth could benefit from rasping to prevent them from becoming overgrown, so they were carefully filed using specialist dental tools.

The vets advised Sisay that Damme should not wear a bit for at least a week, until his wound had healed. They discussed the importance of using safe and comfortable equipment to prevent wounds in the future as well as the need for regular dental check-ups to keep Damme free from pain. Finally, Damme was given a new bit and Sisay was shown how to fit it properly.

Sisay thanked the vets for their help and advice. He said: ‘My family and I are able to live a better life with the income we are getting from Damme. Thank you SPANA.’

Every year, SPANA vets encounter thousands of working animals, like Damme, who are suffering from dental problems. Some dental issues can be so severe that working animals are unable to eat properly – in the worst cases, leading to malnutrition and serious illness. With your help, our vets are able to carry out crucial dental treatments, from rasping overgrown teeth, to extracting a damaged tooth. Your continued support is helping ensure that working animals are free from the pain and suffering of dental problems. Thank you.

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