Epizootic lymphangitis (EZL) can be deadly if it isn’t diagnosed quickly. Find out how SPANA vets in Ethiopia were able to help Kassa the horse at the early stages of the disease.
Kassa the horse transports crops and other goods to and from the market in the town of Dabat, in northern Ethiopia. The 10-year-old horse makes it possible for his owner, Mekuant, to support his wife and family.
One day, Mekuant noticed a couple of small sores on Kassa’s nose. As SPANA’s mobile clinic was visiting Dabat that day, Mekuant decided to take Kassa along to see if the sores were a cause for concern.
At the mobile clinic, SPANA vets examined Kassa. They immediately isolated him from the other working animals at the clinic as Kassa was suffering from epizootic lymphangitis (EZL) – a highly infectious skin disease that can be deadly if it isn’t treated in time. Kassa had most likely contracted EZL from his harness, which had been used by other animals. His sores were in fact painful nodules that were at risk of spreading.
Our vets set to work treating Kassa. They cleaned the nodules with water and antiseptic, carefully shaved the affected areas, removed any infectious material, then applied iodine to disinfect the nodules and prevent the disease from spreading. The vets advised Mekuant that Kassa’s recovery could take many months and that he would have to bring his horse to the mobile clinic regularly to continue his vital treatment. Mekaunt was given an iodine solution and shown how to wash the nodules – something he would need to do once a day.
Mekuant was relieved that the vets had been able to start Kassa’s treatment at the early stages of the disease. He said: ‘Thank you, SPANA. I am very happy you have been able to help my horse. My family’s income is highly dependent on my horse.’
Kassa was fortunate. If EZL is caught early enough, the infection can be treated successfully. But without treatment, this contagious disease can cause excruciating pain and debilitation, and some forms of the disease can be fatal. EZL affects up to 30 per cent of Ethiopia’s carthorse population in some regions. That’s why, with your help, it’s essential that our vets continue to provide vital treatment for working animals affected by this painful disease. Your ongoing support also enables us to hold community training sessions so that we can alert owners to the early signs of EZL and make them aware about the need to seek immediate professional veterinary assistance. Thank you for sparing working animals from the pain and suffering of EZL.