Keera the donkey was suffering from nasty wounds caused by a problem with the water cart she pulls and needed immediate help from SPANA vets in Mauritania.
Keera is one of the estimated 70,000 donkeys who transport water around Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. Some parts of this sprawling Saharan city have no piped water, so Keera and the donkeys have a vital role helping the 1.3 million people who live here. Every day, they deliver water from home to home across the city – and poverty-stricken families depend completely on these animals.
In such extreme heat, Keera’s work is incredibly tough. For up to 12 hours a day, the 13-year-old donkey pulls a cart laden with water barrels to support her owner Mahjoub, his wife and two children.
Keera had been wearing a homemade, makeshift harness and the heavy cart was not set up in a suitable way, which meant that there was nothing to stop it running into the back of her when she stopped walking. This problem caused painful wounds to develop on her rear and hindlegs. Keera was in agony and needed urgent treatment
Mahjoub does everything he can to care for Keera, but on his small income he is barely able to support his family, let alone afford veterinary treatment. When he learned about SPANA’s mobile clinic in Nouakchott, he immediately took Keera along so that she could get the help she needed.
At the clinic, SPANA vets examined Keera’s wounds. They carefully and gently cleaned them with an antiseptic solution. Once they were cleaned and dressed, Keera was then given an antibiotic injection to prevent infection and an anti-inflammatory to ease her pain.
Many owners here struggle to feed their animals or their families – a problem made worse by the impact of the global pandemic, which has led to the loss of income for large numbers of people. Sadly, Keera was malnourished, like so many animals here, and the team gave her much-needed feed and water to help build up her strength.
While she was enjoying her food, the vets advised Mahjoub that Keera would need an extended rest of at least 15 days, and good food and water, so that she could fully recover. He was also shown how to keep Keera’s wounds clean with salt water, which acts as an antiseptic. Crucially, to make Keera’s working life more comfortable, Mahjoub was given some soft harness padding and some strong material to fix across the front of his cart, so that it would not run into Keera again.
Mahjoub couldn’t thank the SPANA vets enough for their help and advice. He said: ‘I was afraid about Keera’s injuries and her survival, as I could not afford to pay for her health care. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find out about the SPANA mobile clinic.’
Working animals like Keera play a vital role in the world’s poorest communities, ploughing fields and delivering essential food and water. This International Working Animal Day (15 June), find out how, thanks to your overwhelming generosity and support, SPANA teams across the world are working tirelessly to ensure that working horses, donkeys, camels and elephants have access to lifesaving food, water and veterinary care.