Kojo is rescued from the brink of a devastating infection
A serious illness threatens the future of a hardworking horse in Ethiopia. Read how SPANA vets were able to diagnosis one of the biggest killers of horses in the region.
Kojo was becoming weak and lifeless. His legs had broken out in painful, bumps and he struggled to move his inflamed limbs. The normally energetic six-year-old stallion was quickly deteriorating and desperately needed help.
Kojo’s owner depends entirely on his animal for survival. The young man makes a modest sum, with Kojo’s help, transporting people to school and the market in the city of Bishoftu, Ethiopia. He had saved for months to afford to buy Kojo from a local horse auction and now, only weeks later, he was facing the possibility of losing his animal. He knew that if Kojo were to have any chance of recovery, he would need the intervention of the SPANA team. As soon as the doors to the SPANA centre opened at 9.00am, owner and horse were waiting to be seen.
When Kojo hobbled in, the team immediately spotted the deep lesions running from his chest down to his legs. The vets are experienced in spotting cases of Epizootic lymphangitis (EZL) in this region of Ethiopia and diagnosed the case within seconds. The fungal infection, which produces burning ulcers across an animal’s body, can eventually infect their respiratory system and other vital organs. Left untreated, horses suffer pain, lameness and eventually succumb to the condition. As EZL is highly contagious, the SPANA team knew they had to treat Kojo straight away, not only to protect him, but all the other horses at the centre as well.
The vets got to work lancing and draining the nodulas, a treatment that needs to be carried out regularly over months in order to completely get rid of the infection. They cleaned the lesions with iodine before applying oral potassium iodide – a powder mixed with water that helps treat the EZL infection. As treating EZL is time and labour intensive, Kojo’s owner will need to bring him to the clinic every few weeks for up to six months. But, even after the first treatment, Kojo’s relief from discomfort was obvious to his owner and the vets alike.
Kojo is on the long road to recovery but is already getting his strength and energy back. Thanks to SPANA’s efforts, the number of EZL cases in this region are starting to reduce. But there is still an enormous amount of work to be done to manage this highly contagious disease and save countless animals just like Kojo. With your continued support, we can save many more horses from this devastating infection, which has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands of animals in Ethiopia.