Find out how SPANA vets in Morocco acted quickly to save a young donkey from serious illness after she mistook a plastic bag for food.
Plastic pollution is a critical issue and poses a major threat to animals. Plastic waste is harming many thousands of working animals each year.
In the world’s poorest countries where SPANA works, refuse collection and disposal is often non-existent, which leaves discarded plastic littering communities. Grazing working animals can all too easily mistake this plastic waste for food – with devastating consequences. Plastic can fill a stomach, leaving working animals thinking they are full. This can, in turn, lead to malnutrition and even starvation. Ingested plastic can also cause internal blockages and potentially lead to life-threatening colic.
Sadly, SPANA vets treat many working animals who have accidentally eaten plastic – including Zwina, an 18-month-old foal from Morocco. She was rushed to SPANA’s Marrakech centre by her owner, Mustapha, after he was horrified to find her early one morning struggling after a plastic bag had become stuck in her stomach. Clearly in pain and distress, Mustapha knew that Zwina needed urgent treatment straight away.
At the centre, SPANA vets immediately examined Zwina and found that her struggle with the plastic bag had caused her lower intestine to prolapse. Luckily, thanks to Mustapha’s swift action, her intestinal tissue was still in good condition. The vets therefore gently cleaned the area, then very delicately reduced the prolapse until everything was back in the correct place.
Zwina was then checked for colic and given fluids and lubricants to help remove any remaining plastic. She was admitted to SPANA’s stables so that the vets could check for signs of colic or straining. Thankfully, Zwina recovered quickly from her ordeal and was able to return home a few days later.
Mustapha was delighted to be reunited with Zwina again. He said: ‘My donkey is very important to me and my family. I was very worried for her. Thank you SPANA for all your help.’
Zwina is just one of the millions of working animals around the world threatened by the devastating impact of climate change and environmental problems. By making a kind donation to SPANA, you can help our veterinary teams provide lifesaving treatment and emergency support to working horses, donkeys, camels, elephants and oxen under severe threat from environmental catastrophe.