Saber the horse was becoming more and more uncomfortable with every passing day. Initially, the horse had been mildly bothered by a slight itchiness around his eyes. But within a week, this itchiness had escalated to terrible pain and deep wounds, as the horse had rubbed his face against fence posts and walls to try to ease the irritation. Now, these wounds were becoming infected and Saber was struggling to see through swollen eyes
His owner, Mohamed, had watched Saber’s worsening condition with concern. The five-year-old horse is Mohamed’s only means of accessing the world outside of his remote Tunisian farm. Every day, Mohamed harnesses Saber and drives him into town where the young man finds work doing odd jobs with his horse and cart. Worried that Saber’s vision might be permanently damaged without intervention, Mohamed knew that he needed the help of a vet to save his animal’s sight. But with the nearest veterinary practice several hours walk away, Mohamed knew that this support could only come in the form of SPANA’s regular mobile clinic.
Through these mobile clinics, our vets reach tens of thousands of animals who would otherwise live too far away to access proper veterinary care. With so much ground to cover and so many animals to treat, the team is constantly on the road to help animals like Saber, who would otherwise suffer.
When the team arrived, Saber and Mohamed were already waiting, anxious to be seen first. Within a few seconds of examination, the vets knew exactly what was wrong with Saber. A serious problem in this region, habronemiasis is a condition caused by flies that lay their eggs in and around a horse’s eye. When the larvae hatch, they are drawn to the moisture in the animal’s eye, where they cause inflammation and tissue damage.
As Saber had scratched his eyes and face against trees, fences and walls, the delicate skin had become raw and infected. Wounds began to form in places where he had tried to alleviate the discomfort. Without immediate intervention, the parasites would continue to cause irritation, which would in turn, lead to chronically infected lesions and possible blindness.
To treat the immediate soreness, the vets gently cleaned the wounds, disinfecting them with a topical antiseptic to prevent further complications. They also administered a dose of Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug that targets the worms at the root of the problem. The vets instructed Mohamed to return two weeks later for a second dose of Ivermectin, which would ensure that Saber was protected from the parasites in future.
In the meantime, the vets advised Mohamed on how to avoid a parasitic infection like this by keeping the animal’s bedding clean and dry which keeps flies and other insects away. When Saber’s eyes are fully healed, he can return to work; a more comfortable and happy animal. This is all thanks to your support.