A SPANA vet visits a patient and his owner's family

A car accident left working horse Sarie fighting for her life. Read about how SPANA’s intervention was the difference between life and death.

Before Hadi had time to think or react, the car had already collided with his horse and cart. Hadi and his six-year-old mare Sarie were on their way home after a grueling day of transporting goods across Chemaia, Morocco when the accident happened. As they turned a corner on to a busy intersection in the heart of the town, a speeding car ploughed directly in to Sarie, lacerating her face and legs badly. The animal was in shock and losing blood quickly. Hadi knew he couldn’t waste time and knew there was only one place he could turn.

A working horse and owner at the Chemaia centre

Hadi works with Sarie to earn a modest income by transporting people and produce to and from the town of Chemaia. The small fee he collects for each trip helps him to look after his wife, children, livestock and Sarie. On the night of the accident, Hadi had agreed to take one last delivery before heading home and was almost finished with his work when disaster struck. Now, his faithful horse was fighting for her life.

Borrowing a pickup truck from a neighbor, Hadi drove Sarie straight to the SPANA centre where vet Youness wasted no time in treating the stunned mare. As the animal was still in shock with a low blood pressure, he put her on a glucose and saline drip to revive her while simultaneously administering painkillers to dull her pain. As an extra precaution, Youness also administered a tetanus injection and sedated the animal before proceeding with treatment. The exhaustion had caught up with Sarie and unable to support her weight any further, she lay down while Youness and his team continued to clean and dress her wounds.

A horse owner leads his horse out of the Chemaia clinicThe injury was one of the worst that the vet team had seen; it was difficult to stitch the many lacerations as the skin was so badly damaged.

Her mandible had been broken on impact. To make matters worse, the windshield of the car had shattered, leaving dozens of small shards embedded in the animal’s lips and jaw. Not only were these painful, but if any pieces were left behind, they could cause a terrible secondary infection. After several hours of careful treatment, Sarie was gently led to the SPANA stable where she was left in peace to recover from her ordeal. Although it would take many weeks for her to fully heal, Youness was hopeful that she would make a full recovery.

Hadi was visibly upset and didn’t leave Sarie’s side during the whole procedure. Only later did Youness realise that, despite being a diabetic, the owner had risked his own health to make sure his animal was safe. Only after the surgery was complete did he return home to take his insulin and rest.

Unfortunately, road traffic accident cases are all too common in this region of Morocco, with hundreds of similar incidents happening every year. Animals working in the evenings are particularly vulnerable to traffic accidents as drivers often don’t see them until it’s too late. To prevent future cases like this one, our team distribute thousands of reflectors for carts and head collars every year. As Hadi left the centre, he vowed to use the reflective materials when driving his cart in future.

The nose of a horse following her surgery in Morocco

While Sarie recovered, Hadi made the long journey to visit her regularly and feed her treats, delighted by her steady progress. Within three weeks, Sarie was strong enough to return home. Hadi assured the team that he would not work Sarie during her recovery period and instead let her rest while he regularly cleaned and dressed her wounds.

Youness promised that he would visit them both during his next mobile clinic and, true to his word, came to check in on the horse and owner several months later. The vet didn’t know what to expect when he approached the humble farm where Hadi and his family lived. But Youness couldn’t believe his eyes when he spotted Sarie in her stable. The mare was fully healed – the only signs of her ordeal were faint scars along her nose and jaw. Sarie was a healthier weight and as Youness approached, she energetically trotted over to see him.

A SPANA vet with brown horse

Hadi was delighted to see the young vet again and was excited to show off the incredible progress that Sarie had made. He explained that since the visit, he had groomed her every day and fed her the best grain he could afford. He couldn’t thank the SPANA team enough, explaining:

She is so important to me, I wouldn’t know what to do if I lost her and my family would surely suffer.

Without the team’s presence here, thousands of animals just like Sarie would suffer painful and life changing injuries every year. While horse and owner had gone through a terrible ordeal, the intervention of SPANA has given them both a new lease of life and a healthier future.

Share SPANA's work

Latest Updates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *