Horse Trust scholar Fernando Malalana is travelling to Ethiopia in May to work with one of SPANA’s mobile clinics, performing veterinary examinations and giving treatments to donkeys and horses in the villages around Debre Zeyit.

Horse Trust scholar Fernando Malalana is travelling to Ethiopia in May to work with one of SPANA’s mobile clinics, performing veterinary examinations and giving treatments to donkeys and horses in the villages around Debre Zeyit.
 
Horse Trust scholar Fernando MalalanaDr Malalana is in the second year of a three year clinical training scholarship programme at the University of Liverpool, which is funded by equine charity The Horse Trust. He is specialising in Equine Internal Medicine, which covers various fields including cardiology, critical care, gastroenterology and ophthalmology.
 
On May 6, Dr Malalana will travel to Debre Zeyit where he will spend three weeks doing voluntary work for animal charity SPANA. Although he will be treating all types of veterinary cases, he will be focusing on horses and donkeys with eye and vision problems. He will also be helping train horse and donkey owners so they understand how to minimise the risk of eye injury and how to care for an animal that has vision problems.
 
As well as funding his clinical training, The Horse Trust has provided around £1,600 to pay for a specialist instrument known as an indirect ophthalmoscope, which consists of a light and lens attached to a helmet. It provides a wider view of the inside of the horse’s eye than a standard ophthalmoscope and allows a better view of the retina. This instrument will enable Dr Malalana and staff at the Ethiopian vet clinic to carry out a detailed examination of the donkeys and horses’ eyes.
 
Indirect ophthalmoscopeDr Malalana said: “Other vets have noticed on previous trips that many of the donkeys and horses in Ethiopia have problems with their eyes and vision, sometimes causing the animal extreme discomfort. By using this specialist equipment we will be able to diagnose problems more easily and earlier, so the animal can be treated before the problem gets worse. By improving the lives of these donkeys and horses, we will also be helping the people of Ethiopia, who depend on their animals for transport and their livelihood.”
 
It is thought that at least 40% of horses and donkeys in the area where SPANA works have problems with their eyes – these range from relatively minor problems such as ulcers and small cataracts, to total blindness.
 
Paul Jepson, chief executive and veterinary director of The Horse Trust, said: “We are delighted that we are able to help the horses and donkeys in Ethiopia, by providing this specialist equipment. Some of the horses and donkeys living at The Horse Trust’s sanctuary have eye problems, so we know first-hand how this can impact the animal’s quality of life, if it is not properly treated or managed.”

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