Working animal charity SPANA has launched a major fund-raising appeal aimed at treating and preventing fatal diseases among working animals.
The charity, which provides free veterinary treatment to horses, donkeys and other working animals in developing countries around the world, is raising the funds to vaccinate against, and treat, life-threatening diseases such as tetanus.
The charity says thousands of animals die needlessly every year due to the lack of access to simple vaccinations and veterinary treatment for disease.
The diseases SPANA is targeting through the appeal include:
- African Horse Sickness (AHS): a highly infectious and deadly disease, spread by insect bites, affecting equines in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa. The acute form of the disease is fatal in around 90% of cases.
- Tetanus: working animals are particularly vulnerable to cuts and scratches in their working environments, which means the risk of getting tetanus – a bacterial disease that enters the body through wounds – is high. Although the disease is usually fatal, it is preventable through vaccination with two injections
- Epizootic Lymphangitis (EZL): an agonisingly painful and contagious fungal disease affecting up to 30% of Ethiopia’s cart horse population. Early treatment is crucial to the survival of a horse with EZL. SPANA vets treated nearly 800 cases of EZL last year.
Jeremy Hulme, chief executive of SPANA, said: “In many developing countries, animals are suffering and dying needlessly due to the lack of vaccinations and veterinary treatment for diseases that are entirely preventable.
“SPANA vets are saving the lives of countless animals, such as the donkeys working on Mali’s rubbish dumps, by vaccinating them and treating their wounds.
“However, our work is only possible thanks to the generous donations we receive. “We urge people to support this urgent appeal to help us vaccinate and save many more animals.
“With so many of the diseases threatening working animals, a simple injection really can be the difference between life and death.