CASE STUDY: A HOSPITAL PATIENT
About 4 weeks ago, I reported on a Residensia township mare that had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Whilst working, the loaded cart she was pulling was hit from behind by a taxi. The driver of the cart was injured, and she sustained serious injuries to her front and back legs from the impact. The owner didn’t want her to come in to the Unit,(we had recently had to euthanase his donkey for metastasized cancer) so Solly started treatment on the mare at his home in Residensia. Although her wounds improved, they were so serious that Solly insisted that she came in for hospitalisation. She was examined by our vet, and extensive treatment was given.
She wasn’t easy to handle at all, she was quite aggressive – rearing up and chopping out, kicking and biting whenever we cleaned her wounds every morning and evening. We understand – she was in pain, and hasn’t had an easy life….. we tried to get round her with gentleness, but she wouldn’t have any of it. It got to the point where treating her was really traumatic – she absolutely hated it and fought us every inch of the way. Sedation worked for a while, but we didn’t want to have to do that every day. Twitching her worked, but we couldn’t twitch her twice a day, it was just not right. We finally had a breakthrough when she accepted being fed carrots by her handler (have to shovel them in quickly and watch you don’t get bitten!) and only then would she permit one person to clean the wounds without attacking. Big relief all round….
When a small puncture wound on her shoulder didn’t heal well, we suspected a foreign body and scanned the shoulder. Yesterday, our vet Dale Wheeler removed a piece of wood which had embedded itself deeply in the shoulder area. She should be more comfortable now, and hopefully, if we can just get the foreleg to heal, she will eventually go home to her owner and have the foal that she is carrying. When she is discharged, a decision will be made as to whether or not she can work again.
We have carried out two in the last week or so – Solly in Rustenburg and areas, and Trevor is in Brits with 5th year veterinary students who are assisting with clinics as a part of their practicals. Ten stallion donkeys are going to be gelded on this clinic, which is great!
Until we started doing outreach work in townships and rural areas, we never realised just how large the donkey population is in South Africa, and the myriad problems associated with their welfare. Our clinics are very basic – treating minor wounds, re-fitting/replacing harnessing, de-worming, and educating owners. Seeing their improved condition after being de-wormed gives us great joy!
We are doing everything in our power to ensure that we can stabilize our funding so that we can continue to do this work – the general public are not all that sympathetic towards these lowly lovable creatures, who really are a ‘beast of burden’. Keep fingers crossed for us – we have put forward motivations to overseas organisations to try to get assistance with this project.
Solly and Samson, the two HHCU staff that deal with Lesotho, have been invited by horse owners in the area to attend a meeting this coming weekend in Rooifontein, near the Lesotho border. Horse owners are going to start having an annual ‘horse festival’ and it is important that we are there to show the work that we do, and the assistance that we can offer. The festival itself will be at the end of July/beginning of October, and we will incorporate that into another trip to Lesotho. Our help is so badly needed there……
SENTIENT BEINGS – HELPING HHCU
Many years ago, Fiona Markham adopted a horse from HHCU called Nakuru. She still has him! Fiona, a devoted animal lover, approached us a while back and said that she had purchased some ‘sms’ donation lines, and would like to donate one to HHCU. The response from our supporters has been overwhelming, with almost 2,500 sms’s being received since the line opened. We would like to thank each and every one of our supporters that contributes to us, and we would like to specially thank Fiona, for her generosity. Please try to support her by googling ‘Sentient Beings’ .
Five very special people who do not wish to be mentioned, but who have donated to our organisation this year in special and generous ways.
I would like to acknowledge the fabulous committee that we have at HHCU – what special people they are! Supportive, giving, always ready to help… we are lucky! When spirits flag, they are always there to help.
and finally……… (pshew, this sounds like a wedding speech) YOU our supporters and friends for taking the time to read this…. THANK YOU!