Meru Animal Welfare Organization was founded in 2010 with the aim of promoting and improving the welfare of donkeys and other animals. Its main function is to advocate for animal’s rights especially those that are neglected by the society such as donkey.
The organization also carries out mobile outreach clinic to ensure proper animal health by promoting prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, disorders and injury in donkeys as a way to increase their competency in managing animal welfare challenges and assisting in improving the welfare of animals in Tanzania. MAWO has partnered with an Australian based animal welfare organization called Animal Aid Abroad Inc. (AAA) as charity organization dedicated to improving the living conditions and treatment of working animals around the world.
We carried out a three day donkey mobile clinic in Kanda Sikiria and Makiba villages. At Kanda Sikiria, we spent two days and at Makiba one day. The clinic was able to directly reach 452 donkeys.
Activities Carried out:
The clinics were held on 12 to 14 July 2017. MAWO vets together with one government para-vet and four students from LITA Tengeru Animal Husbandry College participated in making the clinics a success. The students were to have a firsthand experience on donkey treatment which would boost their skills and knowledge.
Activities carried out included, ecto-parasite and endo-parasite control, wound treatment, eye treatment, hoof trimming and brief harness training.
- Ecto-parasite and endo-parasite control We carried out control of endo and ecto parasite through the use of ivermectin 1% which is effective against majority of these parasites. The drug is an injectable which is administered sub-cutaneously. Other than that, we wrote prescriptions for dip wash acaricides that the animal owners could buy over the counter to spray their donkeys.
Ectoparasites caused alopecia, irritation, itching, anaemia and sdiseases which all made the animal uncomfortable and inefficient. Endoparasites on the other hand made the animal have low energy due to the high warm load and caused anaemia.
- Eye treatment 36 donkeys (about 8%) had eye infections and injuries. Most of these infections were as a result of microorganisms. We treated these infections with broad spectrum antibiotics and requested for follow up on severe cases do be done by the government para-vet.
- Wound Treatment Wounds cases were quite common. 74% (334) donkeys had wounds. Majority of the wounds were at the flank, along the vertebral column, neck, point of hock and pastern. Possible causes of the wounds are poor harnessing practices, branding and trauma.
- Harness training The need to train the animal owners on proper donkey harnesses was inevitable. Donkeys that were brought for the clinic had wounds which were mainly as a result of poor harnessing. Thin ropes and no cushioning made traumatic wounds inevitable. Using our sample improvised harnesses we trained them on how to make the harnesses and the importance of using them.
- Hoof trimming There were no alarming cases on hoof care. The hooves were in a good condition. The terrain supported wear and hear hence were not overgrown.
- 74% of the donkeys treated had wounds where majority were as a result of poor harnessing. This shows a need to educate the people on making and using proper harnesses
- Most donkeys are overworked. This is as a result of the reduced donkey population due to theft cases.
MAWO Proposes a harness training program in order to tackle the issue of traumatic wounds as a result to poor harnessing.
Practical training on pack and cart harnesses is proposed to be done.
The people of Kanda Sikiria and Mkiba appreciated the aid granted to them and their animals. They pleased to be excused for the mistakes they did saying that they did not know a better way of doing it. They supported the idea of further trainings in order to completely remove the ignorance in matters related to donkey welfare.