One of the most serious diseases affecting mules and horses in Ethiopia is Epizootic Lymphangitis (EZL). It’s a contagious fungal disease which leads to abscesses along the legs and body. In our clinic in Bahir Dar where mules are commonly used to pull carts, several cases are seen each week.
EZL is treated by flushing the abscesses that are formed and administering a potassium iodide salt orally for several weeks. Our vets train owners to do this themselves. The salt has to be imported and is expensive, so it’s unaffordable for most Ethiopian mule owners. Our vets provide the treatments free of charge, as part of a control programme aimed at preventing spread. Mule owners in Bahir Dar are now in the habit of regularly examining their mules for characteristic lumps which are the early sign of the disease. This is as a result of the Donkey Sanctuary’s control programme. Owners now know that if the disease is detected early, treatment that works is available to them.
In view of the cost and difficulty of getting potassium iodide into Ethiopia, we were extremely grateful for a recent donation of a 25kg container of potassium iodide from a company called Ubichem based in Eastleigh, Hampshire. Ubichem is our usual supplier for the project in Ethiopia but the amount that we can buy is limited by the funds we have available.
Head of International Veterinary Services, Joe Anzuino, said: ‘EZL is a devastating disease for the mules, and their owners. They not only have to see their mules suffer terribly with this disease, but the mules can get so bad that they can no longer work and the vicious cycle of poverty continues. Early treatment by our vets and local vets will save lives and prevent suffering. This donation by Ubichem translates into something real for up to 50 mules In Ethiopia who would not have access to treatment otherwise. By helping these working animals, we also help support their owners who rely on them for their livelihood.”
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