New Equine Clinic and Welfare Program - India

Animal Aid Abroad has expanded its partnership with Help in Suffering in India by providing funds to support a clinic program for horses and donkeys brought to the HIS city shelter for treatment and/or hospitalisation. Since starting our funding earlier this year, 53 horses have been treated. Cases ranged from colic/digestive pain, diarrhoea, lameness ,fractures, traumatic wounds, plus many other complaints.

For many years Help in Suffering (HIS) ran (in association with the Brooke Hospital for Animals (BHA) a mobile clinic for working equines which attended various sites around the city to provide treatment to the equines gathered there for work. This equine project was the first BHA established in India, and later formed the model for the successful mobile Camel Welfare clinic currently generously supported by Animal aid Abroad.

There are reducing numbers of working equines in Jaipur (which is the reason BHA ceased their involvement). However, some horses and donkeys remain to draw carts, carry building materials, and for ceremonial purposes. Most are owned by poor people and in many cases by marginalised sections of the community. Working equines receive little veterinary care because of the economic status of their owners and because there are few veterinary surgeons here knowledgeable about equines.

Even without promoting our equine work amongst the equine community, many working equines still arrive at Help in Suffering for veterinary treatment as we have, over many years, established a reputation for expertise with equines. Many equines are brought long distances to be treated at Help in Suffering. HIS try to recover costs from those owners able to pay but many owners cannot afford the costs of treatment, drugs etc. Thus at present most of their equine work is funded from the general HIS budget.

In the last year they have treated around 80 equines with 45 of these requiring a stay in their hospital. The remaining equines were treated as out-patients. Many of the equines seen were cases of colic which required a stay in our hospital under treatment for several days. They have also surgically removed more than 6 tumours under general anaesthetic and castrated 3 donkeys. HIS have treated several severe wounds including one disembowelment. These cases all required prolonged treatment during stays in their hospital.

Such cases are often rewarding but are expensive in terms of veterinary and nursing time, medicines and food. Sadly there have also been 5 or 6 horses abandoned on the roads or on waste land by their owners and rescued by Help in Suffering staff. Veterinary examination showed these to be cases of severe incurable lameness caused by chronic injuries to joints or tendons in the lower limb. After assessment and careful discussion about their current and future welfare these animals were humanely euthanized.

Although the number and distribution of equines in the city no longer justifies a mobile clinic, HIS propose to visit owners and sites and inform them of their equine clinic at their hospital and encourage them to bring their animals to the Help in Suffering hospital in the city. In severe cases, or where welfare will be compromised, we propose to travel to the suffering equine to provide treatment. Such cases will be determined on a case by case basis. AAA funds will provide medicines and veterinary care to both rescued equines and those brought by poor people to Help in Suffering for treatment. These funds will also allow for appropriate equine food stuffs to be provided; for the rescuing from Jaipur and surrounding areas of abandoned or severely injured equines in our hydraulic large animal ambulance, and for the disposal of dead equines which die under treatment or are humanely destroyed in the hospital. HIS hope to be able to provide equine care to two local equine fairs, the Luniywas Fair near Jaipur and the Pushkar Fair which AAA will also support.

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Janet Thomas