A nine year old donkey in Kenya is slowly recovering from a horrific branding injury with the help of The Donkey Sanctuary.
The donkey, who is currently hospitalised at The Donkey Sanctuary’s Nairobi clinic, suffered appalling burns to his rump when his owner’s attempt at branding to prevent theft went horribly wrong.
Donkeys are very valuable to communities such as this that rely upon them to earn a basic living, and the owner felt that he could protect his donkey by making sure it could be identified. The donkeys is one of two used by his owner to transport water and building supplies by cart to the town centre,
When the donkey, who does not have a name, was admitted to the Sanctuary’s clinic in April this year, he was very weak, could not be encouraged to eat, and was clearly in a great deal of pain from his infected burn wound. Vets from the international animal welfare charity carried out surgery to clean the wound thoroughly, administered antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection and vaccinated the donkey against the potential tetanus infection that the branding could have caused.
Under the expert care of Donkey Sanctuary vets, the donkey has since regained his appetite, the bacterial infection has cleared and the burn wound has started to heal.
Solomon Onyango, acting veterinary co-ordinator and veterinary surgeon at The Donkey Sanctuary’s Nairobi clinic, says:
“The donkey has made improvements over the last three months, but is not yet well enough to leave the clinic. Wounds on the rump usually take a long time to heal, but we are hopeful that by September he will have recovered enough to be discharged.”
Solomon also explains what prompts owners to attempt to brand their donkeys:
“Branding is employed by nomadic tribes in Kenya and usually involves burning out an initial on the rump, which is what it appears the owner had attempted to do in this case. The Donkey Sanctuary works with owners to discourage branding for the purposes of identification, due to the risk of burns, infections and tetanus, which too often can be fatal to donkeys.
“We understand that owners are concerned with reducing the risk of theft, and are pleased with this as it shows just how much people value their donkeys. However, branding is not the best way to go about this. Instead, we would advise owners to build suitable shelters for their donkeys, and allow us to teach them how to make simple halters which can be used to tether their donkeys comfortably and securely.”
The Donkey Sanctuary has been working in Kenya since 1992, and provides all-year-round community education, veterinary treatments and improvement of harness, helping many thousands of donkeys and their owners. The project is based in Nairobi and mobile teams from the charity visit donkey owning communities in villages and cities in the surrounding areas.
To find out more about the global work of the donkey sanctuary, please visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk.
For an interview, further information or images, please contact The Donkey Sanctuary press office on 01395 573097/573014, mobile 07970 927778 or via email.
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