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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

Bam Animal Clinics-Uganda: October Donkey Clinics

A lot of preparation goes into Bam Animal Clinics' training sessions and community clinics. Before holding the 1st clinic and training in Bukwo district (Tulel and Kamet sub-counties) on October 22, Bam field staff spent over one week notifying donkey owners to bring their donkeys for a free clinic to treat injuries and illnesses and for a training on the use of sisal sacks to make humane saddles.

But always the 1st step upon reaching the sub-county is to meet the local leadership team, including those who will be assisting Bam at the clinics, as well as local officials.

local officials, Tulel
Always the 1st step upon arriving to the sub-county is to pay respects to local officials. Here, Bam is meeting with local leaders in Tulel.

Bam's local vet contact in Tulel is Collins Kwemoy. He helps Bam's field staff reach and notify the villages with the most donkeys and those in greatest need of help. With adequate preparation, a Bam clinic can attract about 300 donkeys.

villagers and their donkeys gather
A community is mobilized to bring their donkeys for treatment and to learn how to make and use humane sisal saddles.
humane sisal saddles
For sisal saddle training, the large group is broken into about 20 people so that everyone can get a chance to make their own sisal saddle, which they keep to use on their donkey(s).

The overall condition of most of the animals who show up at Bam clinics is poor from over-use and underfeeding, not enough water, nor rest. Most donkeys that Bam treats at their free clinics have wounds from using inappropriate saddles and from the ropes used to tether donkeys. Often, Bam will give donkeys who attend the clinics a de-wormer since it's unlikely they've ever been de-wormed before. Also, Bam will provide nutritional supplements since donkeys get little nutritious food and with frequent droughts, they find it difficult to find enough to feed on.

While working in remote villages, Bam always encounters donkeys carrying heavy loads of wood, water, and food, usually without a good saddle and padding to protect the donkey's hide. The Bam team always stops to educate owners, invite them to clinics, and if available, to provide a humane saddle and show the donkey owner how it's used.

donkey carrying a heavy load
In Tulel sub-county, the Bam team saw this donkey with a heavy load and a saddle that won't protect the donkey from injuries.
donkeys at work
The Bam team stops a herd of donkeys at work and provides a quick health check and advice to the owners about saddling, feeding, watering, and resting.

Eye injuries are common. They may be due to fighting, and sometimes from a beating by an owner. During Bam's clinics in October, a man named Captei brought his two donkeys for free treatment. He said he uses his donkeys for ploughing his field.

donkey with an injured eye
When these 2 friends fought, the one on the left got kicked in his eye and lost his vision.

One day, these donkeys fought and one got kicked in the eye. Captei could see the eye was weepy, may be infected, and he was worried it could be a serious injury. He actually tried to find a vet to help his donkey but he couldn't find any vet who would agree to come to his remote area....until the Bam team showed up.

The Bam vets checked out the eye and realized that the eye was so damaged, the donkey had lost his vision in that eye. Still, the eye needed to be cleaned and treated. The Bam team used eye ointment (antibiotic) and left the owner with ointment to continue the treatment once the Bam team left. They also had the local government vet for the sub-county follow-up to make sure the donkey was healing.

Good news! The donkey was doing well, Captei was applying the ointment as instructed, and he was taking very good care of both of his donkeys, hoping that no serious health issue will ever happen to them again.


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