Donkeys in Zim treated for corneal ulcers

2016-02-23 21:47

Harare  Vets treating donkeys in southern Masvingo province report seeing some donkeys with corneal ulcers most likely caused by scratches from thorn bushes, Zimbabwe veterinary organisation, the AWARE Trust, said on Tuesday.

The trust said that some donkeys – many of whom are in poor condition because of the drought affecting Zimbabwe and much of southern Africa are wandering further and further afield in a desperate search for food.

Drought has caused the widespread failure of crops and led to the deaths of at least 16 000 cattle in Zimbabwe, many of them in Masvingo and the Matabeleland provinces. 

Unconfirmed figures say the number of cattle that have succumbed to the drought may be as high as 20 000.

No one knows yet how many donkeys have died.

Suffering from starvation

But the AWARE trust, which works with British charity Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) to run donkey clinics, said in a post on Facebook that some donkeys seen in Masvingo province this month were "suffering from starvation".

"Some donkeys had sarcoids and ocular problems such as corneal ulcers mostly attributed to foraging in thorny bushes as animals make frantic and desperate food searches," the trust added. 

Sarcoids are a kind of skin tumour.

Many Zimbabweans in the rural areas depend on donkeys for transport and to help with agricultural activities.

SPANA reported in a post earlier this month that one of its officers was working with donkey owners to encourage them to use comfortable harnesses (also known as 'humane harnesses') on their animals.

There are tens of thousands of donkeys in Zimbabwe. Vets working with AWARE and SPANA treated and checked 28 195 last year alone, the trust said.

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