The International Coalition of Working Equids (ICWE) is offering support to equine owners in Nepal following confirmation that the deadly disease Glanders is present in the country.

Glanders is a highly infectious and life-threatening equine disease that affects horses, donkeys and mules. It causes ulceration in the respiratory tract and lungs as well as a skin condition known as ‘Farcy’.

The disease can be passed to humans, although its presentation in people takes a different form. Recovery is possible if treated quickly with antibiotics.

The government confirmed its presence in May 2021. While it has been largely eradicated from Europe, North America and Australia, there are still sporadic reports of the disease in a number of Asian, African, Middle Eastern and South American countries.

ICWE members have produced practical materials for equine owners, including instructional films that have been translated into local languages and distributed by Animal Nepal.

“We are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the ICWE workshop,” said Hari Josh, executive director of Animal Nepal. “Our staff learned a great deal about Glanders and were grateful to hear from experts who have treated infected equines in the field.”

The videos focus on biosecurity principles, including good hygiene and implementing quarantine when necessary. They have been distributed via social media platforms and WhatsApp.

“Combining the joint resources and skills of the coalition has enabled us to produce a very exciting set of tools, which give clear information, practical advice and are easily accessible for the owners of working equines,” said Ian Cawsey, ICWE chair and director of advocacy at The Donkey Sanctuary.

“We plan to build on these resources and provide further support and reach owners, however remote their location, in order to improve the lives of working equids,” he concluded.

The ICWE is made up of Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare. All four charities work with rural communities around the world, supporting equids and the people who depend upon them.

Main image: Veterinary inspection of a donkey in Pakistan. Credit: Brooke/ Freya Downson

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