UK charities support Nepal’s equine owners after Glanders outbreak - Veterinary Practice
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UK charities support Nepal’s equine owners after Glanders outbreak

The International Coalition of Working Equids (ICWE) has collectively produced practical materials, including instructional films, to support equine owners in Nepal after the confirmed presence of glanders

The International Coalition of Working Equids (ICWE) is offering its support and expertise to equine owners in Nepal, after the country’s government confirmed the presence of the deadly disease, glanders, in May 2021.

Glanders primarily affects horses, donkeys and mules and is a highly infectious and life-threatening disease, which can also be passed to humans.

ICWE members have collaboratively produced practical materials for equine owners, including instructional films which are easily accessible across the country. 

Recognising the need to get information and advice to owners quickly, especially in remote areas, ICWE produced a series of six short films, which have been translated into local languages by Animal Nepal, an in-country NGO supported by the coalition.

Animal Nepal, a working partner to The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare, distributed the easy-to-view films to stakeholders via its social media platforms, primarily WhatsApp.

The films focus on key biosecurity principles, such as practicing good hygiene and implementing quarantine when necessary. Helpful instructions in the films can easily be adapted for the treatment of other equine illnesses and will be a useful resource for future disease outbreaks.

ICWE Chair and Director of Advocacy at The Donkey Sanctuary Ian Cawsey, said: “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. 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.”

ICWE also organised a practical, hands-on workshop for Animal Nepal in which experts spoke and passed on practical advice based on their experience of managing glanders in the field. 

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

Historically, glanders was a major disease for equids worldwide. Largely eradicated from North America, Australia and Europe, there are still sporadic reports of the disease in a number of Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and South American countries. 

In equids, the disease causes nodules and ulcerations in the respiratory tract and lungs and a skin condition, known as “farcy”. In humans, the disease can take different forms but recovery is possible if treated quickly with antibiotics. 

ICWE is comprised of four working animal NGOs: Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare. All four charities work with rural communities around the world, supporting working equids and the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.

ICWE aims to help implement the OIE international Standard for the welfare of working equids, as well as encourage ongoing improvements to the welfare for working equids across the globe. It formed as a coalition to improve communications with the OIE and other international organisations.

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