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ECHCU May 2014



I am sure you have all heard about the Ides of March.  Well, we have had the Ides of May.

On that very first day, Public Holiday and all, we were called to collect a donkey foal that had been attacked by dogs in Humansdorp.  Not the first time, and probably not the last!  He was brought in and treatment commenced post haste, SamS assisted Stanley and Tom to cut the hair and clean up the mess of the poor little tyke.  Normal hunting dog wounds:  shredded ears and munched butt.  A companion animal to a horse was required and the owner willing to do the business of healing with Equiwash.   At this stage, all well and proceeding as it should.

I hoped that that was it for a couple of days, but how wrong was I?  Totally and Utterly!

Having collected the cell from Stanley earlier (he was on duty that day), I received a call from the SAPS about a ‘donkey with a broken leg in Bethelsdorp’.  WO Damons remembers us from when he worked at Walmer Police Station and still had the cell number so he was able to phone and ask for help.  OK.  Time = 6.30pm.  Staff all gone home.  Ask Ayanda if he was able to assist?  Yes, Ma’am.  Collected him from the roadside, loaded up the horsebox and got going.  I had asked that the SAPS remain on the scene until we got there as Bethelsdorp at night with no street lights, no nearby houses was going to be ‘difficult’.   Ayanda, bless his cotton socks, managed to spot the poor boy up on a sand bank, gazing out at the lights.  Typical stoical donkey!   His leg was completely broken and with difficulty and some help from pedestrians and the Bethelsdorp SAPS WO Smith, we were able to load and take him directly to Kragga Kamma Game Park who had no problem letting us in at 9.30pm and helping the poor boy into his future.  Thank you to all the SAPS officers involved – you are my heroes!

Then we received a call from a lady whose gardener had told her that there was a donkey in Lusaka (Mission Road township) with a bad wound, so Tom and I took off to go find.  And yes, he was sick!   He clearly was suffering from the early stages of Tetanus but the abscess on his hip was ginormous,  Loaded and brought him in for the soccer ball sized abscess on his near hind hip and TRY to stop the Tetanus in its tracks.

While on the road we received another call about a colicky donkey in Nobuhle, Uitenhage, and so as we were halfway there anyway, we went and collected her and took both to our Veterinarians.   The colicky jenny was treated and in due course made a swift recovery and was returned home.   However, the donkey jack REGAN was another story altogether.   He had been showing typical Tetanus symptom on presentation and my heart just fell to the floor.  Once seen, never ever forgotten.  Pinched together ears, stiff legs and body, awkward gait.  After consulting with the Veterinarian, and with a second also chiming in, the abscess was lanced and an incredible amount of pus inside the abscess drained.  All the offending muck was flushed out and a regimen of Penicillin instituted forthwith.   But it was all in vain.   On Sunday he went down for the last time.  A Vet came and gave authorization for euthanasia, I went and collected the owner from Lusaka so that he could see his animal, arranged for a euthanasia soonest, and this all done in front of the owner.  Donald was really upset but was happy that his donkey was no longer suffering.   Docket opened by Donald on the lady who threw the boiling water at the donkey and that started this whole sorry story.

This whole scene was observed by many people visiting AWS for the Sunday morning dog walkies and obviously they were concerned.  A difficult time for all and it should be remembered that any excess ‘handling’ of the suffering animal, only exacerbates his decline and makes the problem worse.

The next day, the NMMM Cowboys asked us to attend to two donkeys tied up in two elderly ladies house fence in Nobuhle.  The donkeys did not belong to them and they were terrified to go outside and release them.  We travelled all that way only to find that the Nobuhle SAPS had done the job already.   Waste of time and diesel!

And then we had a surrender of a horse that was collected and taken for a Professional Opinion at the Vet rooms.   What was found was staggering!  Despite a great deal of time and trouble to help the horse regain weight and condition by two ladies, much too much damage to his organs made him irreparable, and his leg problems were unfixable.  The right thing was done for the horse and he is now in a good place and pain free after a good nights’ rest with a tummy full of lucerne.  Sorry, GOLLYWOG, that you wound up like this, but we will carry your banner forward.

Later that day, an aged blind donkey collapsed and was unable to get to her hooves again.  We duly collected her and, with heavy hearts, took her to her final resting place.

That was just the first 8 days of May!

The Donkey Clinic in Grahamstown came as a welcome relief after the previous 8 days of doom and gloom.    30+ donkeys with their owners and carts converged on the Meeting Place including a donkey with a hoof abscess that Ayanda sorted out.  Orders for harnessing.  A bunch of dewormings, replacement of bits and harnessing replaced too. Thanks to Stanley for organizing a Radio Spot reminding donkey owners that the ECHCU would be in town that morning.

Then we took a drive to the Ciskei where more donkeys awaited us.  Thanks to Tim, SamS and Ayanda, all the donkeys were dewormed albeit with a bit of a rodeo occurring.  More orders for harnessing taken.  On the way home, we took in two Complaints as well as vaccinating some horses in another Village.

Another horse surrendered for euthanasia handled on behalf of the heartbroken owner.

Alfred from Nobuhle found his donkey unable to pick its head up, literally, off the ground and yelled for help via his friend James.  Collected and taken to the Veterinarian as he was bleeding from the nose, his tongue swollen and unable to be retracted into his mouth, muzzle swollen too.  Veterinary Opinion was a major infection of the guttural pouch and with the consent of the owner, euthanased humanely.

A lighter moment was going to Walmer township to collect Stefaan who had absotively and posolutely NO intention of getting into the horsebox!  Township residents rallied to our call, including a man on crutches and a lady with a baby on her back, and assisted to load him.

Then there was the horse found galloping down Montmedy Road, Lorraine, phoned through by Walmer Police Station personnel.   Although we drove miles, we never did find him and heard the next day that somebody had loaded him.    As usual, nobody seems to know anything.  Hope he/she is safe at home.

Two of our township repatriates managed to get out of their beautiful green grass camps and wandered into the Sardinia Bay Road.  They know the drill and were subsequently found and moved back inside.  You also know the saying the grass is always greener etc….

Another Nobuhle donkey with colic was collected and a nearby donkey with a serious case of mange picked up at the same time.  Colic donkey already returned home repaired, but the mangey donkey will be with us for a while yet until he has a somewhat better coat than he arrived with.  The colic donkey jenny on being returned home and alighting from her chariot (horsebox) gave a bray and 5 minutes later, her yearling foal came tearing around the corner for a  ‘welcome home’ suckle.  Precious.

Then we were advised that the State has banned the use of Bute!   And in fact NOBODY is allowed to keep it.

The Unit also said Farewell to Carol Janse van Rensburg of the National Horseracing Authority (old Jockey Club) this month. We will miss you, Carol.  MHDSRIP

We have also had two ‘protests’ in Walmer Township to contend with over the past month.

We met our first Geocacher who came to find the hidden Cache at the Unit.  Funny how this is the first one we have seen, but when we read the list of people who had already visited, we were truly amazed.

Due to an area having a good communication system, two Thoroughbred mares found their way home quite quickly.

Having the diesel bakkie filled with petrol did not go down well, but all sorted with our Petrol Station.

Tracy held another auction (fb page ECHCU AUCTION ROOM) during the month and made some bidders very happy!  This is good!

BEGINNERS LUCK, BLACKIE AND MICAELA left the Unit during May, leaving big ‘holes’ in the camps and in our hearts!  Our camps are looking very empty! We are now down to 2 confiscated horses, 1 horse looking for adoption, 2 hospital donkeys and 4 ‘best kept inside donkeys’.

Our Humansdorp Equine clinic was quiet mainly because all the rugby fans were off at a big match, but Eliot walked at least 5km to a known stopping spot to ask us to attend to his jenny, LOLLIES, who he thought had been stabbed, but in fact had a hot water burn.  After a clean-up and penicillin injection we are sure she will make a rapid recovery. The horse that had been stolen and then found by his owner with a nasty wound to the near fore fetlock last Clinic, had healed beautifully, thanks to following our instructions.

Stanley’s Transkei visits continue as usual, only this time he had to call Dr Karl for a puzzling case, believed to be West Nile Virus!  Gulp!  Unfortunately, the horse succumbed despite Vet care.

Over 220 horses (Thoroughbreds, salt fetchers and mules) attended to over 4 days = 55 horses a day, hoof trimming, wound dressing, deworming, replacement of tack and educating, educating, educating.

We were able to give the right details to somebody else with an aged horse for euthanasia.  Rather while he was standing on his own four hooves than collapsed in a heap on the ground.

Well, 8 years down the line, that was May for you. (Yes, it is our Birthday today!) If you think you could handle this and much, much more, we are looking to find another Trainee Inspector.  Requirements: EB Drivers Licence, no criminal record, computer skills, willing to work in townships, willing to learn and take instruction, able to asses a problem and find a solution, be objective, comfortable with all equines and to fit in with the Team. PROs: Satisfaction on conclusion of a problem. CONs: some late nights and early mornings and some disturbing sights.  Please send your CV and/or short resume to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

VOLUNTEERS – Gabriella and Dominique.


TACK – Andre, Flo, Audra (splendid!), Lenise and Siobhan

FODDER – Judy, Marietjie, Treloar and A Man

Other:  Treloar and the Spar Ladies Race - cooldrinks, Suzi (Vaseline and Epson Salts sachets), Rhoda and the New Yoga Lovers – a donation in lieu of an 89th Birthday, MegM – coffee when we really needed it, and Treloar for sharing her birthday cake with Unit staff.


Banking Details:Bank:  Standard Bank    Universal Branch Code:  051001
Account: Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit (all donated monies are used by us in the Metro and beyond!)
Account Number: 080733875
Landline:  041 366 1594
Cellph: 072 357 2505
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Website: www.echcu.co.za Facebook: East Cape Horse Care Unit


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