The lives of horses and donkeys in Afghanistan have been significantly improved by a joint welfare project between the Brooke Hospital for Animals and WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals).

Launched two months ago, the scheme provides free veterinary care for working animals in the southern city of Jalalabad, farriery training and education for owners on basic equine care.

The charities have also installed fresh drinking water troughs giving Jalalabad’s working horses unlimited access to water. Prior to this, the nearest watering point was more than three miles away and horses frequently died from heat stress in temperatures that exceeded 40øC.

Sick and injured working animals can now be treated by vets from the Committee for Rehabilitation Aid to Afghanistan at five of the city’s busiest carriage stands, thanks to the project.

The most common problems encountered by the teams are malnourishment, overgrown feet and teeth, heavy worm burdens and lameness.

The Brooke’s veterinary advisor, Joy Pritchard says: “My recent visit to Afghanistan was inspiring. The vets have achieved so much in such a short time.

“The horses and donkeys are receiving the care and treatment they need and their owners are seeing the benefits. Animals are alreadybeing brought from far-flung villages to be treated by our vets.”

WSPA’s project officer says: “The farriers are using their new farriery kits with pride and we see the youngest boys with donkeys show off their new hoof-picking and grooming skills.

“The new pumps and water troughs will be a lifesaver during the hot summer months and will give water to the whole community, not just their horses.

“I’m delighted that the project has got off to such a good start.”

For more information on these charities visit: www.brooke-hospital.org.uk or www.wspa-international.org