Free vaccinations save pets

2018-10-04 06:02
Steven Joja, holds on to Lucy the dog, as Yolanda Hlasela, owner looks on while Bongiwe Tshayisa vaccinates her dog. PHOTO:        SIYABONGA KALIPA

Steven Joja, holds on to Lucy the dog, as Yolanda Hlasela, owner looks on while Bongiwe Tshayisa vaccinates her dog. PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

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Ongoing financial challenges were not enough to prevent Mdzananda Animal Clinic, in Khayelitsha, from vaccinating more than 100 dogs and cats against the deadly rabies virus as part of the World Rabies Day on Friday.

The clinic had initially targeted 100 dogs, but it quickly exceeded the target as more pet owners arrived for the free treatment.

More than 30 dogs were vaccinated within the hour.

Rabies is a deadly virus that spreads to people via the saliva of infected animals.

About 99% of human cases are as a result of dog bites, which can lead to fatalities.

Marcelle du Plessi, the clinic’s fund-raising and communications manager, said the Western Cape was not a hot spot for rabies, though. However, preventative measures are needed to prevent possible infections.

“All it takes is for one infected dog to come into our community for the virus to spread rapidly. Since the neighbouring provinces have reported cases of rabies, we always have to be vigilant,” she said.

She praised the public for supporting the campaign to ensure that local dogs were protected.

The clinic has been experiencing financial difficulties and had previously warned against a possible closure.

Du Plessis said as part of their rabies initiative, the public was asked to sponsor a dog for R50 to cover administrative costs, needles, syringes, gloves and veterinary schedule.

Dr Friedel le Roux, the head veterinarian, said the virus is preventable through a simple vaccination.

“Dogs and cats should first be vaccinated for rabies between 4-6 months of age. They need a booster one year from that date. Thereafter they need to be vaccinated once every three years,” she said.

Yolanda Hlasela, a dog owner, said the free vaccination protected her dogs from the rabies. She usually pays R50 for each of her two dogs, “but today the vaccination is free,”

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