Domestic Dog Sterilisation and Rabies Vaccination Campaign in Sipepa
The AWARE Team, in conjunction with the Vet Department, returned from Sipepa in the Tsholotsho Communal Lands on the southern border of Hwange National Park, where AWARE carried out a domestic dog sterilisation and rabies vaccination campaign. Based at Sipepa Animal Health Centre, AWARE offered this campaign free of charge to dog owners living in the area. The campaign was very well attended and a warm welcome received from the community. Sadly, whilst carrying out the campaign, we received news that 2 people (a child of 7 and an adult of 40) had died of rabies in the district having been bitten by a rabid dog a month prior. Being fairly remote, they did not manage to get the post exposure rabies vaccines that can be life saving. Other reports of animals behaving strangely confirmed that rabies is prevalent in the area, making this campaign essential.
68 dogs (mostly females) were sterilised and more than 1900 dogs were vaccinated for rabies and dewormed. Of these, 950 dogs also received 5n1 vaccine, protecting them (and the wildlife they come into contact with) from the dreaded distemper and parvo viruses. Distemper has been known to wipe out entire prides of lions so AWARE felt this was important to cover given the proximity of Hwange National Park. Details of each dog and owner were recorded and rabies certificates issued. Tick borne diseases were common amongst the dogs seen by the Vets and the first 1000 or so dogs received Frontline treatment to help protect them against ticks as well as receiving treatment for any injuries. All dogs operated on underwent the critical 72 hour post op check, so important for detecting possible infections. As an incentive to return for these checks, owners received a T shirt after the Vets had done the checks. Dogs sporting the worst leads were given new donated collars and leads and all those operated on and those most malnourished received a bag of nutritional feed to take home.
Some members of the community were unable to make the distances to Sipepa, so AWARE vehicles were loaded up with vet supplies and went mobile, driving to various dip tanks in the area to vaccinate and bringing back to Sipepa AHC any dogs needing sterilisation. After recovery, the dogs were safely transported back to their homes.
Donkeys in need of care and attention were also brought to the clinic and received crisis treatment, also allowing us the opportunity to work with the newest member of the AWARE team, Piri (formerly Donkey Protection Trust). Aside from injuries to donkeys treated at the clinic, AWARE Vets happened to come across a donkey who had stumbled, causing his cart carrying water to smash into his back and trapping him. The small boy driving was unable to right the cart on his own. Fortunately the donkey escaped with bruising and a flesh wound on his back, but surprisingly his back was not broken. This lucky donkey was treated and given painkillers.
AWARE is extremely grateful to Dr Vin Ramlaul and his assistant Elliot, who donated precious time to relentlessly sterilised dogs all day long. Thanks to Sarah who willingly agreed to home an extremely thin little dog aptly named “Sipepa”. On visiting Sipepa at Twala just a week later, the change in her was amazing, she had her spirit back; she greeted, and remembered, each of us, ears up, running and playing, a little bulging belly and a tail threatening to wag right off! Thank you Sarah for allowing Sipepa a second chance of a happy life with new friends at Twala.
Thank you Cheesman for sponsoring the AWARE “Don’t Litter - Spay and Neuter” t-shirts. To Manny, Eddy, Di, Lorraine and Emma for donated colouring books, crayons, camping equipment and delicious vegetarian meals to feed the hungry Team. Grateful thanks to all the VEA’s at Sipepa Animal Health and Tsholotsho Vet Office who accommodated our every need, assisted greatly and sent such wonderful positive feedback after the campaign; it was a pleasure to work together. To the wonderful people of Tsholotosho, our thanks for your participation, warm welcome and gratitude. This area is, arguably, the prettiest communal area we have worked in with no litter and abundant trees! By no means least, to Brian and Lizzy from Austin Texas, benefactors of this campaign as well as volunteers, thank you for making this campaign possible and for all your hard work to assist Zimbabwe’s wildlife and domestic animals. Thanks to all our donors for your continued support for AWARE.
Such campaigns as this are essential to the health of humans, domestic animals and wildlife and many more such campaigns are required throughout the County. AWARE is well placed to step up these campaigns and would be most grateful for donations to do so. If you would like to help please donate through our website or contact email@example.com for AWARE’s bank details.