We work with the District Veterinary Authorities to help to try to keep the incidence of rabies in the domestic dog population down, in order to try to minimize the threat of the disease spreading in to the wild dog and other wildlife populations. Fortunately, the Chiredzi District vet with whom we work closely is a very good man and his staff team are excellent and dedicated to their job. But nonetheless, shortages of various things often result in the job being done less effectively than it could be, and this is where we step in to help. We assist the district veterinary department with fuel, rations and vaccines as required, to make sure that as many dogs as possible are vaccinated during each campaign (which are combined with the foot and mouth vaccination days for cattle).
Such a campaign was carried out over the past couple of weeks with the last two days being focussed on the domestic dogs living within the Save Valley Conservancy (owned by the farmers who invaded the conservancy in 2000). Obviously these dogs provide the greatest threat to wild dogs because of their close proximity to the wildlife, and indeed cases of rabies in this population were reported only last week.
Rueben helped with awareness raising prior to the vaccination days and we provided 1000 dog vaccines, 20 vaccines for humans (for the veterinary technicians), fuel (200 liters of petrol) and rations for the field staff.
The turn out (of people bringing their dogs to the dip tanks) was much better than usual and once I have the official figures from the vet department I will let you know how many dogs were vaccinated.
Here are some scenes from the day – taken by Rueben who went along to help…