HomeNewsAware Trust to vaccinate 12 000 dogs in Tsholotsho

Aware Trust to vaccinate 12 000 dogs in Tsholotsho

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AWARE Trust Zimbabwe is rolling out a sterilisation and vaccination programme, targeting 12 000 dogs in Tsholotsho amid revelations that the rural district is being ravaged by the lethal canine distemper virus (CDV) and rabies.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

In a statement on Tuesday, the trust said the campaign, which started recently and will be rolled out fully next year, had received an overwhelming response from villagers.

Aware Trust said after performing a preliminary survey on dog numbers and owners’ attitudes in September, the veterinary doctors started the vaccination and sterilisation at the end of October in Nkunzi ward, where 37 dogs were spayed, 55 castrated and 893 vaccinated in the first round.

“Team Snippy will be positioned for much of next year, but for the past month, the response has been overwhelming. This time around we are aiming to vaccinate a much larger dog population – a total of 12 000 dogs – in the communal lands south of Hwange National Park in the coming months.

“The area is notorious for lethal canine distemper virus outbreaks in village dogs, which often leave the few survivors with lifelong neurological symptoms such as tremors and twitches. Apart from the devastation to domestic dogs, CDV is a particularly serious threat to wild carnivores such as African wild dogs and lions on the periphery of the park. Kruger National Park in South Africa lost an entire pack of African wild dogs to CDV in 2016,”the trust said.

Aware Trust added that rabies was also rife in the area, with several human fatalities being recorded recently.

“It is hoped that by vaccinating 12 000 domestic dogs with 7-in-1 and rabies, the suffering caused by these dreaded diseases will be drastically reduced.

“Along with the vaccinating, Aware’s usual sterilisation service is being provided with a target of 100 sterilisations per month. Sick and injured dogs that would normally never see a vet in their lives are also treated,” the organisation said.

The programme is being funded by Dogs Trust Worldwide in an effort to improve the lives of Zimbabwe’s rural dog population.

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