Cape Town - The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is gearing up for a mass vaccination day to commemorate International World Rabies Day (IWRD), observed annually on September 28.
The day is set aside to raise awareness about rabies, a deadly virus that can spread through the saliva of an infected animal to humans.
The Mdzananda Clinic is planning to vaccinate 250 dogs in one day. According to the non-profit organisation based in Khayelitsha, the vaccination drive is of great importance following the discovery of rabies-infected dogs in Khayelitsha in 2021 and 2022, the first identified cases in the Western Cape since 1994.
Its General Manager Heidi May, said: “This year for International Rabies Day, we will be hosting a mass vaccination day in the Khayelitsha township where pets of the community can receive free vaccinations.
However, for the day to be successful, May said the animal clinic needs members of the public to sponsor a dog for R50. The R50 donation will cover the cost of the needles, syringes and gloves used for the vaccinations which are sponsored by the State Vet.
Each pet will also receive vaccinations for the Parvo Virus, Distemper, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus.
May said: "I can’t stress how important it is to vaccinate your dogs against rabies and now even more so as we have had cases presented in Khayelitsha. The virus can be transmitted to other animals and humans. Although the virus is usually spread through a bite it can also transmit through saliva coming into contact with lips, eyes or any exposed cuts on the body."
May said at least 99% of human cases of rabies result from dog bites and were fatal once symptoms occurred; apart from putting humans in danger, rabies can cause extreme pain and discomfort and lead to the death of the infected animal.