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Dagmar's Malawi Blog

Mon 23rd Mar 2015

Our International Veterinary Manager, Dr Dagmar Mayer is in Malawi working alongside local vets supporting a dog vaccination and sterilisation drive in Blantyre, Malawi. She will be giving us weekly updates of her work via her blog. 

Malawi is among the world’s hotspots for rabies and this vicious disease poses a huge burden to the country.

Blantyre, the commercial capital in the south of the country, is the city where a single hospital reported the highest number of child rabies deaths anywhere in Africa. 

Saturday 21st of March, Blantyre

- Together with our partner charity, Blantyre SPCA, we will be launching our Malawi campaign in May 2015, aiming to vaccinate at least 70% of the dog population in Blantyre for the next 3 years to prevent transmission of the disease between dogs and to people – that’s more than 50,000 vaccinations per year!

Today the BSPCA team and me started at 7am to sterilise dogs in one of the areas of Blantyre. The principal of the Nyambadwe primary school gave his permission for using one of the classrooms for the sterilisations. 

At this place more than 1300 dogs were brought in for their rabies vaccination last year and many owners stated then that they would really like to have their dogs sterilised. These are now contacted week after week and they are coming to the school on Saturdays, waiting until it’s their dog’s turn to be anaesthetised and operated on.

"Of these puppies only a small number survives the first year, most of these die either as a result of infections or they starve."

Lots of people here own dogs which are free roaming and subsequently end up with having lots of litters year after year. Of these puppies only a small number survives the first year, most of these die either as a result of infections or they starve. Lots of dog owners understand that sterilised dogs are much healthier. Male dogs fight not so much once they are neutered and suffer less of bite wounds, females have a better immune system once they are not breeding twice a year and as a result they are also not so malnourished. 

Since the beginning of February the BSPCA team has been running sterilisation clinics on Saturdays and more than 100 dogs were neutered so far already.

Today I have joined their team and with the help of WVS supplies I was able to make some improvements to their surgery routines. We are now putting IV catheters into each dog which makes the anaesthetic protocol much safer. I brought over cordless clippers so the dogs don’t have to be shaven by hand anymore and a tattoo machine so the neutered dogs can be marked permanently. 

For the next few months I will join their team, train the local vets and vet techs some new techniques and help with sterilisations on Saturdays.

The dogs in Blantyre are very lucky to have such a great local charity to help improve their life!

To continue our work in Malawi we need your support. You can make a real difference by giving either a one-off donation or you can sign up to give regular donations.