Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and the people there have access to little or no veterinary care. Malawi, like many other African countries, doesn’t face the problem of an overpopulation of dogs living on the streets, compared to countries like India. Stray dogs are not able to survive on the streets as there is hardly any waste available for them to eat. Even though most dogs in Malawi are owned they are still allowed to roam freely, which means a large number of unwanted puppies are born every year. A large percentage of these won’t survive the first few weeks, as they die of diseases or starve.
Disease and injury is commonplace here for these dogs and unfortunately, a very large number of dogs have TVTs (transmissible venereal tumours) which are passed from one dog to another when mating. TVTs can be debilitating, painful and above all can be fatal.
However, at the WVS/BSPCA clinic in Blantyre, on top of sterilising these dogs (to stop the spread of the tumour) we are able to provide a weekly treatment for dogs that are affected by TVTs, which can reduce and quite often eliminate the tumour completely and therefore provide the dog with an improved quality of life.
By sterilising dogs and cats either at the clinic or at our veterinary outreach campaigns, we can reduce the number of unwanted puppies (and kittens!). Our goal is to create a healthy and stable dog population which also helps in the fight against rabies.
WVS is woking closely with our sister charity Mission Rabies who run mass vaccinations drives and have vaccinated more than 70% of the dog population against rabies in two consecutive years, a proven way to eliminate rabies. By producing a stable dog population we can make sure this percentage is sustained for longer. Sterilised dogs are healthier, as they are not having to produce and raise litters twice a year and tend to fight less (especially male dogs).
The local communities know of the benefits of having their dogs sterilised and the spay and neuter clinics are very popular and the people are grateful for our efforts which benefits the whole community. This way, WVS and Mission Rabies work as synergistic partners in the fight against rabies and are significantly improving the welfare of both the animals and the people in Malawi via our mass vaccination and sterilisation/veterinary treatment campaigns.