Many rural communities are often affected by diseases that can be transmitted between wildlife and domestic animals.



Victoria Falls Animal Health and Welfare Centre: building community networks

The Victoria Falls Community Animal Health & Welfare Centre, situated in the rural village of Ntabayengwe, 15km from Victoria Falls, opened its doors in 2016. The Centre serves the rural community as a facility to treat their domestic animals and livestock, and so improve the welfare of animals and the livelihoods of the people living alongside wildlife. It is managed by Dr Chris Foggin, and staffed by Veterinarian, Dr Isaac Moyo, and Assistant Themba Moyo.

The fully fenced centre is equipped to deal with a range of veterinary procedures. We have an operating theatre, examination room, storeroom, office, bathroom and kitchen. Outside are five kennels, several large animal pens, water troughs and a dog dipping station. Power is provided by solar energy and municipal water stored in a 2500 litre tank to ensure a regular supply.

Treatment - which is free - ranges from disease and parasite control, sterilizations, dipping and wound care. Animals can be kept overnight should they require prolonged treatment. As the community lives alongside wildlife, conflict sometimes occurs. Animals are treated for attacks by lions, hyenas and baboons, making retaliatory attacks less likely. Also, if subsistence farmers are able to have healthy livestock as a source of income or protein, they are less likely to resort to poaching.

Our vaccination programme - rabies and distemper - protects the community and their animals from diseases that can be transmitted by wildlife and vice versa. The VAWZ vehicle enables the veterinary team to carry out vaccination campaigns further afield, as well as collect injured or sick animals for treatment. Education is vital and every opportunity is used to show animal owners how to properly care for and treat their animals. Donkey Welfare Workshops are held at the Centre. Badly made and ill fitting equipment that stresses and causes injury to donkeys is replaced and owners educated in its proper use. Reflective collars are provided to reduce the likelihood of road accidents. Donkeys are dewormed, and any injuries and hooves that need attention are dealt with.

Dr Moyo has successfully completed the demanding Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife course, earning his Dangerous Drugs License and so enabling him to dart wildlife needing assistance.

Victoria Falls Clinic Activities 2021

We are pleased we were able to run the clinic and get out into the field despite the continuing challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic. We adhered to strict protocols to protect our clients and ourselves.

Cases

We had a total of 1152 cases this year - excludes routine vaccinations and sterilisations.
Dogs   Cattle   Goats   Donkeys   Cats   Pigs
721   154   185   67   19   6

Treatments and surgeries included:

  •   14 dogs treated for Transmissible Venereal Tumour (TVT), a sexually transmitted but curable cancer in dogs.
  •   8 animals, including dogs, cattle and donkeys, treated for injuries from animal bites, mainly from baboons, lions and hyenas.
  •   32 goats and 15 cattle treated for eye infections, which are a common problem in this environment.
  •   1 eye enucleation (removal) performed on a goat with a cancerous eye.
  •   3 dogs with pyometra (puss in the uterus) underwent emergency ovariohysterectomies.
  •   5 dogs treated after being involved in road traffic accidents.
  •   65 cats sterilised as part of our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programme.
  • Sterilisations

  •   149 dogs
  •   65 cats
  •   9 donkeys
  •   16 calves
  • Vaccinations

  •   1125 dogs - against rabies
  •   440 dogs - against distemper
  •   645 cattle - against blackleg, anthrax, botulism, brucellosis and lumpy skin disease
  • Dewormings

  •   1372 dogs dewormed at the Centre and during field campaigns
  • Field Campaigns

  •   17 field campaigns for sterilisation, deworming, treatment and vaccinations were conducted
  • Welfare Cases

  •   4 cases of severe neglect of dogs investigated and satisfactorily resolved
  • Donkey Welfare Workshops

  •   2 donkey welfare workshops held - exchanging unsuitable harnesses and yokes for donkey-friendly ones and educating on their use
  •   reflective collars for night time protection from vehicles provided, also more comfortable bell collars
  • Rescues and Rehoming

  •   7 kittens from urban Victoria Falls rescued and forever homes found
  • Trap-Neuter-Returns

  •   73 feral cats trapped, neutered and returned to their colonies
  • Fundraising

  •   marshalling at the annual Zambezi Offroad Club Enduro
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    You can read our more detailed report with images here.


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