Our campaign in Thogoto was the last of the year! Thank you to all our incredible volunteers, supporters and donors for making it happen.
The location was a massive field next to a school down a back road. Dark grey skies greeted us, and an early morning heavy shower, meant that the green field soon turned to mud and we trudged around struggling to set up. We were a little worried that perhaps the rain would keep people and their animals away, but thankfully, that was not the case. The rain stopped and people and animals began arriving in droves!
Thogoto is an area in Kikuyu that is very rural, with dairy and tea growing the main industries and it soon transpired that people keep a lot of dogs. It was not unusual for some keepers to arrive with anything upto 9 dogs in tow! – none on leads. But since the dogs live like this, they were very well socialised, and scampered around in the field chasing each other!
However, ‘living free’ also meant that there was no way these dogs were going to allow a stranger to come near them with a needle and syringe, so our animal handlers were extremely busy catching the dogs in special nets, so that the vets could administer rabies vaccinations. In these cases also, giving deworming pills was out of the question, so the dogs received a shot of ivermectin – a drug which treats intestinal parasites (and also skin issues).
The dogs we saw were on the whole unusually healthy, with good coats and fairly plump. We soon realised why. There was a slaughter house in the area! So they had access to a constant, tasty food source.
Cats arrived by the 100, usually in plastic sacks (though one arrived in a chicken cage). Our cat rabies vaccination team have to handle them very carefully, as they have to transfer the cat from a sack in order to give them the vaccination and dewormer. Some cats have to be temporarily placed in a special veterinary restraining cage for their own safety, while the injection is administered.
Thank you to Professor Susan Mbugua who took time out of her busy schedule to drop by the campaign to show her support for our work and ended up diagnosing a dog that appeared to have squamous cell sarcoma in its throat, impacting the dogs ability to eat. The vet students were lucky to have the Professor there and to see the diagnoses made and to hear Professor counsel the owner on the lack of treatment for this late stage cancer and the advice to humanely have the dog euthanized. The owner thought about it for awhile and agreed that his dog had lived a long good life and he didn’t want the dog to suffer, so the dog was euthanized and the owner took the dog home to bury him.