Animal clinic battles against canine viral epidemic

The parvo influx has put a strain on funding of Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha. Photo by Qhama Mroleli

A Khayelitsha animal clinic is facing funding difficulty whilst fighting one of the worst canine viral epidemics in more than two decades.

A Khayelitsha-based animal clinic says it is being plagued by the worst of influx of canine parvovirus in the 22 years of its existence.

According to the media statement by the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, the canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness affecting dogs. It spreads through the faeces of infected dogs. Common symptoms of an infected dog includes vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and loss of appetite and is often fatal.

“On average, our clinic admits 14 parvo patients per month. In the past month we admitted 45 patients,” said Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager. When Elitsha visited the clinic on Tuesday there were eight dogs that were treated for the disease.

The clinic’s general manager, Susan Wishart, said that the clinic is registered as a non-profit organisation, meaning that they charge a nominal fee to pet owners but if they cannot afford it, they still help the animals. The organisation is in a difficult financial position after losing their main funder due to international budget cuts and the funder’s limited capacity to raise funds.

“Because the animals have a loss of appetite, we need to buy a certain kind of food that smells nice to entice them to eat. The food is expensive,” stated Wishart. The parvo influx has consequently put more strain on their funding.

“We’ve calculated that it has been costing us R1,273 per parvo dog per day so far. Each dog stays with us for approximately 5 days resulting in a cost of R6,365 per dog,” said du Plessis. “We would really appreciate any donations towards our current Parvo influx.”

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Parvovirus infection can be prevented by having dogs vaccinated. Puppies should be vaccinated at 6 weeks of age, have their second shot a month later and their third shot a month after that. Thereafter only one booster shot is required per year.

According to Wishart, lots of animals that come to the clinic from the township are hit by cars and she told Elitsha that doing orthopaedic operations on animals is expensive.

If you would like to make a donation to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, please contact them on or 021 367 6001.

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