When community members cannot bring their dogs to our clinic we take the clinic to their dogs!
Many people in the townships of South Africa are deprived of consistent, modern vet care because of where they live. They may be located many kilometres away from an animal hospital or clinic. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic receives anxious calls daily from community members needing help for their animals but who are just too far from us to bring their pets. Many people do not have transport to bring their pets to us and the mini-bus taxi services do not usually allow pets to travel in them.
To help the community and their pets we have a mobile veterinary clinic that visits various areas in the community. We also have an ambulance service that will collect pets and deliver them back home after receiving treatment.
Mzoxolo Cuthalele is one of Mdzananda’s drivers. He describes a recent day out in the field:
“It's a Wednesday morning. The sun is hot and so is my temperature. I'm not feeling well but I know that if I do not go to work there will not be a driver to take the mobile clinic out. The pets need me.
An Animal Welfare Assistant and I usually start by dropping off pets that have been discharged from our clinic. We have a bakkie and trailer full of dogs and cats ready to go home to their owners after receiving hospital treatment or operations in our theatre.
After the slow process of trying to find the physical addresses for our cargo of pets (roads and homes are frequently unmarked), we finally head to Mfuleni where we will be hosting our mobile clinic for the day. The thought of meeting new pets excites me.
When we arrive at Mfuleni township it is very hot and everyone is outside - some children are playing in the streets, others are resting in the shade. As we drive around looking for a suitable place to park people start to notice our truck and yell to each other, 'the animal car!'
Within minutes the line grows long and I'm contemplating whether my fever is going to allow me to tend to all of these pets! The sight of tails wagging immediately cheers me up - there is nothing better than seeing a happy, loving dog ready to be vaccinated! We swiftly set up our collapsible tables, unpack the cooler boxes of medicines we will need and get going.
Poppy is first in line - a three month old black dog. You can tell he has been at our clinic before as he is calm and knows when the injection is coming.
While we were busy with the pets a previous client came to visit and tell us how happy he was with the service he received at Mdzananda. His dog named Russia had distemper, a very contagious disease where the recovery rate is low. A week after he was admitted to the clinic Russia was back home and healthy. He could not stop thanking us. It's people like Russia's owner who really make us proud to be a part of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic.
At the end of the day the pharmacy supplies are almost finished. We pack up and head back to Mdzananda”.