This year September 28th marks the 10th World Rabies Day, a milestone in promoting life-saving rabies prevention messages, in which Mayhew International has helped and become a big part of.
Mayhew International has been working to address the issues around free-roaming dog populations for more than 15 years. We work to promote animal welfare and the humane management of cats and dogs through vet-training programmes and a network of community animal care initiatives in Afghanistan, Russia, Georgia, and India.
Most rabies cases in humans come from dog bites; not only from free-roaming dogs, but also from owned pets carrying the disease. Many countries spend millions on inhumane and ineffective programmes to control and contain rabies, such as mass culling of dogs, and access to human post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment is frequently inaccessible to many as it is too expensive. Over 95% of the 59,000 human rabies deaths each year occur in Africa and Asia as a result of being bitten by an infected dog.
But lives can be saved by mass dog vaccination programmes – an intervention that is also much more cost-effective. Vaccination of at least 70% of a dog population is considered to be sufficient to enable the elimination of canine rabies and combined with education programmes on rabies control and prevention, are the solutions to eradicate this terrible disease which presently brings needless suffering to both people and dogs.
Many of the countries where Mayhew International works are considered high-risk for rabies:
In India, we have worked with HOPE & Animal Trust in Ranchi since 2006 and since 2008 have funded their neutering and rabies vaccination programme. In April this year we neutered the 50,000th street dog in the region and a recent survey showed that around 74% of the street dogs are now neutered and vaccinated. Ranchi is also one of the focus points in India for the work of Mission Rabies and The Mayhew is proud to have helped fund and deliver this project in Ranchi over the last three years, culminating in no recorded rabies cases in dogs for the last two years. This accomplishment is significant in working to contain and control the dog population in the city of Ranchi and the goal of eradicating rabies there.
Mayhew International also funds an Education Officer for HOPE, who goes out into the communities and schools to educate children and adults on compassion towards animals, rabies prevention and the benefits of neutering, therefore changing their perceptions and improving the lives of both the animals and the humans in their area.
In Georgia, our vets pass on their skills and conduct training at the Agrarian University Clinic in Tbilisi and also with on-site vets at the Tbilisi Municipal Dog Shelter, the largest shelter in Tbilisi. The Mayhew Animal Home’s Head Vet, Dr Ursula Goetz, has trained Georgian vets who now continue to train other Georgian vets and student vets. We also provide Tbilisi City Council with guidance on the implementation of the Trap, Neuter, Return programme for free-roaming dogs in Tbilisi with mandatory rabies vaccination, combined with advice on disease control and raising awareness in the community about humane dog population management.
Caroline Yates, Chief Executive Officer, The Mayhew Animal Home, said: “We believe that education is key in relieving the needless suffering of animals overseas, and that’s why we help fund and implement various vet training and animal welfare projects across the world.”
“Culling of dogs does not eliminate rabies or help to reduce the roaming dog population in the long term. Combining vaccination and population management control with education and training is more humane and effective, which is what Mayhew International is trying to achieve.”
In Afghanistan, Mayhew International completed the first ever Dog Population Survey in Kabul, in February last year, laying the groundwork for a large scale rabies vaccination project there. Our Afghanistan Project Manager, Dr Mohammadzai DVM, presented the survey results and findings to the Ministry of Agriculture and representatives of WHO, the FAO, Rabies in Asia Foundation amongst others, who have now formed a Rabies Action Committee which includes Mayhew International. The committee was in favour of the programme progressing to the next stage and in agreement that the present culling of street dogs should cease before the programme was initiated. The Mayhew has now registered as an established Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Afghanistan and will be working to implement a mass dog vaccination programme and education programmes for Kabul residents.
In Moscow, we also train vets from several charitable groups in and around Moscow including Human Ecology, Fond Dingo, Big Hearts Foundation and PetFund, on safe and secure neutering techniques for dogs and cats. The training covers not only the most up-to-date reproductive surgical techniques, but also pre and post-operative care and welfare of the animals, a vital component of any successful Trap, Neuter, Return programme. Some of the organisations have now secured contracts with their local municipalities for TNR programmes which now include mandatory vaccination against rabies and leptospirosis.
The Mayhew receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from our supporters to continue helping, training and funding vaccination programmes and animal birth control projects for thousands of animals around the globe. You could help us do so much more by making a donation here.
You can find out more about the services we offer at our Vet Clinic here.
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