Coronavirus and the lockdown have taken their toll on animals in Khayelitsha and the Mdzananda Animal Clinic is in desperate need of assistance.
“Lockdown and the coronavirus are hurting our organisation. That means the pets of Khayelitsha are hurting too,” says Marcelle du Plessis, fundraising and communications manager of Mdzananda Animal Clinic.
“With people at home during lockdown, they are able to spend more time with their pets. This allows people to notice illnesses and injuries more quickly.
“As a result pets are coming through our doors in numbers. There are also still many emergency accidents happening such as pets being run over by cars, bitten by free-roaming dogs and more.”
Classified as an essential service, the animal clinic, registered as a non-profit and public benefit organisation, is open to pets from the Khayelitsha community with life-threatening emergencies as well as primary health care including initial vaccinations, dewormers and flea and tick treatment, as per the South African Veterinary Council regulations.
“The reality is that most of the pets that come to our clinic have a life-threatening emergency as all pets from the community are compromised due to lots of fleas, ticks and worms,” says Ms Du Plessis.
But the organisation has taken an enormous financial knock. During the first three weeks of lockdown they lost R108 000.
“We’re not getting funds from adoptions, fewer people are able to pay our small fee for treatments and we are not getting any funds from our vet shop.
“We also have substantial increased expenses due to lockdown difficulties such as medication in short supply, requiring us to use more expensive suppliers or alternative expensive options.
“There are no extra funds in our budget to meet this extra need.”
Now that the lockdown has been extended until the end of April, the organisation estimates that it will lose a further R72 000.
One patient was a Rottweiler puppy called Rotti. The animal clinic received a distressed call from his owner. Rotti was showing symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and lethargy. This most likely meant that Rotti had the potentially fatal parvovirus.
“His owner is a dishwasher at a restaurant and his income is down to zero. He can’t pay, he doesn’t have a car and there’s no public transport to get Rotti to get medical care. “That’s why our doors are open and our animal ambulance is in full swing, collecting pets in need,” says Ms Du plessis.
“Rotti’s treatment alone cost us around R3 000.
“Just last week we received more phone calls from pet owners like this. A dog with a pelvic fracture. A cat with bite wounds tearing into her lungs. This is not the time for pets to be without medical care.”
There are an estimated
200 000 to 300 000 pets in the densely populated Khayelitsha, she added.
Pet owners who had no access to transport pre-lockdown relied on the ambulance service to collect their pets to take them to the hospital.
“Our animal welfare assistant and driver risk their own lives daily to be on the road, collecting pets in need. They are equipped with masks, sanitiser and gloves,” says general manager Susan Wishart.
The clinic, including a hospital, theatre, consultation rooms and stray unit, is operational with half the usual staff component to reduce the possibility of the full staff component being infected. “This means fewer hands to do a lot of work,” says Ms Wishart.
The clinic is appealing to the public for financial assistance to help them keep their doors open to the pets of Khayelitsha during this time.
For more information or for details on how you can help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mdzananda.co.za