At Tygerberg Animal Hospital we recognise that the majority of animals in this country do not have access to veterinary care. We therefore have a social responsibility programme that reaches out to help less fortunate pets by partnering with registered welfare organizations. One of the organisations we work with most closely is Fisantekraal Animal Welfare (FAW).
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Our vets have been involved with FAW since it was established in 2005. Initially spayathons to sterilize pets in the township were held in Fisantekraal itself, either at the local school or at the community hall. However, it became difficult to arrange for the use of these facilities and sterility was also an issue. Therefore, since 2011, TAH has offered the use of our facilities at the Durbanville Clinic, in Plein Street, for the spayathons. We try to do a spayathon about every eight weeks during the warmer months. In the winter this becomes more difficult as many pets sleep outside at night, and this could be dangerous after surgery.
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The TAH vets and nurses partner with colleagues from Durbanville Animal Clinic to volunteer time on a Saturday afternoon to sterilize at the spayathons. As morning consulting hours draw to a close at noon, the FAW bakkies and an assortment of private vehicles driven by the dedicated FAW volunteers begin arriving at the clinic with dogs and cats from Fisantekraal, Morningstar, Klipheuwel and pets of farm workers who live in the Durbanville area.
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As the patients arrive they are checked, tranquilised and given pain-killers in preparation for their surgery. It is amazing how well-mannered most of these animals are. Taken from their homes by strangers, loaded together into vehicles and driven to the Clinic, one would expect them to be scared or aggressive.
However the majority of them meet us with wagginG tails and a trusting lick on the hand.
Once the pre-med has taken effect, the animals are anaesthetised and the hard work begins. With up to six vets operating simultaneously at each spayathon things can get pretty hectic, but by now we have established a good routine and generally surprise ourselves at how quickly we are able to complete all the sterilizations.
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The patients are allowed to recover from the surgery in our hospital and once they are fully awake,their vital signs and surgical wounds are given a final check. Then they are once again loaded into the vehicles to be taken home. Drugs and suture material for the spayathons are kindly donated by veterinary supply companies, MCP, Lakato and Vetserv and we use our own surgical equipment. At our Bellville, Kenridge and Sonstraal branches we also do 10 to 15 additional welfare sterilizations every week.
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We sterilize between 30 and 50 dogs and cats at each spayathon.
In 2013, a total of 562 pets were sterilized for FAW and in the first three months of this year we have already sterilized 147 animals. If you would like to learn more about FAW or make a donation of either money or goods for their charity shop, please visit their website at www.faw.za.org. If you would like to donate towards their veterinary bill at TAH, please make a deposit directly into our account with their account number 86734:FAW as a reference. The sterilizations we do for FAW are free and we help them and other registered welfare organisations with vastly discounted rates on medical treatment and other operations. However, with the great need for their services, their veterinary bills can run into thousands of rands monthly.
They also do vaccinations and weekly dipping of dogs in Fisantekraal to help prevent the spread of diseases and parasites. Over 1500 dogs were vaccinated and dipped last year. By controlling indiscriminate backyard breeding by doing sterilizations and the work done by FAW in Fisantekraal, there has been a huge improvement in the condition of the pets in this township and surrounding areas. TAH is proud to be part of this initiative.