In efforts to fight the infectious disease rabies, the County Government of Nyeri through the Department of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries commenced a 30 day vaccination program of dogs, cats and donkeys at Mukurweini Central ward in Mukurweini Sub-county.
Last year, the Department of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries facilitated the vaccination of 7,200 animals in the county. In this year’s mop up exercise, the team plans to vaccinate at least 5,000 animals.
Rabies is an infectious disease that affects the central nervous system in mammals. It can be spread to people from the saliva of infected animals. Animals that have contracted rabies may show a variety of signs, including fearfulness, aggression, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, paralysis and seizures. It is usually spread through an animal bite. The most likely animals to spread rabies include dogs, bats, Jackals and as has been observed in the recent events, donkeys and cats.
Speaking at the forum, CEC James Wachihi recognized the importance of this exercise in that it promotes the safety and well-being of the people of Nyeri. He insisted on the importance of good ownership practices in dog and animal keeping in general. He noted that it is a requirement by law that dog owners feed, control and kennel their dogs to ensure the safety and well-being of themselves and others.
He expressed concern about the rapid increase in the number of stray dogs in the county and pointed out the numerous risks they bring along.
In efforts to curb this, the County Government of Nyeri has started a dog population management exercise dubbed County Dog Population Management Program which the CEC launched by presenting the sub-county veterinary officers with surgical kits to assist in the castration of dogs.
CEC James Wachihi also pointed out that the County Government of Nyeri is working hand in hand with the Kenya Wildlife Service to fight the disease in cases where it occurs in wild animals like jackals.
Dr. Joseph Mwangi, The Director of Veterinary Services and his team comprising of Veterinary officers from the sub-counties not only vaccinated animals but also engaged locals on responsible dog ownership practices and the take of the law on dog keeping. They also taught locals on important guidelines to follow in case of an animal bite:
- Treat all bites as rabies transmitting bites.
- When bitten, clean area immediately with clean running water and soap for at least two minutes.
- Immediately rush to the nearest health center for medical advice.
- Never skip the dosage prescribed once started.
The exercise will run for 30 days with the veterinary team traversing Nyeri County vaccinating animals and educating locals