ANYONE who thinks their neighbours’ dogs are a nuisance should take a look at Africa.
In towns like Maun, in Botswana, dogs run feral through the streets, breeding unchecked and spreading diseases among safari wildlife.
Two Witney vets have spent a fortnight in Maun, helping a local charity treat sick dogs.
Vet Doris Gangl and veterinary nurse, Lauren Jobson, from Cogges Veterinary Surgery, were part of a team which spayed 41 bitches, castrated 37 dogs and, on average, put one dog to sleep every day due to disease.
Miss Gangl, 40, originally from Austria, learnt about Maun through the charity Worldwide Veterinary Service, which helps in Botswana.
She said: “It is upsetting, especially when it is easy to treat diseases like distemper.
“Some people were grateful to see us. Others didn’t seem fussed either way, which we found weird.
“One owner, whose dog had distemper, was devastated when had to put his pet to sleep.”
The vets did operations in the morning and spent afternoons on home visits to pet owners with no means of transport.
Miss Gangl said the main problem was that dog owners allowed pets to roam freely so they breed unchecked and spread diseases.
Distemper causes fever and can progress to neurological symptoms which are nearly always fatal.
It can also be transmitted to African wild dogs and lions.
They worked with Maun Animal Welfare Society, where all animals seen are vaccinated against rabies and receive shots that are standard in the UK. Dogs are also treated against worms, fleas and ticks.
Miss Gangl said: “While we were there we only saw two overweight dogs, which in the UK is the most common problem you see in dogs.”
November’s Botswana trip was just the beginning of Cogges’ charity work to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
This month surgery owner Karen Kappen and head nurse Lisa Knight will do similar work in Egypt.