“Spayathons hosted by animal welfare organisations in the Overberg contribute significantly to a reduction in contagious diseases and an overall improvement in animal health.”

So says veterinary surgeon Dr Hilldidge Beer of EberVet CVC who recently sterilised 22 dogs and cats from impoverished homes in Stanford on behalf of Stanford Animal Welfare Society (SAWS). This was SAWS’ second spayathon of the year.

“Reducing the numbers of unwanted animals roaming the streets helps to lessen the spread of deadly diseases like distemper and parvovirus, and when pet owners interact with welfare organisations like SAWS they also have access to basic veterinary care like deworming and dipping which further contributes to disease eradication,” Beer said. Many welfare societies also vaccinate. The impact of a recent distemper outbreak in Stanford was significantly diminished because welfare volunteers conducted a vaccination campaign.

“Most importantly, spayathons offer the ideal opportunity for welfare organisations and veterinarians to educate pet owners about animal health,” she said. At the SAWS spayathon, a dog with severe mange was immediately identified and given medication, while Beer explained to her owner what caused the disease (a mite burrowing under the skin) and how to fight it in future. The owner had thought his dog contracted the disease from wet grass.

“There are other major benefits of sterilisation: spaying and neutering protects pets against mammary and testicular cancers and helps to strengthen the immune systems of adult dogs and cats. I would urge everyone to support animal welfare spayathons because they’re not only protecting welfare pets, they’re strengthening the pet population as a whole by helping to eradicate diseases that are easily spread,” Beer said.

The SAWS spayathon was held at the Stanford Community Hall. Dr Beer was joined by Caledon-based community service veterinarian Dr Maricia Schempers who administered anaesthetics. At least 12 SAWS volunteers and committee members nursed the cats and dogs post-operatively before returning them to their owners. Neil Plaatjies of Syringa Country Kennels assisted Schempers. SAWS is hoping to hold a second mass pet sterilisation clinic in November if it can raise sufficient funds.


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