Join the Global Movement on World Rabies Day: Uniting for “All for 1 – One Health for All”

Join the Global Movement on World Rabies Day: Uniting for “All for 1 – One Health for All”

South Africa, Johannesburg: On 28 September 2023, South Africa will be celebrating the 17th World Rabies Day with the theme “Rabies:  All for 1, One Health for All”. This year’s theme extends from the accomplishments of the 2022 campaign, which similarly focused on the One Health concept. However, this year’s focus takes a stride forward by emphasising collaboration, equality and the enhancement of the health systems. The slogan ‘All for 1, One Health for All’ is derived from the famous Alexandre Dumas’ novel of The Three Musketeers: “All for one and one for all”. Similar to the perseverance of these fictional characters, this group of individuals overcame hardships and injustice to achieve their goals – this correlates with the struggles experienced with rabies control and how stakeholders need to join hands to overcome injustice (imbalanced health systems) and collaboratively pursue the global goal of eradicating human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030. 

This message urges all South African’s to play their part, stay informed about rabies, and raise awareness within their sphere of influence. 

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means that people can become infected by an infected animal. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal mainly through bites, scratches or licks. Rabies affects the brain and is fatal once a person or animal shows clinical signs. Animals infected by rabies show changes in behaviour and neurological symptoms. They may salivate, become paralysed, are unable to swallow, continuously vocalise (barking, whining, howling etc.), and become aggressive. They might also exhibit weakness or unresponsiveness. Although any mammal might fall victim to rabies, the primary threat to human health stems from infected dogs and cats. 

Animal rabies occurs in all nine provinces, highlighting the importance of vaccinating dogs and cats against rabies in all regions. Canine rabies cycles are predominantly focussed in the eastern parts of the country (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape provinces and the eastern Free State border with Lesotho). See map below. 

Some areas within these provinces have highly concentrated free-roaming dog populations, which exacerbates the spread of the disease, if these dog populations are not adequately vaccinated. Individuals are advised to refrain from unfamiliar animals and instead, report stray animals to local welfare authorities. Remember that rabies may occur anywhere in South Africa and therefore it is strongly advised to exercise caution when handling unfamiliar animals.

In both animals and humans, the disease affects the brain and once clinical signs become visible, there is no curative treatment, and it is 100% fatal. Therefore, if exposure to a potentially rabid animal occurs, ensure thorough washing of the wound with soap and running water and immediately seek preventative treatment at your nearest healthcare facility.  Doing this can save your life!

It is compulsory, in accordance with the law, for all dogs and cats to be correctly vaccinated against rabies. This measure safeguards both pets and families. Enquire with your local state veterinarian, animal health technician, private veterinarian or animal welfare organisation for access to rabies vaccinations.

As World Rabies Day approaches, let us stand together in the global fight against rabies, embracing the “ALL FOR 1 – ONE HEALTH FOR ALL” approach. Together, we can eliminate this preventable disease and create a healthier, safer world for all. 

Source: SAVA

We will vaccinate 250 dogs this World Rabies Day – Please sponsor one dog for R50!

Image provided by: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

We will vaccinate 250 dogs this World Rabies Day – Please sponsor one dog for R50!

Today is International World Rabies Day and we aim to vaccinate 250 dogs.
You can help us to do so

After the recent identification of rabies in the area it is essential to reach as many animals as possible. Today we will be hosting a mass vaccination day where community members are invited to bring their pets and have them vaccinated for free.

Rabies is a deadly virus that can spread to people from the saliva of infected animals. 99% of human cases result from dog bites and are fatal once symptoms occur. Apart from putting humans in danger the virus causes extreme pain, discomfort and leads to the death of the infected dog. 

But it is 100% preventable through a simple vaccination.

Help us reach 250 dogs. Sponsor a rabies vaccination for just R50.
Your R50 will cover the gloves, needles and syringes. The vaccinations are sponsored by the state vet. 

Help even further
Sponsor an extra R50 to give the same dog a vaccination against deadly diseases including Parvo Virus, Distemper, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus.

No dog should experience this…

Image provided by: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

Source: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

Prisoners for profit

Image: Pixabay

Prisoners for profit

NO Animal should be used for human entertainment, or imprisoned for profit!!

In the realm of human entertainment, the symbiotic relationship between animals and society has been both a source of wonder and controversy and animals have been included in many human leisure activities. However, the use of animals for human amusement is a topic that stirs ethical debates and raises questions about the intersection of entertainment, conservation, and the well-being of these creatures. This complex interplay between the desire for amusement and the responsibility toward the welfare of animals continues to shape the evolving narrative of animals in human entertainment.

The use of animals for entertainment has a long history that dates back to ancient civilizations. The first recorded instances of animal entertainment can be traced to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece. Many animals were and are still used for blood sports.

Here are some examples of where animals are used for entertainment and profit:

CIRCUS, ZOOS & AQUARIUMS

The concept of circuses, as we know them today, started to take shape in the 18th and 19th centuries. These traveling shows often featured trained animals performing tricks and acts, becoming a popular form of entertainment in many parts of the world. While some circuses have transitioned to animal-free shows due to ethical concerns, the use of animals in circuses has historically been a prominent form of entertainment.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, aquatic entertainment parks, like marine parks and aquariums, gained popularity. These venues showcased trained dolphins, seals, and whales performing in aquatic displays. Zoos date back even further.

Do you remember how you hated lockdown?  Watch this video on the permanent lockdowns animals are forced into in these industries where they are imprisoned for life for human profit.

HORSE RACING

Horse racing is a popular sport where horses compete in races for entertainment and gambling. Our concerns include the welfare, the use of performance-enhancing substances and the potential for injuries, the disposal of the horses when they can’t be used for profit anymore and that is not all.

ANIMAL RIDES

In some tourist destinations, animals like elephants, camels, and horses are used to provide rides to visitors. These practices have faced criticism due to concerns about the welfare of the animals, as they may endure long hours of work, inadequate living conditions, and physical strain. When you look at the anatomy of these animals, you will also be concerned.

RODEOS

Rodeos involve events where cowboys and cowgirls compete in various activities involving livestock, such as bull riding, calf roping, and bronc riding. These events can cause stress and injuries to the animals involved.

FALCONRY & BIRD FLIGHT COMPETITIONS

Falconry is an ancient practice where trained birds of prey are used to hunt animals. While it’s considered a cultural heritage in some regions, debates arise over the ethics of keeping wild birds in captivity for human entertainment. I also do not support the use of flight doves for competition and human entertainment.

PETTING ZOOS

Petting zoos allow visitors to interact with domesticated and sometimes exotic or wild animals. While they aim to provide hands-on educational experiences, I cannot in good conscience support it because for me, it is about the animals’ mental health, stress levels and exposure to potentially harmful human contact, and that is apart from the other welfare concerns.

“SANCTUARIES”

The same goes for sanctuaries. True sanctuaries understand this well. Let us look at lions for example: Early removal of cubs from mom so they can be used for tourists’ interaction and petting farms is one.  The older cubs are used for lion walks some lions are sold and taken to be hunted or slaughtered for bones other lions are sold for breeding and this cycle repeats!

CATCH-AND-RELEASE FISHING

Catch-and-release fishing, as a form of human entertainment, involves anglers catching fish and then releasing them back into the water. This practice is pursued primarily for recreational enjoyment rather than for consuming the caught fish. People do it for the thrill of the fishing experience but how do you justify hurting animals on purpose, taking them out of the water, and more?

DOG FIGHTING / BLOODSPORTS

These practices are ancient and much of it has gone “underground” in recent years since it is illegal, but it is still happening and a sad reality that animal welfare organizations deal with frequently. Read more on this topic here.

BREEDING

Apart from the fact that about 2800 healthy animals are euthanized (humanely killed) EVERY DAY IN SA because there are just not enough homes, exploiting animals for financial benefit, for status, or fun is one of the worst forms where animals are kept as prisoners for profit.  There are so many negative consequences when people prioritize profit over the well-being of animals.  No breeding is responsible or ethical when we have a massive overpopulation crisis. These animals are kept and bred (which brings its own risks) until they can’t make money for the person anymore and are then dumped at shelters and disposed of in other ways. 

Some entertainment industries, such as circuses with performing animals, can contribute to a cycle of captive breeding and the demand for wild animals, potentially encouraging illegal wildlife trade and unsustainable practices.

DOG SHOWS

Dog shows feature various breeds of dogs competing in events that evaluate their conformation to breed standards. These events are meant to showcase the dogs’ appearance, agility, and obedience too. Here, part of our concerns goes with the breeding for appearance and how that can lead to health issues, and how the emphasis on aesthetics can overshadow the animals’ well-being. In addition, these animals are also subjected to being caged and transported regularly which is not acceptable for us.

HUNTING

Hunting is deeply entrenched in the South African culture, but also an industry of entertainment that exploits animals and which warrants a whole article for itself, for example, trophy hunting, canned lion hunting, driven hunts, hunting with dogs who can get hurt and green hunting are some of the big concerns here. Fox hunting is also a topic on his own when it comes to cruelty. We likely won’t change everyone to vegans, hunt and eat, but when you start to do it for fun, trophy hunt, put up pictures of your killing to get likes for your ego then you are entering the dark psychology personality traits.

These examples highlight just some of the diverse ways in which animals have been used for human entertainment, sparking discussions about ethics, animal welfare, and the evolving understanding of our responsibilities towards the creatures that share our planet.

THE ETHICAL CONCERNS

The ethical debate surrounding the use of animals in entertainment stems from a range of concerns related to their well-being, rights, and dignity. Several key points contribute to this ongoing discussion, but for me, there should not even be a debate. Thousands, if not millions of animals are held captive to entertain humans and not one of them had a choice!

  • ANIMAL WELFARE

One of the primary concerns is the welfare of animals involved in entertainment activities. In the entertainment industry, animals are treated as commodities to generate profits. This focus on financial gain can lead to the animals being neglected, overworked, or subjected to harmful training techniques.

The captivity, training methods, transport, forcing them to do tricks, and living conditions in settings like circuses, theme parks, and zoos can lead to stress, physical harm, and psychological suffering for the animals. The confined spaces, unfamiliar environments, and sometimes unnatural behaviours demanded by entertainment routines can compromise their health and quality of life.

  • INHERENT RIGHTS

Animals have intrinsic value and deserve to live their lives free from exploitation and harm. Using animals as mere props for human amusement can be seen as a violation of their inherent rights to live according to their natural behaviours and environments. Animals are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, stress, and emotions. It is morally wrong to use them for human amusement and it goes against the principles of respecting the intrinsic value of all living creatures.

  • TRAINING TECHNIQUES

The methods used to train animals for entertainment purposes often involve coercion, punishment, and confinement. These techniques can cause physical and emotional distress, leading to negative consequences for the animals’ well-being. It doesn’t matter what the circus or zoo claim they do, what we see in these animals’ eyes is a life they do not choose.

  • CONSERVATION AND EDUCATION

Some argue that animals in entertainment can serve as educational tools, raising awareness about different species and their conservation needs. However, this argument is contentious, as it raises questions about whether animals’ educational value justifies their captivity and potential suffering. A three-year-old can tell you a lot about a dinosaur that they have never seen in real life.  I believe that education can be achieved without subjecting animals to stressful or unnatural conditions and that focusing on their conservation in the wild is more effective.

  • UNNATURAL BEHAVIOURS

Many entertainment scenarios require animals to perform behaviours that are unnatural to them. For instance, circus animals may be trained to perform tricks, jump through fire, and balance on a ball, which doesn’t reflect their natural behaviours. We argue that this can confuse and stress the animals, impacting their mental and emotional health.

  • IMPACT ON ECOSYSTEMS

Removing animals from their natural habitats for entertainment purposes can disrupt ecosystems and contribute to the decline of certain species. Recognizing animals’ place within the larger ecological system is essential. Every species has a role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems, and using them for entertainment can disrupt these delicate interactions.

WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU SUPPORT THESE PRISONERS-FOR-PROFIT INDUSTRIES?

The decision to support or reject the use of animals for entertainment holds significant implications for the lessons we impart to our children. By choosing to support animal entertainment, we risk reinforcing notions of animals as mere commodities, potentially stifling empathy, and disconnecting them from the natural world. Such a stance can normalize the exploitation of sentient beings for amusement, teaching children that this is an acceptable part of human interaction with animals. It’s important to consider both the intended and unintended lessons they might learn.

Here are some potential lessons that supporting such practices might teach your child:

Animals as Commodities: Supporting animal entertainment can inadvertently teach children that animals are objects to be used for human enjoyment rather than sentient beings with their own needs, emotions, and rights.

Lack of Empathy: Children may not develop a strong sense of empathy towards animals if they see them being treated as props or performers rather than beings deserving of respect and care.

Disconnection from Nature: Encouraging entertainment that exploits animals might distance children from the understanding that animals are part of the natural world and ecosystems, contributing to a lack of appreciation for biodiversity and the environment.

Normalization of Exploitation: Children might come to see the exploitation of animals as a normal and acceptable part of human entertainment, potentially perpetuating a cycle of unethical treatment in the future.

Misunderstanding Animal Behaviour: Entertainment routines often involve animals performing behaviours that are unnatural to them. This can lead to misconceptions about animal behaviour and perpetuate stereotypes that don’t align with the animals’ true nature.

The decision to reject animal entertainment can be an opportunity to teach children about ethical considerations, critical thinking, and making informed choices based on principles and values.

Responsibility: Encouraging children to respect and value all forms of life fosters a sense of responsibility for the well-being of animals and contributes to their understanding of the interconnectedness of life on Earth.

Stewardship of the Planet: Teaching children about the importance of conserving and protecting animals and their habitats helps instill a sense of responsibility for the environment and future generations.

Critical Thinking: Engaging children in discussions about the ethics of animal entertainment encourages them to think critically and form their own opinions based on evidence and thoughtful consideration.

Ultimately, the messages you convey to your child about animal entertainment will shape their attitudes and beliefs about animals, their role in the world, and their responsibility toward them. Choosing to support ethical forms of entertainment or activities that prioritize the well-being of animals can help children develop empathy, compassion, and a deep respect for all living beings, their rights, and their dignity. The path we choose reflects our collective responsibility to nurture not only the well-being of animals but also the values we hope to pass down to the generations that follow.

THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES

Over time, public attitudes have evolved, with more people becoming conscious of animal welfare and rights. This shift in perspective has led to increased scrutiny of practices that may have been deemed acceptable in the past. With advancements in technology, virtual reality, and animatronics, there are alternatives to using live animals for entertainment. These alternatives can provide similar experiences without subjecting animals to potential harm or distress.

I have seen some amazing, captivating, and inspiring performances by humans, drawing us into a world of grace, strength, and mystery. These talented individuals had a choice to entertain you when the animals don’t!

In conclusion, the ethical concerns, animal welfare considerations, and the evolving understanding of animals’ role in our world have prompted many to advocate against using animals for entertainment. Advocates stress the importance of respecting animals as sentient beings and finding more compassionate and sustainable ways to appreciate and interact with the animal kingdom.

Encouraging open dialogue, critical thinking, and empathy is key to fostering a deeper understanding of the ethical considerations surrounding these complex issues. It’s important for individuals to be informed consumers and to support ethical practices that prioritize the health and welfare of animals over profit.

Changing the public’s perception of using animals for entertainment is a complex process that requires a combination of education, awareness-building, and advocacy. You can help:

  • Make informed choices that align with your values and contribute to positive change.
  • Support and promote legislative efforts aimed at improving animal welfare standards and prohibiting the use of animals as entertainment.
  • Help us raise awareness and educate others about this topic.
  • Promoting ethical alternatives can lead to a shift in attitudes and behaviours, ultimately contributing to a world where animals are treated with respect and compassion.
  • Most of all, stop supporting these industries that imprison animals for profit. If it pays it will stay!

It can never be ethical to use animals for human entertainment. Your hour of entertainment means a lifetime of enslavement for them. Don’t be captured by captivity!

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

Vaccinating 250 township dogs for World Rabies Day

Rabies

Image provided: Nic Bothma, EPA

Vaccinating 250 township dogs for World Rabies Day

International World Rabies Day is on the 28th of September and the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Khayelitsha, aims to vaccinate 250 dogs in one day. This is of great importance after the identification of rabies infected dogs in the area in 2021 and 2022, the first identified cases in the Western Cape since 1994.

Rabies is a deadly virus which can spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite but it can also transmit through saliva coming into contact with lips, eyes or any exposed cuts on the body. The virus can be transmitted to other animals and humans. 99% of human cases result from dog bites and are fatal once symptoms occur. Apart from setting humans in danger the virus causes extreme pain, discomfort and leads to the death of the infected animal.

Rabies

Image provided: Community children who brought their pets for previous Rabies Day

The clinic will be hosting a mass vaccination day in the Khayelitsha township where pets of the community can receive free vaccinations.

The Clinic is asking members of the public to sponsor a dog for R50. This will cover the costs of the needles, syringes and gloves. The vaccinations are sponsored by the state vet. Each pet will also receive a vaccination against deadly diseases including Parvo Virus, Distemper, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus.

Rabies

Image provided: Community children who brought their pets for previous Rabies Day

“It is essential to vaccinate your dogs against rabies and now even more so as we’ve had cases presented in Khayelitsha,” says Sr Heidi May, General Manager. “Symptoms include fever, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, staggering, seizures and aggression. There is no specific treatment for rabies. Once symptoms appear it’s nearly always fatal. A vaccine can prevent infection.”

To sponsor a dog you can make a donation to Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009, Reference: Rabies+YourName, visit www.mdzananda.co.za or contact info@mdzananda.co.za.

About Mdzananda Animal Clinic (www.mdzananda.co.za)
The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is a permanent, veterinary council registered, NPO animal clinic in Khayelitsha, a township just outside of Cape Town, South Africa, home to 400 000 people (2011 census) and their pets. The clinic serves an average of 1500 animals per month through consultations, hospitalisation, general and orthopaedic surgeries, a sterilisation clinic, mobile clinics and an animal ambulance. Mdzananda has a strong focus on community empowerment and education to ensure responsible pet ownership into the future.

Source: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

Brine Shrimp or Bloodworms for Betta Fish?

Betta Fish

Image: Pixabay

Brine Shrimp or Bloodworms for Betta Fish?

A Comprehensive Comparison

Betta fish, known for their vivid colors and unique personality, require a diverse and nutritious diet to maintain their health and vibrancy. One common question that arises among betta fish enthusiasts is whether to provide brine shrimp or bloodworms as a primary source of food. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of each type of food and how they impact your betta fish’s overall health and wellness.

Brine shrimp are an excellent food choice for bettas, as they are high in protein and fiber, which promotes growth and health. Despite their high fat content, they are still regarded as a favorable option over bloodworms when fed 2-3 times a week. Bloodworms, on the other hand, are also a popular food choice; however, they should be fed with caution due to some associated risks. It is crucial to understand the dietary needs of betta fish and maintain a varied diet to ensure that they receive all the essential nutrients for a long and healthy life.

Key Takeaways

  • Betta fish thrive on a varied diet that includes both brine shrimp and bloodworms.
  • Brine shrimp offer essential nutrients for bettas, while bloodworms should be fed cautiously.
  • Keep a healthy balance of protein, fiber, and fat to maintain betta fish’s overall health and wellness.

Understanding Betta Fish Nutrition

When it comes to providing your betta fish with the proper nutrition, variety is essential. An ideal betta diet should be a mix of protein, nutrients, and fiber to ensure their health and well-being. You can meet your betta’s nutritional needs by offering them a combination of pellets, live, and frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Betta fish thrive on a diet rich in protein. Both brine shrimp and bloodworms offer an excellent source of protein and fiber, essential for maintaining betta health. It’s important to find a balance in the quantity and variety of these foods to avoid overfeeding or causing nutritional deficiencies.

You can begin by feeding your betta with high-quality betta pellets which are specifically formulated to cater to their nutritional requirements. These pellets contain a mix of necessary nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, making them a vital part of your betta’s daily meals.

Brine shrimp, whether live, frozen, or freeze-dried, serve as a great supplement to your betta’s diet. They are high in protein, fiber, and are favorable over bloodworms due to their lower fat content. It is recommended to feed your betta brine shrimp two to three times a week for optimal nutrition.

On the other hand, bloodworms can also provide essential nutrients to your betta fish. Live bloodworms, in particular, are even more nutritious than their frozen or freeze-dried counterparts. However, they should be fed in moderation as they are richer in fat compared to brine shrimp.

To ensure your betta fish receives the best nutrition possible, remember to strike a balance in their diet. Combining betta pellets with both brine shrimp and bloodworms helps cover their nutritional needs, keeps them healthy, and contributes to their overall well-being.

Brine Shrimp: Pros and Cons

When feeding your betta fish, brine shrimp can be an excellent choice due to their high protein and fiber content. However, they also come with some drawbacks that you should consider. This section will discuss the pros and cons of various forms of brine shrimp – frozen, freeze-dried, and live – as well as tips for keeping your betta fish healthy.

  • Frozen Brine Shrimp – Frozen brine shrimp can be an easy and convenient option for feeding your betta fish. They retain their nutritional value and are less likely to contain harmful bacteria and parasites. However, frozen brine shrimp lack the movement that stimulates your betta’s hunting instincts, which can make feeding time less exciting for your fish. Make sure to thaw the frozen brine shrimp properly before feeding them to your betta to avoid digestive issues.
  • Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp – Freeze-dried brine shrimp offer the same nutritional benefits as frozen or live options but have a longer shelf life, making them a convenient choice for betta owners. Despite their convenience, it’s essential to pre-soak the freeze-dried brine shrimp in aquarium water before feeding your betta. This step helps ensure proper digestion and prevents bloating. Keep in mind that freeze-dried brine shrimp also lack movement, which means your betta will not get the mental stimulation of hunting live prey.
  • Live Brine Shrimp – If you want to provide your betta with a more interactive and engaging feeding experience, live brine shrimp can be a great option. The movement of live brine shrimp triggers your betta fish’s hunting instincts, allowing them to enjoy the excitement of chasing and catching their food. However, live brine shrimp may carry bacteria and parasites that can harm your fish, so it’s crucial to source them from a reputable supplier. Additionally, keeping live brine shrimp may require extra care, such as maintaining a separate tank or an appropriate hatching environment.

To summarize, each form of brine shrimp has its pros and cons related to nutrition, convenience, and enrichment. Be sure to carefully consider these factors and adjust your betta fish’s diet accordingly to ensure optimal health and wellbeing.

Blood Worms: Benefits and Risks

Bloodworms, the larvae of the Glycera genus, are a popular protein-rich food source for betta fish. They come in various forms: live, frozen, and freeze-friedEach form has its benefits and risks.

  • Live Bloodworms – Feeding live bloodworms to your betta fish stimulates their hunting instinct, providing mental stimulation and preventing boredom. Live bloodworms also provide the most nutrients because they are in their purest form. When you plan on breeding your betta fish, live bloodworms serve as an ideal food option. However, live bloodworms come with risks such as bacteria and parasites that may infect your fish.
  • Frozen Bloodworms – Frozen bloodworms serve as a safer alternative to live bloodworms because freezing kills most bacteria and parasites. These bloodworms still contain a good amount of protein, and they are readily available at pet stores. To feed frozen bloodworms to your betta fish, simply thaw and rinse them before offering. However, they do lose some nutrients in the freezing process compared to live bloodworms.
  • Freeze-dried Bloodworms – Freeze-dried bloodworms are a convenient option with a longer shelf life than their live and frozen counterparts. They are easy to store and feed, making them an attractive choice for many betta fish owners. Unfortunately, freeze-dried bloodworms have the least nutritional value compared to live and frozen bloodworms, and they can also lack moisture, leading to potential digestive issues.

Remember to always provide your betta fish with a balanced and varied diet. While bloodworms are a tempting treat for them, relying on solely bloodworms as their primary food source is not healthy. Mixing different types of food, such as brine shrimp, pellets, and high-quality flakes, will optimize the overall health and well-being of your betta fish.

Betta Fish

Image: Pixabay

Feeding Guide for Betta Fish

Betta fish thrive on a diet that includes a variety of food sources, so it’s essential to provide them with a mix of pellets, live food, frozen food, and freeze-dried options. This variety ensures that your betta receives adequate nutrition and maintains optimal health.

Pellets should be a staple of your betta’s diet. Opt for high-quality betta food pellets as they contain specific nutrients that cater to your betta’s needs. Feed your betta 2-3 pellets twice a day, in the morning and evening.

Incorporate live food like brine shrimp and bloodworms into your betta’s meal plan. Brine shrimp are a fantastic choice because they’re high in protein and fiber. It’s advisable to feed your betta brine shrimp 2-3 times a week. Bloodworms can also be an excellent option, especially live ones, as they offer more nutrients than their frozen and freeze-dried counterparts. Use them sparingly, as they are high in fat and can contribute to overfeeding.

Frozen food should be defrosted before giving it to your betta. Defrost a small portion in a container with aquarium water before feeding to avoid any potential adverse digestive issues. You should feed your betta frozen food once or twice a week, alternating with live food.

Freeze-dried food can be used as an occasional treat, but it should not make up the majority of your betta’s diet. Keep in mind that some freeze-dried options may require rehydration before feeding to ensure proper digestion. When offering these types of foods, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

To avoid overfeeding your betta pet, make sure to observe your fish during meal times. Bettas have small stomachs, so it’s crucial to feed them in moderation. Overfeeding can lead to digestive issues and poor water quality, which can ultimately harm your betta’s health. If your betta is leaving food uneaten or appears bloated, reduce the portion sizes accordingly.

In summary, it’s essential to provide your betta with a diverse diet, consisting of pellets, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and frozen food. By maintaining a proper feeding schedule and offering these foods in moderation, you can ensure your betta stays healthy and happy.

Betta Fish

Image: Pixabay

Health Impact of Diet

Feeding your betta fish a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining their health and well-being. Choosing between brine shrimp and bloodworms can impact your betta’s digestion, overall health, and the likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Brine shrimp are a great choice of food for bettas as they are high in protein and fiber. However, they are also high in fat. Incorporating brine shrimp into your betta’s diet 2-3 times a week can help improve their digestive health and reduce the risk of constipation. Remember that a varied diet is important for betta fish to ensure proper nutrition and prevent illnesses.

On the other hand, bloodworms are not recommended as a staple in your betta’s diet. They are high in fat and lack essential nutrients that bettas require. Overfeeding bloodworms can lead to obesity and increase the risk of swim bladder disease. It is crucial to feed bloodworms sparingly and consider other options for a balanced diet.

One crucial aspect of maintaining your betta’s health is to avoid overfeeding. Overfeeding can lead to constipation, bloating, and even swim bladder disease. Bettas have small stomachs, so it’s crucial to provide appropriate portions in their meals.

In summary, feeding your betta fish a balanced diet, including brine shrimp and limiting the use of bloodworms, can help prevent health issues such as constipation, obesity, and diseases. Monitoring portion sizes and providing variety in the diet will ensure your betta stays healthy, vibrant, and active.

General Aquarium Care

To maintain a healthy environment for your betta fish, it is essential to provide the right tank conditions and water quality. Your betta fish’s tank should be at least 5 gallons in size to allow for adequate swimming and hiding spaces. A gentle substrate like pebbles or sand is ideal for your betta’s comfort.

Water quality plays a vital role in the well-being of your betta. You should conduct regular water changes (25-50% weekly) and monitor the water parameters using a testing kit. Make sure to maintain a stable water temperature between 76-80 degrees Fahrenheit, as bettas are tropical fish and require consistent warmth.

An efficient filtration system is necessary to keep the water clean and clear. Choose a filter with internal adjustable power, so you can regulate the water flow and ensure it isn’t too strong for your betta. A fully submersible water heater is the most common type of heater used for bettas, helping maintain a stable water temperature.

Feeding your betta fish a varied diet is essential for their longevity and health. You can provide brine shrimp or bloodworms as part of their nutritional intake. Brine shrimp are a great food choice due to their high protein and fiber content, which can be fed 2-3 times a week. Bloodworms can also be fed to your betta, especially during breeding as it encourages the fish to mate. However, it is important to monitor your betta’s appetite and adjust feedings accordingly, as overeating can lead to health issues.

In summary, a well-maintained tank, proper water quality, and a varied diet that includes brine shrimp or bloodworms are all essential components of optimal betta fish care. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your betta fish thrives in a healthy and comfortable environment.

Betta Fish

Image: Pixabay

Final Thoughts

When it comes to feeding your betta fish, variety and balance play crucial roles in maintaining their health and well-being. Including both brine shrimp and bloodworms in their diet ensures they receive essential proteins and other nutrients.

Brine shrimp are an excellent choice because they are rich in protein and fiber. Feeding your betta fish brine shrimp 2-3 times a week contributes to their vibrant colors and overall health. On the other hand, bloodworms should be offered with caution as they have a higher fat content. Moderation is key when including bloodworms in your betta fish’s diet.

Considering cost, both live and freeze-dried brine shrimp options are available on the market. While live food provides a more realistic feeding experience, freeze-dried alternatives are more affordable and easier to store. It’s essential to choose high-quality brine shrimp from reliable suppliers to ensure optimal nutritional value.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable veterinarian specializing in aquatic animals for guidance on the best diet plans for your betta fish. By adhering to their advice and maintaining a balanced diet, your betta fish can thrive, showcasing its beautiful colors and living a long, healthy life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms better for betta fish?

Both frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms can be used as a part of a betta fish’s diet. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Frozen bloodworms are closer in nutritional value to live bloodworms, but they require refrigeration and must be thawed before feeding. Freeze-dried bloodworms, on the other hand, have a longer shelf life and are easier to handle, but might not provide the same level of nutrition as their frozen counterparts. It is important to ensure that betta fish have a varied diet, so including both types of bloodworms, along with other foods, can be beneficial.

  • Can bettas consume only brine shrimp as their primary food source?

While brine shrimp are a good source of protein and nutrients for betta fish, they should not be the sole food source. A balanced betta diet should include a variety of foods like high-quality pellets, flakes, daphnia, and bloodworms. Feeding bettas brine shrimp 2-3 times a week can be a part of this varied diet, helping to meet their nutritional needs.

  • How often should bettas be fed with bloodworms?

Bloodworms can be a part of betta fish diet, but they should be given in moderation. It is recommended to feed bettas bloodworms once or twice a week as they are high in protein but can lack other essential nutrients. Make sure to balance their diet with other foods to ensure proper nutrition.

  • What is the recommended quantity of brine shrimp for betta fry?

When feeding betta fry, it is ideal to provide freshly hatched live brine shrimp known as “baby brine shrimp” or “BSB”. Betta fry can be fed multiple times a day, typically 2-4 times, with each feeding consisting of a small amount of brine shrimp. It is crucial to avoid overfeeding, as uneaten food can contribute to poor water quality, leading to health issues for the fry. Remember to provide a balanced diet, introducing other types of food as they grow.

  • What is the ideal diet for enhancing betta fish color?

To enhance betta fish color, a nutritionally balanced and varied diet is essential. High-quality betta-specific pellets or flakes, supplemented with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, tubifex worms, and mosquito larvae, can contribute to vibrant colors. Also, some betta-specific feeds contain color-enhancing ingredients that can be beneficial.

  • How do frozen bloodworms compare to frozen brine shrimp for bettas?

Frozencvcbn bloodworms and frozen brine shrimp are both beneficial for bettas as part of a varied diet, but they have their differences. Bloodworms are rich in protein but may lack some essential nutrients. They can also be fattier than brine shrimp, making them a treat rather than a staple food source. Brine shrimp, on the other hand, are a good source of protein, fiber, and nutrients. It is recommended to feed your betta fish both frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp, along with other foods, to provide a complete and balanced diet.

Source: Betta Fish Bay

World’s loneliest lion, who fell silent after five years in abandoned Armenian zoo, takes “heroic” first steps in South African sanctuary

Ruben with pumpkin at ADIWS

 
 

World’s loneliest lion, who fell silent after five years in abandoned Armenian zoo, takes “heroic” first steps in South African sanctuary

His legs wobbling and due to malnutrition and a lifetime of no exercise, Ruben the loneliest lion in the world drove himself forward, stepping from his travel crate into the home of his ancestors. Thanks to an epic journey across the world organised by Animals Defenders International (ADI) and Qatar Airways Cargo, Ruben’s rehabilitation at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS) in Free State, South Africa has begun.

Ruben was the only animal left in a private zoo in Armenia after it closed. All the other animals were relocated, but there was no room for Ruben and he was left behind in a tiny concrete cell for five long years, his plaintive roars unanswered.

Now, thanks to ADI and a flight provided by Qatar Airways Cargo, 15-year-old Ruben has made the 5,200-mile journey from Armenia to the ADIWS in Free State, South Africa, where he is hearing lion voices again after years of loneliness. Ruben has already started to get his roar back, his morning calls getting steadily louder as he regains his confidence.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Lions are the most sociable of the big cats, living in family prides in the wild. So it must have been devastating for Ruben to have no contact or communication with other lions. Seeing him walk on grass for the first time, hearing the voices of his own kind, with the African sun on his back, brought us all to tears.”

Ruben’s happy ending was at risk when ADI could not find a suitable flight for him out of Armenia. Then Qatar Airways Cargo ‘WeQare’ charity initiative stepped in, moving a larger aircraft with hold doors big enough for Ruben’s crate into the scheduled passenger route out of Yerevan. Qatar even put on an air-conditioned truck to move him between aircraft at Doha. ADI’s President and Vice President, Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips, accompanied the lion.

Ruben in his house at ADIWS

Elisabeth Oudkerk, SVP Cargo Sales & Network Planning at Qatar Airways Cargo said: “When Animal Defenders International approached us and explained the sad story of Ruben, the lonely lion, we immediately knew we had to help them. There are a lot of logistics involved in moving animals like Ruben; from the logistics at the airports involved, the process for loading and unloading the animals from the aircraft, to ensuring the correct cages and wellbeing of the animals are in place. It takes a lot of effort from our team to organise such transport – but it is something we are all collectively very proud to be a part of, knowing we helped give back to our planet.”

“We are committed to preserving wildlife and endangered species, that is why we launched our WeQare Chapter 2 initiative: ‘Rewild the Planet’ back in 2020. We pledged to return wildlife and endangered species back to their natural habitat, free of charge and we will continue to do so.”

Jan Creamer: “Ruben was really in trouble until Qatar Airways Cargo stepped up. ADI had been funding his care in Armenia since December and when we could find no flights for him we feared he could be stuck there.”

The old warrior determined to walk again

Years of severe confinement and malnutrition have left the battered old lion with difficulty walking, his hind legs wobbling and buckling beneath him. On arrival, Ruben was sedated and examined by leading big cat veterinarian Dr Peter Caldwell at Old Chapel Veterinary Clinic, Pretoria, who has begun a course of treatment. A habitat has been specially designed at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary with ramps up to platforms and guard rails with a long recuperation expected.

ADI President and ADIWS Sanctuary Director with Ruben as paperwork processed

Jan checks Ruben at Yerevan Airport in Armenia

However, Ruben’s resilience has stunned everyone at the sanctuary with his determination and response to his new life. His legs wobbling, he strode from his travel crate and immediately began playing with a giant catnip punchbag – his first toy.

Jan Creamer: “His whole demeanour has transformed, his face is relaxed and no longer fearful. His determination to walk is inspiring. If he stumbles or falls he just picks himself up and keeps going. He is nothing short of heroic. Incredibly, in just a few days his movement is already improving. We know this will be a long road and will require ongoing veterinary treatment but the start of his new life could not have been better.”

ADI is appealing for donations for Ruben’s ongoing care, to ensure he has the same wonderful life other rescued lions and tigers enjoy at ADIWS – the 455 acre sanctuary is home to 32 rescued lions and tigers. To help this magnificent old lion enjoy his second chance at life in peace and companionship, donations can be made at: adiwildlifesanctuary.org.za

Rescued lions at sanctuary

Source: Animal Defenders International

“FREE TO GOOD HOME” ADS Are animal russian roulette!

Image: Pixabay

“FREE TO GOOD HOME” ADS Are animal russian roulette!

The hidden dangers of giving animals away for free

In the world of animal welfare and pet ownership, there exists a “well-intentioned” but often overlooked practice that can lead to unforeseen consequences for our furry companions and the humans who open their homes to them. It’s the act of giving animals away for free, a seemingly generous gesture that, more often than not, conceals a host of concerns and challenges. While the intention behind such acts may be “innocent”, the reality is far more complex. When you give animals away for free or sell them to strangers, you play Russian Roulette with the lives of sentient beings.

Facebook doesn’t allow the selling of animals on their platform, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to have a problem with free animals.  There is a local group that promotes free animals.  Most of us in animal welfare get blocked there.  When I recently engaged with one of their admins via messenger, asking if they understood what they were doing, this individual responded with: “People want to sell them, and she is just keeping order in the group and being an admin.”  She also has the mentality that if it is not against the law so, it is acceptable.  Something doesn’t have to be illegal to be immoral, dangerous or unethical.

In this article, we delve into the hidden pitfalls of giving animals away without a “price tag”. Your intentions might be considered well-meaning, but here we will share some reasons why anyone who actually cares should seriously reconsider “free to good home” ads!

Not a good home, but a good placement

Our biggest challenge in an overwhelmed animal welfare system is the massive overpopulation crisis fuelled by irresponsible owners, breeders, pet shops that sell animals, those who give them away for free to strangers, and those who support these practices. There are not enough homes for every domestic animal and that is why we so fiercely advocate for spay and neutering.  

So, if there are not enough homes, how many good homes do you think there are? What do you consider a good home?

Sadly, a “good home” means very little in today’s society. What people don’t seem to understand, is that whether they sell, buy, give an animal away for free, or adopt, it is never just about a good home, but about a good placement for that animal. The needs of the animal should come first, always! Paying for an animal or having a big yard and money is no guarantee that they will be taken care of and loved as they deserve.

How can you guarantee it is a good home? Do you really know what we consider a good home? You most likely can’t because you are not trained to do this. Animal rescuers can share hundreds of stories about this that ended up in horror situations for those animals.

Some reasons why “FREE TO GOOD HOME” ADS are dangerous

From the lack of screening and financial considerations to the risk of exploitation and the consequences of insufficient education, we will shed light on the concerns that surround the practice of giving animals away for free. By examining these issues, we aim to encourage a more thoughtful and responsible approach like pet adoption, one that prioritizes the welfare of animals and ensures that their new homes are loving, safe, and prepared to meet their unique needs.

Giving animals away for free can raise several concerns, both for the welfare of the animals and the people involved. Some of the main concerns include:

1. OVERPOPULATION

Giving animals away for free contributes to pet overpopulation, well more than contributes….it fuels it. In SA on a daily basis an average of 2800 (yes two zeros and yes daily) healthy animals are humanely killed because there are just not enough homes.  Without responsible breeding practices and adoption fees, there may be less incentive for people to spay/neuter their pets, leading to more unwanted litters. How many of the free animals do you think are sterilized? Usually only a few exceptions and this just continues the cycle.

2. LACK OF SCREENING

When animals are given away for free, there is often minimal or no screening of potential owners. This can lead to animals being placed in homes where they may not receive proper care, or attention, or even be subjected to abuse.

Those who failed the adoption process are on the list too. Some people could not get animals through reputable shelters, so now they troll these “free to good home” posts. There is a reason that shelters reject some people, whom those who do not work in animal welfare, would consider “good homes”. So, chances are high that someone who asks for animals online, free or to buy, might have been rejected by reputable organizations already.

If these animals are not re-homed properly with home checks and sterilization, through the SPCA or reputable animal welfare organizations, these animals, countless times, end up in the wrong hands!

3. RISK OF EXPLOITATION

Free animals can be attractive to individuals who may not have the best intentions. Some people may acquire free animals with the intention of:

  • Reselling them for profit.

There are speculators which means the person can make a pure profit by selling these animals instead of having to care for mothers and litters. They collect the “free to good home” or buy litters only after they have found buyers.

These “free to good home” animals are targets for animal dealers too. They take these animals and also sell them for profit. They can be sold to other people as pets, to breeders, puppy mills, for animal trades like skin or for racing, as security animals, and to laboratories for animal testing to mention a few. Some call them “flippers”. Trailers full of dogs and other animals are found at borders and other places by authorities. 

  • Using them for illegal purposes.

Dog fighters may take the power breeds to use in fights and bait dogs (other breeds and species including cats) can easily be obtained through these adverts and used in fights too. Bait animals are used for sparring and building up aggression of the pedigree or power breed, like a pre-show for the main event. Some take these animals to abuse them, to rape them, to offer them as sacrifices (yes, we have witches that live in our community).

  • Used as food. In some cases, these animals are used as food for humans and other animals.

Animal dealers troll these ads too and are “experts” when it comes to fooling most. They pretend to care for the animals in front of you and if you are not trained to spot them, like those who work in animal welfare, you will be fooled and an animal will pay the price. There are literally animal brokers who will meet you at a different house or even have a fake Facebook profile where it looks like they love animals.

4. FINANCIAL CAPABILITY

Owning a pet comes with various expenses, including food, veterinary care, grooming, and more. If someone cannot afford to adopt a pet, they may struggle to provide for the animal’s needs, potentially leading to neglect or abandonment.

5. LACK OF COMMITMENT

People who acquire pets for free may not be as committed to their care as those who invest time and money for adoption, not that it is a guarantee either. This can result in impulsive buying, with some owners giving up on the animal when they no longer want the responsibility.

6. HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS

Free animals may not have received necessary vaccinations, veterinary care, or proper socialization. This can lead to health and behavioural problems for the animal and potential risks to other pets and humans in the community.

7. LACK OF EDUCATION

When animals are given away without any educational resources or support, new owners may not have the knowledge and skills needed to care for the pet properly. This can result in behaviour problems and animal suffering.

To address these concerns, many animal welfare organizations and shelters charge adoption fees and conduct thorough screening processes to ensure that animals are placed in responsible, loving homes. These fees help cover the costs of care and can act as a barrier to impulsive or ill-prepared adopters, ensuring a better quality of life for the animals. Additionally, providing educational resources and support to new pet owners can help ensure the well-being of the animals and reduce the risk of abandonment or neglect.

Where does “FREE TO GOOD HOME” stock come from?

Free to good home “stock” usually comes from backyard breeders, irresponsible owners, or those who do not want animals anymore because it is inconvenient for them. Someone in a difficult situation, the very few exceptions, will do re-homing through a responsible organization.

No animal is actually FREE

The “buying price” is but a small expense compared to their care by a responsible pet guardian (owner).  Usually, the veterinary bill for first vaccinations, de-worming, tick and flea treatment, and sterilization will fall on the new owner and this will remain an expense during the animal’s lifespan. If you are at all a responsible pet owner you will need to pay for sterilization as well as spend on proper food, toys, and shelter in addition to securing your yard properly. All this will easily be more than R2000! Do you think someone who asks for free animals will do the above? Can you guarantee they will?

Yes, we don’t support selling and yes, we don’t support “free to good home”, so what do we support?  ADOPT DON’T SHOP! Adoption from reputable organizations is the only kind of “trading” of animals we support and the only ethical option.  These organizations will do an adoption application, home check, sterilization, adoption contract, and follow-ups.  That’s responsible. Note that there are registered organizations that do not do this. Don’t support them!

Responsible adoption practices are essential for the well-being of our beloved pets. The complexities of pet ownership demand careful consideration, commitment, and financial responsibility. The fact remains that millions of animals are euthanized annually because there are just not enough homes for all the animals and even far fewer good homes.

How can you help?

  • Educate your friends and family on this topic and share our posts.
  • Report any such post on the social media platform and to your local welfare organizations. Facebook doesn’t allow the selling of animals, so report it too.
  • Spay and neuter your animals and don’t give them away for free (nor sell them).
  • Rehome your pets through reputable organizations if you can’t take care of them.
  • Please stop supporting the “free to good home” ads. 
  • Stop supporting breeders, pet shops, and animal dealers.
  • Stop being mad at shelters and start blaming breeders (of any kind), irresponsible pet owners, and every single person who gives animals away for free as if they are objects and not sentient beings.
  • Adopt don’t shop.  Adoption is the only ethical option!

Are you willing to take these risks with an animal’s life? If these people really cared about these animals, they would let them be adopted through a responsible organization because irresponsible homing hurts animals.

The act of giving animals away for free, while maybe well-intentioned, can lead to a myriad of problems that impact the welfare of both animals and humans. Let us strive for a future where the act of giving animals away for free is replaced by a culture of responsible and compassionate pet adoption. In doing so, we can create a world where every animal enjoys the love, security, and respect it truly deserves. By uniting our efforts, we can pave the way for a brighter and more humane future for pets and their human companions alike.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

Join the Ultimate Slumber Party and Find Out Why Shelter Pets Cuddle Better!

Image provided by: TEARS Animal Rescue

Join the Ultimate Slumber Party and Find Out Why Shelter Pets Cuddle Better!
TEARS 2023 Sleepathon – NOW OPEN FOR BOOKINGS

TEARS Animal Rescue has announced the opening of ticket sales for the TEARS 2023 Sleepathon, which takes place on three consecutive Saturdays during November. 

The annual TEARS Sleepathon is currently in its 10th year and is hosted at the TEARS Kennels and Cattery in Sunnydale. Representing the organisation’s flagship fundraiser, it’s become a highlight on TEARS’ event calendar as it invites animal lovers of all ages to dedicate one night to cuddling a rescue pet while raising much-needed awareness and funds for the charity.  

This year’s three Sleepathon events will be hosted on the 11th, 18th, and 25th of November. Tickets cost R250 per person, and every registered “Snoozer” will be provided with a Welcome Pack that enables them to kick-start their own Back-A-Snoozer funding campaign with some great incentives for those that raise R3000 or more for completing their Sleepathon challenge.

Annual income from the TEARS Sleepathon is critical to funding the organisation’s mobile clinic and veterinary outreach services supporting vulnerable pets and pet owners living in under-served communities over the busy December and January holidays. 

Image provided by: TEARS Animal Rescue

TEARS Kennel Manager, Luke Kruyt says, “While the TEARS Sleepathon has become an iconic brand building and fundraising lifeline for the organisation it’s also a life-changing experience for our rescue pets as some have been fortunate enough to be adopted as a direct result of the Sleepathon.”

Last year the Sleepathon was supported by 206 “Sleepathoners,” whose combined efforts raised over R380 000.00 for TEARS.  Tickets can be bought via the TEARS Online Shop, with 100 tickets available per event evening. Individuals, friends, and corporate teams are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to create momentum and increase the overall pledges pool from last year.

Says Luke, “We’re grateful for the loyalty of our regular supporters but would like to challenge Capetonians who haven’t ever considered a sleepover in support of rescue pets to sign up for this unique experience that is especially fun for families. The event provides a friendly, loving, and heartwarming environment, with pawsome partners, prizes, delicious food, and entertainment.”

“Snoozers” will be required to check-in at the Shelter at 5PM for an evening of face-licking hospitality and a delicious plant-based dinner. Everyone is encouraged to bring sleeping bags and camping gear, as well as snacks and treats to make their sleepover as memorable as possible. The Sleepathon is only officially over at 7AM the next morning. 

Local businesses and lifestyle brands wanting to engage with an audience of animal lovers while supporting a good cause can take up exclusive sponsor/partner packages that provide a variety of association rights and exposure benefits. For more information or to book, please email sleepathon@tears.org.za or visit www.tears.org.za/sleepathon.

Image provided by: TEARS Animal Rescue

TEARS‘ mission is to rescue, treat, rehabilitate and rehome vulnerable companion animals in need. As a pro-life, public beneficiary organisation with a Veterinary Hospital, two Mobile Clinics, and a Cattery and Kennel that house up to 230 rescued companion animals, TEARS relies on the support of caring individuals and corporates to provide free sterilisation, vaccination, and primary healthcare to at-risk and homeless pets in the Southern Peninsula. 

The TEARS 2023 Sleepathon is taking place at the TEARS Animal Rescue Kennels (4 Lekkerwater Road, Sunnydale, Cape Town, 7975) and the TEARS Cattery (Wenga Farm, 21 Kommetjie Road, Sunnydale, Cape Town, 7975). For more information visit www.tears.org.za/sleepathon or email sleepathon@tears.org.za. To buy a ticket:  www.tears.org.za/product/2023-sleepathon-ticket/ 

Source: TEARS Animal Rescue

Animal clinic launches humane education programme in Khayelitsha schools

animal clinic

Animal clinic launches humane education programme in Khayelitsha schools

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha is proud to announce the launch of its school education programme aimed at empowering young minds with knowledge on animal care. This initiative, which commenced on August 18, 2023, is designed for Grade 4 students, ages 11 to 12, in Khayelitsha.

The Mdzananda school education programme is conducted during the third term of the school year as part of the life skills curriculum. Students are introduced to the essential concept of the five freedoms of animal welfare and fostering empathy and understanding towards animals. To facilitate learning, each student receives a “Hero in our Hood” activity book and crayons to engage in interactive animal care activities along with a talk by the organisation’s community engagement officer.

The program’s first session took place at Nomsa Maphomgwana Primary School, benefiting 175 eager learners. The second school, with 200 enthusiastic students, received education on September 8, 2023. Mdzananda Animal Clinic is committed to expanding its reach with two more schools, Chuma and Ekusi Primary Schools, set to receive education sessions by September 29, 2023.

“It is wonderful to see so many children eager to learn about their animals’ health care and welfare,” says Sr. Heidi May, General Manager.

Apart from their school education programme, Mdzananda offers education through speaking to each person that comes to their organisation, door-to-door education, one-on-one education on their mobile clinics and outreach sessions at various community events and organisations.

Animal clinic

Image: Nomsa Maphomgwana Primary School. Permission to use pictures of children have been granted by parents.

In the first half of 2023, Mdzananda’s education programs made a significant impact:

  • Door-to-door education reached 267 households.
  • Mobile clinics educated 3,044 people.
  • 708 individuals received education on-site.
  • Outreach programs touched the lives of 76 participants.

Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Executive at Mdzananda Animal Clinic, expressed heartfelt gratitude to Welttierschutzgesellschaft (WTG), a German animal welfare organization, for sponsoring the mobile clinics and door-to-door education initiatives. Du Plessis also extended her appreciation to the generous members of the public whose donations sustain the clinic’s vital work.

Excitingly, Mdzananda Animal Clinic is already planning its “Puppy Child Programme,” planned for launch in 2025. In this programme children and puppies will be paired to grow together, learning skills such as behaviour, health, compassion and more. 

“Education is at the heart of our organisation as we believe that empowering people to become the best pet owners they can be is the long-term solution,” says du Plessis.

For those who wish to support Mdzananda’s education programs and contribute to their impactful work, donations are welcomed at Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account: 075595710, Branch: 025009, Savings, Reference: Education+YourName

For more information about Mdzananda Animal Clinic and its various initiatives, please visit www.mdzananda.co.za or contact info@mdzananda.co.za.

Animal clinic

Image: Nomsa Maphomgwana Primary School. Permission to use pictures of children have been granted by parents.

About Mdzananda Animal Clinic

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is a permanent, veterinary council registered, NPO animal clinic and shelter in Khayelitsha, a township just outside of Cape Town, South Africa, home to 400 000 people (2011 census) and their pets. The reality is that the number is closer to one million people and that there is an estimate of 300 000 companion animals.

The clinic serves over 1500 animals per month through consultations, hospitalisation, general and orthopaedic surgeries, a sterilisation clinic, mobile clinics, an animal ambulance and a homeless pet shelter. Mdzananda has a strong focus on community empowerment and education to ensure responsible pet ownership into the future.

Animal clinic

Image: Nomsa Maphomgwana Primary School. Permission to use pictures of children have been granted by parents.

Source: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

Allergy season is here!

allergy

Image: Pixabay

Allergy season is here!

Managing Your Dog’s Seasonal Allergies

Did you know that dogs can get seasonal allergies just like humans? It’s true! Seasonal allergies in dogs usually manifest as itchy skin, but there are other telltale reactions. For instance, if your pooch has a runny nose, is excessively scratching, or just acting a bit off, it could very well be allergies.

Here are some ways you can identify seasonal allergies in dogs, as well as tips for getting your pet back up and running should they fall under the weather.

Signs of Dog Seasonal Allergies

The reactions dogs have to allergens are slightly different from those of humans. Itchy skin and recurrent ear infections are the most common signs of seasonal allergies in dogs, but your pet may also experience red, swollen eyes, a clear, runny nose and fits of sneezing.

The itchiness your pet may experience can range from intense to mild, and is most likely to occur in the armpit, groin, muzzle or paw regions. Note: Dogs can scratch themselves raw. So if you notice them scratching, rubbing on carpet or furniture, chewing or licking themselves more than normal, it’s worth taking them to see a veterinarian. This behavior can lead to painful infections — signs of which include unusual odor and discharge — that will require treatment.

What Causes Dog Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies in dogs occur when they inhale or come in contact with something that they’re sensitive to. Going a little deeper: allergies happen when the immune system becomes less tolerant of an allergen. After that, any time the immune system encounters that allergen in the environment, it goes haywire with an inflammatory response that causes all or some of the reactions mentioned above.

Seasonal allergies are brought on by factors only present during specific times of the year, such as tree and grass pollen, dust and dust mites, mold and mold mites, flea bites and fresh grass in the fall or summer.

How Are Seasonal Allergies in Dogs Diagnosed?

Your vet can tell you for sure if your dog is experiencing seasonal allergies or something else, based upon your pet’s history, a physical exam, laboratory tests and their response to therapy. You can also take your dog to a dermatologist for skin testing — another accurate method for diagnosing seasonal allergies.

Skin testing is usually performed by a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, who measures your pet’s reaction to microdoses of different allergens to determine exactly which they’re allergic to. Using this information, they can make a serum for allergy shots that may make your dog’s response to allergens less intense over time.

Blood testing is another route to consider, although skin testing is considered the more accurate approach.

Image: Pixabay

Managing Dog Seasonal Allergies With Medication

One way to manage seasonal allergies in dogs is by using the allergy serum prescribed by your dog’s dermatologist. This requires a series of allergen injections that slowly increase in dose over time. The needle you’ll use is very small, but you can perform these injections at home with professional guidance.

Allergy injections tend to have low levels of side effects, which can make them a good option for dogs with moderate to severe allergies.

If your dog only has mild seasonal allergies, they may respond well to several over-the-counter and at-home remedies, such as antihistamines.

Oral prescription medications are another option. Anti-itch medicine that can work quickly and can be discontinued without negative side effects could be an option for your dog. There are even medications that modulate the immune system’s response to allergens. Both are available via prescription from your local veterinarian and require annual examinations and/or blood work.

Both of these types of prescription medications have side effects, so be sure to talk with your vet about how taking them could impact your dog’s health. In general, it’s always a good idea to ask your vet before introducing anything new to your dog’s system — especially with over-the-counter medicine — so you can give your pet the option and dosage best for their unique needs.

Managing Dog Seasonal Allergies With Nutrition

Another option for treating your dog’s seasonal allergies is through nutrition. Certain therapeutic dog foods are specially formulated to help manage your dog’s skin allergies. These can be an excellent option to supplement or even replace the need for more expensive medications. The best part? It’s as easy as feeding your dog as you normally would! Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if there are nutritional options for your dog. Make sure to properly transition your dog’s food if a therapeutic food is recommended by your veterinarian.

How to Keep a Dog’s Seasonal Allergies at Bay

You’ll also want to limit your dog’s exposure to allergens. After outside playtime, use a baby wipe on their underside, paws and legs before letting them inside; this can remove allergens from your dog’s skin.

Weekly baths with oatmeal shampoos can also be helpful, but make sure the water is lukewarm, as hot water can dry and irritate their skin. Dogs tend to respond well to a bath with a medicated shampoo that contains antihistamines or steroids. Prescription-strength lotions and sprays are also available.

While seasonal allergies are a thing every single year, their impact on your dog’s well-being can be reduced with proper treatment and active prevention measures. Not every approach will be right for every dog, but with a little trial and error, you can figure out how to keep seasonal allergies from slowing your pet down.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

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