The KSPCA team strives to make a commendable difference to the lives of donkeys in Kenya. We see to it that the donkeys live a life that’s free from pain and suffering.

Recently, our team visited Limuru and Thogoto regions for a donkey welfare check. They practically improved the donkey harnesses and introduced simple halters.

Other than that, they also assessed the state of the carts that were being used by the donkeys. The users were educated on how to balance the carts properly, loading techniques and hook attachment.

 

They also managed to mention a few aspects on donkey behavior, handling and restrain so that the owners and users can get a better understanding of their donkeys for future sustainability.

They will do a follow up after a fortnight to ensure that the donkeys are in a good state. In total, they attended to 36 donkeys.

About two months ago, our team visited the same area to teach the ladies below how to make well-padded breast collars and breeches to prevent sores.

Taking your pet’s temperature is easily done at home and is very important when you are monitoring a sick patient. Your pet’s temperature can be elevated due to a disease or infection, but also due to excitement, stress or being locked in a warm space. The best way to measure the temperature is with a digital rectal thermometer, which can be bought at any pharmacy. Ear thermometers are also available, but they are not equally accurate unless you are experienced in their use. In addition to the thermometer, you will also need Vaseline, K-Y jelly or some other lubricant.

With a calm pet, you can take the temperature on your own, but if your pet is excited, young or will not stay in place, it is often easier to have someone distracting or holding the pet while another person inserts the thermometer. If you pet is fearful, aggressive or for some other reason will not allow you to take the temperature, do not force the procedure as you might get bitten or harm your pet. Cats usually object to having their temperature taken, so might require some practice!

To take the temperature, place a small amount of lubricant on the thermometer, lift the animal’s tail and gently insert the thermometer a short way into the rectum. Once the thermometer is in place, you can let go of the tail as holding the tail is generally more irritating to the animal than the actual thermometer. Digital thermometers have timers, so leave the thermometer in until you hear a beep, after which you can remove the thermometer, record the temperature and wipe it clean. After use, clean the thermometer with a disinfectant and leave to dry.

The normal body temperature is usually between 101 °F and 102 °F (38 °C – 39 °C). Temperatures above 103 °F (39.5 °C) are generally considered a fever, although they can briefly be high after strenuous exercise or excitement, in which case the temperature can be measured again after the animal has calmed down. In case of a persisting fever, please contact your vet, especially if your pet has other symptoms of illness.

Article by: Dr. Laura Wessman

KSPCA Volunteer

The KSPCA is devoted to the welfare of donkeys in Kenya. In conjunction with Kendat-Kenya (a partner of The Brooke East Africa) and the County Government of Kajiado, the KSPCA team visited Ongata Rongai and Kiserian regions to assess the welfare of the donkeys.
They dewormed and vaccinated many donkeys against rabies.
Other than that, they also trimmed the hooves, and  demonstrated to the donkey owners and users on how best to balance the carts.
The donkey owners and users were also educated on principles of better harnesses, padding and fitting.
Our team also rescued the donkey below at Gataka. Bandits were attempting to steal him from the owner’s place at night, and in the process of removing him from the stable, his leg got slashed by a machete. He is currently at the KSPCA shelter undergoing treatment and under good care.

With the hot summer months and the soaring temperatures, all pet owners should be aware of the risks of heatstroke (also known as heat stress). Dogs and cats don’t respond to heat in the same way as humans. Whereas we have temperature-regulating sweat glands all over our body, dogs and cats only have a few on their feet and around their noses, so they have to rely on panting and external temperatures to keep them cool. Having a thick fur coat doesn’t help either!

Heatstroke can happen very rapidly. A heatstroke is a condition where heat generation exceeds the body’s ability to lose heat, resulting in an elevated body temperature. Predisposing factors include being locked up in a small non-ventilated area such as a car or a cage, having inadequate shade and drinking water, or after excessive exercise. Certain breeds, such as brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds (Pugs, bulldogs, Persian cats etc.) are more susceptible to heatstroke. Also very long- or thick-coated animals. In addition, obesity, prior heart or lung diseases or old age can be a factor.

Heatstroke is a very serious, possibly life-threatening situation, which can lead to permanent organ damage or death. Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Drooling, salivating
  • Panting excessively and increasingly as heatstroke progresses
  • Restlessness, agitation, mental confusion
  • Dizziness, staggering, weakness, lying down
  • Either very red or very pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Muscle tremors, seizures, collapsing
  • Increased heart rate and breathing distress
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Little or no urine
  • Coma

If you suspect heatstroke, remove your pet from the heat immediately, apply or spray cool or tepid (not ice-cold!) water on your pet’s fur/skin and then take them to the nearest vet as fast as possible.

So always make sure you provide your pet with a well-ventilated and shaded environment, with plenty of fresh drinking water at all times. Never leave your pet in a parked car other than very briefly even in mild temperatures, as the internal temperature of a car rises very rapidly. Avoid vigorous exercise in very hot weather, especially on hot sand, asphalt roads or other surfaces that reflect heat. Heatstroke is a preventable condition as long as you ensure your pet is kept in suitable environmental conditions!

 

Article by: Dr. Laura Wessman

KSPCA Volunteer

As the festive period draws closer, it is good to remind ourselves of the many hazards that our pets might face during the holidays. Many vet clinics see an increase in patients during this time due to unintended accidents or mishaps. In no particular order, these are some of the things to look out for:

  1. Christmas lights. Their attractive twinkling brings about a magical atmosphere, but make sure all the electrical cords are out of reach if you leave your pets unattended. Biting into a cord can cause a severe burn or shock for your animal and could also potentially cause a fire that puts your whole family in danger.
  2. Christmas trees. If you have a real tree, remember that pine needles are not only sharp but also toxic, so don’t let your pets eat them. Ornaments hanging on the tree might seem like the perfect toy for your animal, so hang them out of reach. Plastic, glass and wood ornaments can cause severe cuts and intestinal problems. Also remember to secure your tree properly to avoid injury from a toppling tree.
  3. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats and is easy to accidently leave lying around. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is.
  4. Tinsel. This is especially attractive to cats, but don’t let them eat it as it can cause digestive problems.
  5. It might be tempting to give your dog leftover bones from your meal, but bones can easily get stuck or perforate the intestine.
  6. Poinsettias. This is a popular “Christmas flower”, but it is toxic to pets.
  7. Mince pies and other puddings. Many Christmas puddings are filled with raisins, currants and sultanas, all of which can cause vomiting and kidney failure, so do not give these to your pets.
  8. Fatty foods. We tend to include a lot of fatty items in our Christmas meals, and giving some leftovers to pets is common. But fatty foods can cause a painful and possibly life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.
  9. House visitors and noise. While some pets enjoy the extra excitement, many animals will find it stressful and become either aggressive or display unusual behavior. Make sure that your pets have a safe area to retreat to if they need it, with plenty of food, shade and water.
  10. In addition to chocolate, do not give your pets macadamia nuts, onion, garlic or blue/creamy cheeses.
  11. Make sure your pets can’t burn themselves or topple them over on any fires or BBQ’s.
  12. Alcohol. It can cause severe liver and brain damage to animals, even in very small doses.
  13. Wrapping paper. Many dogs like to chew on paper, but large amounts of it might cause intestinal blockages.

Having said all that, many pets enjoy the extra attention and having family around, so hopefully this long list does not put you off from having a lovely and relaxing holiday together with all your furry friends!

 

Article by Dr. Laura Wessman

KSPCA Volunteer

 

 

 

 

Our donkey welfare checks are still ongoing. We attended to this donkey that had foot abscess in Ongata Rongai. An abscess can develop in the foot when the wound is infected and pus builds up. The donkey also had wounds on the breast region. We showed the owner how to make local breast collars in order to prevent wounds.

A report was also made at our desk of donkeys being mistreated at Kiserian. They had wounds all over their bodies yet they  were still being made to work under those tough conditions. We educated them about proper harnessing and we shall be making regular follow-ups.

We also visited a donkey farm in Athi River. We trimmed the hooves and showed the owners and users how to use halters instead of tying tight ropes on the fetlock.

 

If at any point you are concerned about the health or well-being of your pet, contact your local veterinarian.

All animals should get checked by their vet for a check-up at least once a year. This generally can be done at the time of the annual vaccination and is important so that any health problems can be detected early.

Where all care has been taken to ensure the health of adopted animals, there is always the possibility of a disease in incubation that will not manifest itself until after adoption.

In cats this is commonly a sign of “cat flu” or “snuffles”. Snuffles is a disease of the upper respiratory tract (the throat and windpipe).

Because the disease is viral, and there are no animal medications that kill viruses, recovery involves the cat’s immune system clearing the disease from the body (in this way, the disease is very similar to a common cold or the flu in people). It may take one to two weeks for complete recovery.

Never give an animal human medicine such as Panadol or Aspirin, as these may harm or even kill the pet.

 

Have you ever wondered why some pets can have fleas and not be bothered by them, whereas some have severe itchiness and discomfort from just one or two fleas? This is because some cats and dogs are allergic to flea bites whilst other are not. For nonallergic animals, a flea bite will cause only mild and brief itchiness at the site of the bite, whereas allergic animals will react with severe itching anywhere on the body.  Skin conditions due to flea bite allergies are very common, and the problem will worsen with continuous exposure to fleas, leading to hair loss and skin infections with near-constant itching. Just one or two bites a week can trigger the allergy and continue the cycle. There is no specific age for flea bite allergies, but they tend to develop at a young age, normally at about 1 to 5 years old.

Veterinarians diagnose the disease from the symptoms, typical appearance of the skin and coat, and the presence of fleas. The diagnosis is further confirmed from the improvement of the symptoms once treatment is commenced. Usually evidence of fleas is found, either as adult fleas, “flea-dirt” (reddish-brown flea excrement) or white flea eggs. In some cases, fleas are not found as the allergy can be triggered by only one or two fleas that have been dislodged due to scratching. In this case diagnosis is based on the response to treatment, or if need be, by skin testing.

The symptoms in dogs consist of scratching and skin damage due to the scratching and can vary from mild to very severe. Generally skin changes can be seen on the lower back, around the tail, hind legs and belly, but can sometimes affect the entire body. Hair loss, redness, scratches, scabs and abrasions are common, and the skin can become moist and infected from the excessive chewing and licking.  Cats can have similar symptoms, but more commonly they have small bumps and scabs around the head, ears and belly, or inside the hind legs. Excessive licking due to itchiness can cause symmetric hair loss, which can sometimes be the only symptom visible.

Treatment consists mainly of flea prevention, both for the pet and the immediate environment. Flea collars or washes alone are usually not effective, but there are many medications available, normally either oral products or topical (applied to the skin) lotions or sprays. For cats, only use products licensed for cats, as some dog products can be toxic. Never spray your animals with insect repellent products that are meant for the household only – many of these are toxic to animals. All pets in the house should be treated even if only one has symptoms. Sometimes antibiotics are needed to treat bacterial skin infections, and your veterinarian might also prescribe short-term anti-inflammatory medication to control the itching. In some very severe and rare cases the medication has to be continued long-term to ensure the welfare of the animal, but this can be associated with negative side effects. As the allergy can be triggered by a single bite, it is important to continue the anti-flea control medication as long as there is any risk of flea bites.

 

Article by Dr. Laura Wessman

KSPCA Volunteer

Kennel cough is the common name for a group of canine infectious respiratory diseases affecting the lungs and/or airways and causing a combination of clinical signs. The cause of the infection can be either a virus or a bacterium, or a combination of both. Common viruses include the canine influenza, herpes, adeno, distemper and coronavirus (completely different from the human coronavirus!), the most common bacterium is Bordatella bronchiseptica.

Clinical signs differ slightly depending on the cause, but generally include coughing, which can be quite severe and last for a few weeks. Other possible symptoms include a runny nose and eyes, poor appetite and general tiredness. In some cases, vomiting and diarrhoea can also be present. Just as for people with a common cold, most infections will clear on their own, and if the infectious agent is a virus, antibiotics will not be helpful in clearing the infection. There is no specific treatment for kennel cough, and most will recover without medication. Sometimes, however, dogs will develop more severe secondary infections and need urgent veterinary care including antibiotics and intravenous fluids. If your dog has only mild symptoms, let your dog rest at home, make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water and tempting food, avoid using a neck collar as that might start a coughing spell and pay close attention to your dog’s breathing – if it is at all laboured or fast contact your vet. Most dogs recover in a week or so, although a cough might linger a while longer. Avoid contact with other dogs for several weeks after infection. Contact your vet if your dog has trouble breathing, is not drinking for over a day or eating for more than two days or refuses to get up and walk around the room.

Kennel cough is spread from dog to dog via direct contact, so places with many other dogs such as kennels, animal shelters and dog parks are potentially more dangerous. Your dog’s vaccination status, age and stress levels will contribute to the possibility of infection. Kennel cough can be highly contagious between dogs, but it will not infect people. There are vaccines to prevent some, but not all of the possible infectious causes. Some, like the distemper and parainfluenza virus, are already covered in your dog’s core vaccinations, but others are optional and usually only given if the dog is regularly exposed to many other dogs.

 

Article by Dr. Laura Wessman

KSPCA Volunteer