Spay Day clinics are offered free of charge to owners of pets who would normally not afford veterinary care. These services drastically reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens which in turn offer pets a better quality of life. LSPCA carries out spay and neuter clinics twice a week in Lilongwe and revisit the same communities until the demand for sterilisation is met, before moving on to the next area. All the animals sterilised are vaccinated against rabies, dewormed and issued a vaccination certificate. Our vet team provide primary health care to all animals presented at the clinic and our services are free to communities living in high density areas where animals are not enclosed and are free to roam and are therefore at risk of multiple pregnancies and transmissable diseases.
Veterinary students and animal care volunteers regularly help out at our mobile Spay Day Clinics, assisting the veterinary nurses with pre- and post-operative care. This project is a great way to build your professional skills whilst improving the welfare of animals in less privileged communities. Moreover, it is a fantastic opportunity to deliver animal welfare messaging, especially to children about the importance of sterilising their pets. We know that our efforts encourage children to take a more active role in animal welfare and help them understand the sentience of animals.
LSPCA is the only animal welfare organisation in Malawi that regularly delivers qualified veterinary care to farm animals alongside the government's Department for Animal Health and Livestock Development. We support rural communities to better the welfare of their farm animals, boosting health and production to secure income and better livelihoods and food security for small-holder farmers. Every farm clinic opens our eyes to the glaring need for veterinary care as we often treat up to 350 animals (donkeys, cows, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits ducks, sheep, cattle and guinea pigs) at one clinic. Our farm clinics, in the heart of local villages, treat as much livestock as possible; without our effort, the majority of these animals would easily live their entire life without receiving any veterinary attention. Our education team on site deliver animal welfare messages to livestock owners and are slowly building a 'fee for service' understanding to promote responsible livestock ownership.
Donkeys are often neglected animals in this part of the world. Fortunately Malawi's donkeys are not neglected, together with the Donkey Sanctuary UK and Animal Aid Abroad, we have the opportunity to bring change to donkeys lives. In Malawi donkeys support many households by providing a regular source of income to families who own donkeys. Never before has a a correct cart and harness been introduced to Malawi and even in the early stages of our work, since 2016, we are seeing positive changes - less communication wounds, correct cart and harness use, hoof care and recognition of donkeys as sentient beings. The 12 lead farmer donkey owners (representing 36 villages) and the LSPCAs project coordinator visit and monitor 2398 donkeys around Lilongwe and Dedza and deliver veterinary treatment at monthly intervals to 100s more. The improved welfare of donkeys is attributed to their owners who are now able to use a hand tool to assess and monitor the health and well being of their donkeys. Our donkey clinics puts the donkey at the forefront for veterinary care, one donkey at a time and up to 350 donkeys visiting a clinic on a single day.
Stray Dog Population Control
Similar to Spay Day, our objective is to maintain a healthy dog population in our urban areas and prevent unwanted litters. Our stray dog population control programme responds to demands by the public when a pack of dogs become a nuisance. In Lilongwe we do not have a largely significant number of stray dogs, rather roaming dogs from irresponsible pet owners.
Now running for YEARS, this project was initially funded by the William and Charlotte Parks Foundation grant, with the additional help from Humane Society International. The LSPCA received training in methods of how to capture stray dogs and with our vet team we now offer a capture/spay/neuter/release services when called for. We are the referral organisation for the Lilongwe City Council to assist in dog population management and our government refrains from shooting any stray animals.
The rationale behind dog population control: If LSPCA culled dogs instead of sterilising, those dogs which are not culled will continue to breed at a very high rate; one unsterilized female can produce 30 to 45 puppies in a year. These puppies will then continue to breed and move to surrounding neighbourhoods where there is a large source of scattered food. Furthermore, in terms of the spread of rabies, if a vaccinated dog population was culled but a food source was still available, non-vaccinated dogs would start to occupy this territory and thus rabies would begin to spread to neighbouring vacant territories and to the local human population. So if we sterilise, vaccinate and release, we slowly decrease stray dog population, rather than opt for a quick fix to aggravate the problem over the long term.
LSPCA is a focal point in Malawi for veterinary training and animal welfare education and we deliver a unique practical skills platform to students of veterinary medicine, a first in this part of the world! Our partner organisation, Welttierschutzgesellschaft in Germany have developed a VETS UNITED teaining curriculum, specifically targeting the need for practical learning platforms, as we believe that education is crucial to brining about meaningful change in the way animlas are treated. Together we are building the veterinary sector in Malawi and helping people to better understand all working and farm animals. Since 2013, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Bunda campus offers a BVM programme and the LSPCA vet team coordinate and provide early clinical induction programmes to students at urban spay and rural farm clinics. The Natural Resource College campus benefit from a field school, coordinated through the LSPCA, to enable the students studying for a Diploma in Animal Health and Livestock Production, to gain practical experience by providing veterinary assistance in real life situations, in villages surrounding the college campus.
LSPCA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) to deliver practical training to students of the Bunda and NRC campuses. This has already led to:
- Visiting 100 villages per year to provide training for 80 local vet assistants
- Developing new pathways for veterinary and animal welfare training through open distance learning platforms to bridge the gap in providing care to farm animals and pets.
- Providing Early clinical induction for 13 students on Malawi’s newly established 5 year degree course in Veterinary medicine
- Delivering animal welfare messages to farming communities at more than 200 farm clinics annually
- Building empathy and compassion through Humane Education and Art Projects with primary school students and teachers.
- Delivering a module Animal Welfare to tertiary institutions
- Enabling international students to complete EMS objectives in Malawi