Continuing on last week’s post about how to get a pet in Botswana, this feature focuses on some crucial aspects of owning a pet in Botswana: vaccination, sterilisation, and other important aspects of pet ownership.
Keeping Your Pet Healthy
A minimum of three vaccinations at 6, 9 and 12 weeks is necessary to protect puppies against the deadly parvovirosis and distemper, and even a forth one at 16-20 weeks is highly recommended especially for pure breed puppies which are more sensitive than cross breeds.
Thereafter, annual vaccination is compulsory in Botswana, and there are many private veterinary clinics throughout the country which can assist. Please note that if your animal bites or scratches somebody and is not up-to-date with vaccinations, the department of veterinary services can order euthanasia of the animal and the police can give you a hefty fine!
Deworming is advisable monthly while puppies are less than 4 months old, and should be done every 3 months thereafter; please buy your dewormers from veterinary outlets that are licensed to sell accredited animal drugs.
Tick and flea control is very important to prevent transmission of worms, tick-bite fever (ehrlichiosis) and biliary (babesiosis), which can be life-threatening particularly in pure breed animals. Oral medication are very convenient and have proved very efficient in the Botswana context, but other forms of ectoparacides like collars, sprays, pour-ons and dips are also fine as long as bought from a licensed veterinary outlet. Ask your veterinarian for more information and frequency of administration.
Identifying Your Pet
Identification of your animals is really important in case they get lost or stolen (sadly animals thefts are rampant in Botswana) because this is the only way for you to be reunited if they are found and taken to a vet or to the BSPCA. It’s advisable to combine temporary identification with a collar and ID tag together with permanent identification with a microchip.
Microchipping is a cheap and simple injection under the skin, done at any private vet clinic, and contains all the animal’s owner’s contact details (name, phone number, email address, physical address).
So many animals are found as strays and end up at BSPCA with no mean of identification and no way to contact their owner. Please don’t let this be your pet!
Spaying and Neutering Your Pet (Sterilisation)
Sterilisation is the permanent surgical removal of genitals done under strict anesthesia at a private vet clinic without any unnecessary sufferings. Sterilisation is advisable at 6 months of age for male and female cats and dogs for several reasons:
- Too many kittens and puppies and cats and dogs are unwanted in Botswana and breeding just adds to the vicious circle, the end result being hundreds of animals euthanased at shelters.
- To reduce the risk of theft : a sterilised animal doesn’t make money out of selling the offspring, so thieves will usually don’t bother once they realised they are sterilised.
- To prevent hormone-related unwanted behavior : escapes, fights, aggression, urine markings. As opposed to popular belief, a sterilised dog doesn’t become less good of a guard dog, but will on the contrary focus on protecting his property and his family rather than trying by all means to escape in search of a mate.
- To prevent infections of the genital tract, particularly in female dog, where the uterus can get infected and rupture.
- To prevent sexually transmitted diseases, such as TVT (transmissible Venereal Tumors), very common in Botswana.
- To prevent genital cancers, prostate cancers in males, ovarian and uterine and mammary tumors in female.
In next week’s final story about owning a pet in Botswana, we’ll talk about what you need to do to take your pet with you if you have to leave the country and move abroad.
This post has been provided by Laetitia at Matshwane Vet Clinic.
Laetitia Gaudex is a French veterinarian and owner of Matshwane Vet Clinic in Tlokweng, Gaborone. She is very involved in community animal outreach and consults at the BSPCA beside running her practice. She has been living in Botswana for over 5 years and has 2 daughters who adore animals just like their mother, which results in a nice little collection of rescued animals at their house!!!
Matshwane Vet Clinic offers house calls and consultations on appointment for large and small animals.
Tel : +267 7624 7062
Near the Oasis Motel, Sefoke Road, Tlokweng, Gaborone
Po Box 18ACJ, Postnet Kgale, Gaborone, Botswana