Mara North Conservancy Dog Health Project

Karen Blixen Camp Trust launches veterinary project to support healthy livestock guard dogs

The MNC Dog Health Project has already treated more than 2,200 dogs. The community is very positive about the program

Domestic dogs are an essential part of the Maasai culture and are used for guarding and protecting livestock from wild animal predators. The guard dogs thereby help reduce the human-wildlife conflicts, which are inevitable in areas where humans and wildlife coexists. However, in recent years the number of dogs in the Maasai Mara ecosystem has increased considerably and free-roaming domestic dogs are becoming a major problem for the area’s wildlife. Thus, the dogs have been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife with regard to pathogen transmission, predation, disturbance, etc.

In August 2018, the Karen Blixen Camp Trust launched a new program – the Mara North Concervancy Dog Health Project (MNCDHP). The program has been established to assist the local community in dealing with the problems with the guard dogs. Through generous donations from the Danish Englund’s Fund and the Karen Blixen Camp Trust the program will be carried out in cooperation with Egerton University, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science at University of Copenhagen, Tufts University and VetAid, Kenya.

Maasai community positive about guard dog vaccination program

Dr. Gabriel Turasha and Dr. James Leyian have done a great job together with David Noosaron from the Mara North Concervancy (MNC) Landowners’ Committee in preparing the local dog-owners for the MNC Dog Health Project. Through talks and discussions in barazzas, church and school meetings they have explained the importance of vaccinating and de-worming the dogs and also the benefits of castrating and neutering. As a result of these meetings, the general attitude in the community towards the initiative has become very positive. Only a handful of families are still hesitating, but the team is optimistic and hopes to reach the aim of 75% vaccinated dogs, that is necessary to obtain so-called herd-immunization (enough individuals are immune to the disease to prevent big outbreaks in the population).

 

Workshop November 2018

Project leader associate professor Rikke Langebæk, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, Copenhagen University was in November 2018 in Mara North Conservancy to oversee the MNC Dog Health Project. On Thursday nov. 8th, the MNC Dog Health Project team was in action in Mararienta village. Dr. Gabriel Turasha (from VetAid, Kenya) and Dr. James Leyian (based in Mararienta) was joined by veterinary surgeons from Egerton University, Kenya: Prof. Mande, Dr. Kisipan and Dr. Kerempa in order to do surgery on the male dogs in one of the households. The dogs were anesthetized by injection and surgery was initiated within approximately 15-20 minutes. The ‘clinic’ was comprised of a plastic table placed in the shade under a tree, plus a smaller table for the surgical equipment. The castration was performed under as aseptic conditions as possible, and the procedure was done in 20 minutes. The dogs were given painkillers and prophylactic antibiotics, and were supervised while recovering from anesthesia. In spite of the remoteness of the surgical setting, the procedures attracted quite an audience. This is very helpful, as the lack of ‘drama’ in relation to the surgeries will hopefully encourage more owners to let their dogs undergo neutralization.

Workshop May 2019: Read all about it here

Workshop November 2019

Ten veterinary students from Denmark, Kenya and the US have just left Mara North Conservancy after having participated in the second workshop of MNC Dog Health Project. Under supervision of veterinarians from Copenhagen University, Nairobi University, Tufts University and Egerton, the students perform castrations and spays of the maasai dogs, in order to control breeding, transfer of veneral diseases, aggression and roaming behavior. The students also go into the field to vaccinate and deworm dogs to reduce the risk of transfer of these diseases to wildlife, humans and other domestic dogs.

The dogs are being treated on a voluntary basis, and up to now 86 dogs have been castrated/spayed in and around Mararienda and 2200 dogs have been vaccinated and dewormed.

The MNCDog Health project managed by project leader Rikke Langebæk, DVM and has been supported by KBCT, Englund’s Fund as well as several Danish medical suppliers (Kruuse A/S, e-Vet, Boehringer, Eickemeyer), that have donated surgical materials.

The November 2019 team:

Students:

DENMARK:

  • Miranda Turac
  • Anna Enevold Fredsted
  • Sabrina B. Knudsen
  • Sophie Renee Hartvig Jensen
  • Ameli Victoria Loft-Andersen

USA:

  • Adrian Dannis
  • Melissa Christopherson

KENYA:

  • Ian Ayugu
  • Suleiman Issak
  • Colleta Sang

 VETS:

  • VetAid team: Dr. Gabriel Turasha (main local organizer) and Mr. Inderjiit (in charge of vaccinations)
  • Veterinarians from Nairobi University, KE: Dr. Esther Marshabi and Dr. Specioza
  • Veterinarian from Egerton University, Nakuru, KE: Dr. Mosiani Kisipan
  • Veterinary intern: Dr. Topirian Kerempe
  • Veterinarian from University of Copenhagen, DK: Associate professor Rikke Langebæk (project manager) and Dr. Helle Harding Poulsen (anesthesiologist)
  • Veterinarian from Tufts University, US: Dr. Stephen deVincent
  • Local veterinarian from Mararienta: James Leyian