Over 500 donkeys and 3,000 dogs from Kasarani Sub County in Nairobi have been vaccinated against rabies over the weekend following an outbreak of the disease in the area.
The exercise conducted by Directorate of Animal Services in Nairobi City County and Donkey Welfare Associations Brooke East Africa, Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT) and Africa Network for Animal Welfare was conducted in Kamulu, Stage 26, Njiru, Ruai, Muhuru Muchiri, Githunguri, Utawala and Mwiki estates at no cost.
Kendat Project Manager Dr Samantha Opere said the exercise was necessitated by an incident two weeks ago where a rabid donkey bit and infected a number of donkeys and people at stage 26.
She said reports indicated that the donkey had been bitten by a rabid dog in April and had spread the disease to six more donkeys in the area.
“Two weeks ago, a rogue donkey bit its owner and several other donkeys. We visited the farm with a team of veterinary officers and established that it had rabies. We had to kill it,” she said.
Kamulu, Ruai and Utawala are among the estates that have a high donkey population which are used to distribute water due to acute shortages, and building materials owing to the many construction sites in the area.
Patrick Mutua, the owner of the donkey that had been infected by rabies said things have never been the same again since it was killed since it was his only source of livelihood.
Mutua, who has used the donkey for four years is nursing a huge wound on the arm from the donkey bite. He has spent over Sh 7,000 to treat tetanus and rabies.
“All of a sudden, the donkey appetite dropped but this did not bother me. But when it bit other donkeys we called in vets who killed it. The donkey used to sleep outside and I suspect that a stray dog could have bitten it at night,” said Mutua.
Other farmers led by Ruth Wanjira, Dorothy Kathambi and Jotham Kimani welcomed the vaccination exercise saying it was a relief since they feared the disease would spread to their animals.
“Once reports of a donkey that had been infected with rabies surfaced, we were afraid for our animals. The vaccination is welcome, however, there are some farmers who are yet to bring their animals for vaccination and might deter efforts to weed the disease out of this area,” said Kimani.
The Chairman Nairobi County Donkey Owners’ Association Stephen Kamuiru Muthamia called on donkey owners to join groups where their welfare can easily be addressed.
He said had Mutua been registered in a group, he would have been given a loan and replaced his donkey.
Cases of donkey vaccination against rabies are rare with the last one being done three years ago.
The farmers also raised concern over increased donkey accidents along Kangundo road saying no month passes without an accident which leads to maiming or death of a donkey.
By Muoki Charles