Courtesy of World Animal Protection

The veterinary profession is widely practiced in Kenya, with more universities countrywide opening up faculties of Veterinary medicine, giving opportunities to many students who would have wanted to pursue the course. The perception that the veterinary profession is a male course has also changed, with many women being seen venturing into the field.

Vet drought

There are however many set backs in the veterinary profession. Despite a steady supply of new vet graduates annually, the industry is still understaffed. For instance, you will find very few vets employed at county levels. The larger group in these counties struggle hard to find employment by themselves either by opening small veterinary clinics for as long as they are authorized to practice veterinary surgery.

Back in my village, those who cannot afford to open their own clinics opt to be mobile veterinarians. Their work depends on a call from a client, in the same village, who could be wanting say their cow whom they have nicknamed ‘Monica’, checked because they may be passing urine with blood stains.

From the savings they get from treating the animals, these mobile vets are later able to buy a motorcycle, which they use to maneuver the dusty roads in the village. If that particular village has leaders who keep their promises, the motorcycle will be lucky enough to survive the potholes and will hence serve its owner for a longer period of time.

In addition, you might find that a village only has one veterinarian who cuts across all homes. Does it mean that the rest have rushed to urban centers to make their living? Doesn’t charity begin at home?

Animal deaths

We have not one time experienced so many deaths of animals especially in the wildlife sector. Take an example of the deaths of the 11 black rhinos who died under mysterious circumstances during their transfer from Nakuru National park to Tsavo East National park. Many Kenyans had a lot of questions linger in their mind of why such should be happening, despite having as many vets as we have as a country

In the far-flung areas marked as disaster zones, such as Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit and Isiolo, so many animals die as a result of drought, or diseases that are related to drought. It leaves one wondering if there is something the veterinarians could do to control this.

Floods have also been known to kill animals when there are heavy rains. These animals either die from the floods or diseases related to this. Whenever there is a flood and a number of people have been affected, what you see are human rescue groups trying to evacuate people to safer areas. Can we have the same reciprocated to animals in case of a disaster?

Rabies and its implications

Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through bites and scratches of infected animals. It has been known to cause many animal and human deaths for a long time. For instance, two students were reported to have succumbed to dog bites of rabid dogs in Murang’a county late last year. The two were candidates who were already sitting for their KCPE and KCSE examinations.

Such incidences only leave more questions than answers. Aren’t there veterinarians who can take the initiative to vaccinate such animals against the deadly disease before they contract it? This is very possible and if at all we have to eliminate rabies, these professionals got to take the initiative by educating the general public on the importance of regular vaccinations and also doing a follow up on the same.

Other diseases that are giving farmers sleepless nights are like the Rift valley fever which has been very rampant in the rift regions. Can something be done about it? Where are our vets to help us in controlling this?

Food safety

You have come across cases of people dying as a result of consumption of contaminated meat and you wonder, isn’t there a law that governs the inspection of meat by veterinarians before disposing it to the public for consumption? CAP 356 clearly states;

. No person shall, except in emergency, slaughter in a slaughterhouse any animal which has not been inspected by an inspecting officer, and any person who contravenes this regulation shall be guilty of an offence.

Is it the veterinarians who have failed in their duties or is it the general public who are ignorant about things that concern them and directly affect them?

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