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Vaccination of Animals Against Rabies

The U-Hearts Foundation purchased the vaccine for the shelter in Gostomel

“U-Hearts contributes to countering the spread of rabies in Ukraine!”

U-hearts Foundation is a non-profit public organisation that works with an aim of helping pets in Eastern Europe. Due to the war in Ukraine, thousands of pets were left without homes and proper care. The foundation began its activities in our country with the purchase of fodder, and currently works on improving medical care in various shelters. The first step has already been taken – they bought a rabies vaccine for almost 1,000 animals.

We are going to explain why it is really necessary now

Rabies is an acute viral disease of all warm-blooded animals, which leads to a high level of aggressiveness, damage to the central nervous system and the development of paralysis. According to WHO and OIE, this disease is one of the five most dangerous diseases that cause the greatest social and economic losses.

Each year over 55,000 people and more than 1 million animals die from rabies. The most common cases are observed in countries of Africa and Asia, where the number of homeless animals is not controlled, there are no disease prevention programs and widespread unsanitary conditions.

A little about the situation with vaccination in Ukraine

In Ukraine, over the past 40 years, the epidemic situation regarding the incidence of rabies in people has remained unstable – isolated cases of the disease have been registered, although a growing trend has been recorded.

Since 1994, diseases have been registered in almost 19 regions. A significant number of people who are in search of medical help due to animal attacks have been registered. Namely – 52723. In the second picture the most disadvantaged Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Odesa, Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk are shown. On the following territories, hostilities are taking place and the number of homeless cats and dogs is increasing. In addition, the threat is currently created by wild animals. Due to the lack of hunting they multiply uncontrollably. This fact increases the population of people and animals affected by rabies.

Among the animals that attacked people are the ones that usually stay close to humans: cats and dogs – 96.24% of all animals, farm animals 0.13%, foxes – 0.6%. Also 0.15% are attacks caused by bats.

Cats caused 21.84% of attacks from all animals, including homeless – 5.47%, dogs – 74.40%, including homeless ones – 25.99%. Year after year, the issue of homeless animals remains unsolved.

What is the current situation with vaccination in shelters?

From the first days of the war, shelters are literally filled with thousands of animals but luckily, are still helping pets. Rapid spread of infectious diseases, minimal funding, lack of history of vaccinations and vaccines – these are all problems that volunteers and veterinarians face every day.

The goal of the U-hearts Foundation team is to help pet shelters to solve this difficult task, so that ultimately healthy animals find their caring families. In order to realise this, the fund is engaged in the purchase of vaccines for the Save Pets of Ukraine (hereinafter SPOU) initiative. Their team helps animals that have been left without families, have lost their homes and are temporarily forced to stay in shelters. As of today, 407 shelters have applied to SPOU for vaccination assistance.

To counter the spread of rabies, U-Hearts procured 1,000 vaccines and has immunised 100 dogs in Kharkiv and 150 dogs in Gostomel, 125 dogs in the Chornobyl, 100 dogs in Poltava.

In addition, we will proceed to engage in our main activity – the purchase of fodder for abandoned animals and their transportation throughout Ukraine.

Why is rabies vaccination rewarding while helping pets?

Due to the absence of a clinical cure for the disease, while dogs and cats are the key source of human infection, prevention through vaccination is the main measure of preventing the spread of rabies. According to the WHO, for this vaccination coverage should cover almost 70% of dogs. Routine use of vaccines is a more cost-effective tool than treating rabies cases after bites, both short-term and long-term. The cost of treating humans after a bite is about $100, while the cost of vaccinating dogs is about $0.50 per dog.

You can also make a significant contribution to this important mission. Thus, if you have a question of how to help homeless cats and dogs, join our initiative in any of these ways:

  • Support U-hearts Foundation with financial grants or donations.
  • Become a partner of the U-hearts Foundation. Help your colleagues to purchase the vaccine.
  • Spread information about the “Save pets of Ukraine” or “Help Ukrainian pets” initiative in your social networks.

Posted by:

Veterinarian. Director of the Operations Department of the NGO Element of Life.

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