Animal Talk

(avery) #1

Text: Dr Andrea Prigge | Photography: Supplied

veterinary excellence



he Animaltalk Veterinary Excellence
award for 2018 went to somebody
who really goes out of her way
to help animals in the communities,
Dr Andrea Prigge. Her passion for what
she does makes her absolutely deserving
of this award and she received numerous
nominations from readers. We asked her
what her typical day looks like and this is
her response.

New challenges every day
No two days are ever the same in any
veterinary practice! On an easy day, we do
consultations in the mornings and then
routine surgery afterwards. However, even
the best-planned day can turn upside down in
an instant when emergencies like poisonings
or motor vehicle accidents arrive.
On the days that we do outreach in the
Munsieville informal settlement, we dash off
in our lunch break to vaccinate as many dogs
and cats as possible. We typically treat about
100 animals with each visit and this entails
vaccinating, deworming and treating for ticks
and fleas. We also treat minor injuries in the
field and inevitably we end up bringing a
few sick animals back to the clinic for more
intensive treatment. Most of these cases are
tick bite fever, cat flu and worms. These are
easily preventable through routine care which
these communities do not have access to.
We felt the need to help the community
by providing routine care, which is why we
started this programme. Upon repeat visits,
we were greeted with enthusiasm as the

owners found that their dogs were healthier
and happier after our visits and we could also
see visible improvements in their condition.

Sterilising pets
Due to the fact that we saw a large number
of puppies on every visit (in wheelbarrows
and feed sacks!) we started a sterilisation
programme too. This was also welcomed
by the community as most of the people
wanted their pets sterilised but couldn’t
afford it. We did this out of our own pocket
as government funds are limited. As we
had such an overwhelming response to our
visits, we approached our suppliers, who have
kindly donated vaccines, dewormers, as well
as tick and flea products whenever they were
able to. We were also generously sponsored
by Orijen Acana SA and MSD Bravecto so
that we could purchase a dog trailer to help
bring animals back to the clinic for treatment
and sterilisation.

Biggest challenge
The biggest challenges facing veterinarians on
a daily basis is that many people cannot afford
veterinary treatment for their sick animals.
This puts us in a very difficult situation as
we also have huge overheads to pay. We
encourage pet owners to take out medical aid
cover for their pets as this is becoming more
and more affordable. Our motto is ‘prevention
is cheaper than cure’. We also advise pet
owners to ensure their pets’ vaccinations
are up to date, to deworm every three to six
months and treat for ticks and fleas monthly.

Back home
At home, we obviously have a large furry,
feathery and finned family of dogs, cats,
horses, pot-bellied pigs, fish, birds, chickens,
geese and peacocks. A real menagerie of
waifs and strays!
The most interesting pet we own is a
huge fluffy dog called Milo. He is a cross
Rottweiler, German Shepherd Dog and
Ridgeback according to his MuttMix DNA
test. He was confiscated by the police during
a raid on a brothel.
Milo enjoys lounging on the couch and
actually watches TV. When he is tired he
opens up the doors by standing on his back
legs and pulling down the door handles (he
learnt this all by himself). He then goes off
to the bedroom for a nap! Milo also enjoys
standing on the pool steps to cool down his
feet on hot days.
As I spend most of the day at work, I usually
bring a few dogs from home with me. They
enjoy this as they get to ‘talk’ to the clients
and play with the resident practice dogs.
All in all, it is a very rewarding profession
to be in!

A passion

for pets

A dedicated veterinarian who helps the
community where possible

Dr Andrea Prigge treating one of
the dogs in the community.

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