Local vet aims to help eliminate rabies

Fiona Thomson, who is travelling to Africa on a rabies eradication mission.
Fiona Thomson, who is travelling to Africa on a rabies eradication mission.

Fiona Thomson, a vet with The Pets ’n’ Vets Family, a network of neighbourhood veterinary practices with surgeries on the southside and Glasgow, is all set to jet off this week to participate in Mission Rabies in Uganda.

UK charity Mission Rabies works to eliminate rabies around the world, combining global outreach vaccination programmes with community education, thus improving human and animal health.

Rabies is a preventable disease which kills an estimated 100 children every day across the world, yet is fully preventable through effective vaccination.

Scottish international research has led the way in showing that vaccination in the field can greatly improve the control of rabies within the wild and domestic dog population, thus meaningfully reducing the risk of human disease.

The veterinary services provided by Mission Rabies is reliant upon a large team of dedicated volunteers from around the world.

Commenting on her forthcoming venture, Fiona said: “Having worked with the charity last year in Malawi and seen first-hand the difference we can make, I can’t wait to return to Africa to help out again this year.

“Once again, we’ll be working from sunrise till sunset vaccinating as many dogs as possible.

“Mission Rabies aims to abolish rabies via three means: mass vaccination; population control (mass neutering campaigns) and education.

“If we can vaccinate two thirds of the local dog population, we can stop the rabies virus from spreading.

Fiona added: “As a team we vaccinated over 35,000 dogs last year, smashing our target.

“It was a truly immense experience – one I’ll never forget – and which I hope will live on through my time in Uganda.”

Fiona will join vaccination teams journeying to remote villages in the Nwoya district from Gulu, providing vital protection to dogs and their owners against rabies for the following year.

She will be drawing up vaccines, giving out vaccination certificates for owners as proof of vaccination, marking dogs to show they have been vaccinated and distributing educational material.

Mission Rabies is part of the worldwide veterinary service (WVS), founded by veterinarian Luke Gamble in 2013.

Its aim is to abolish rabies worldwide by 2030.

As part of her fundraising for the trip, Fiona has been sponsored by The Pets’n’Vets Family clients and has undertaken bag-packing at Tesco, Silverburn.

You can make a donation to Fiona’s Just Giving page by logging on to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Fiona-Thomson10.

The Pets ‘n’ Vets Family has been caring for Glasgow’s pets for over 40 years.