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Local Leadership for Human and Animal Health

Veterinarians return to Nepal's central Himalaya after a two-year COVID hiatus.

Himalayan Mutt Project co-founder and indigenous leader, Mukhiya (Snowmonkey) Gotame, led a community effort to bring vets and vaccines back to the mountains after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. The team neutered a total of 70 dogs, and 91 dogs received rabies vaccinations in upper Manang, Naisyang Goan Palika, Pisang, and Khangsar.

The rabies vaccination and neutering program received an overwhelming reception from local communities, who had made desperate requests for veterinary services to return to the rural reaches of the Himalaya after seeing a growth in local dog populations.

Numerous community volunteers joined the effort to help bring dogs to neutering and vaccination camps that were set up in main villages. Community groups and organisations also led fund raising efforts to support the cost of travel for vets and vaccines across this rugged landscape.

Mukhiya also spoke to local journalists to raise awareness about animal health, and how dog owners can protect themselves and their livestock by participating in neutering and vaccination programs. He shared our OneHealth message about how managing dog health can protect wildlife and people from deadly diseases.

Himalayan communities have had an intimate relationship with their animals for thousands of years. Dogs protect livestock and provide companionship to families. Without dedicated veterinary services in the mountains, field camps and travelling vets remain the only opportunity for rural communities to provide healthcare for their animals.

Sometimes the need for animal healthcare is urgent. This shepherd dog was attacked by a snow leopard, and was in a poor body condition when the vet team arrived. Owners were concerned but felt frustratingly helpless without the knowledge of medicine to help their dog. Thankfully, our team arrived in time and were able to provide timely surgery to stitch up its wounds and curb its infection.

Longterm and successful animal health programs depend on tenacious and resilient leaders like Mukhiya, and our collaborators from the Himalaya Animal Rescue Trust that help share the effort of each field campaign! Congratulations team, and a big thank you to the Nyashang Gaun Palika for their contribution of 2 Lakhs, and the Nyashang Manang Women Society for the donation of Nrp 50,000 to the 2022 expedition!


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