This is Ridgie, handsome as all that and now in excellent health. But this hadn’t always been the case. Ridgie suffered from a transmissible venereal tumour or TVT as it is commonly known in the veterinary world.
But what is a TVT? Tumour as in cancer? Transmissible as in contagious? Venereal as in genitals? Is it painful and is it fatal? Yes to all of the above!
This type of tumour is sexually transmitted so dogs get infected during mating. In females the tumours develop on the vulva and in males at the base of the penis.
Dogs can also get infected by licking each other. That is the reason why we can also see the lesions on the skin and sometimes even on the eyes!
These tumours are painful and will keep growing if not treated leading to a long and agonizing death.
Luckily, there exists a simple and very effective treatment: vincristine a chemotherapeutic agent. That is the good news!
The bad news is that the vincristine must be administered intravenously once a week for 4 to 8 weeks by a qualified person.
Treating these dogs brings many challenges. What happens to these dogs when the owners don’t have a car to bring their dog to the vet or simply just don’t have the money to afford the treatment? These dogs are either humanely euthanized or in the worst case scenario abandoned in the streets to suffer from a long and painful death.
Either of those fates is hard to accept because these dogs can be saved.
Sterilization particularly before six months of age, increases life expectancy and decreases the risk of contracting a TVT. Unfortunately sterilization alone for a dog already infected will not cure a TVT. Several doses of chemotherapy with vincristine must be administered to have any hope for a complete recovery.
I have seen MANY dogs suffering from this curable disease on FVAI’s sterilization campaigns. it can be very demoralizing. I always felt that I was abandoning them to their sad fate.
For several years now, we have had the chance to work with Mbwa Wa Africa Animal Rescue, our extraordinary partner in Tanzania. On top of organizing vaccination and sterilization campaigns, they also offer FREE treatments for transmissible venereal tumours when vincristine is available and when they have the budget to do so.
One day, Jens form Mbwa Wa Africa, sent me photos of Ridgie. We were stunned! We had never seen such a severe case of TVT. Holes all over his head! What horror!
Ridgie”s case lit the fire under our new project, because of him I decided to take the leap! From now on FVAI will sponsor TVT treatments!
In Tanzania, each treatment costs around 10$. Dogs must receive on average 4 treatments, sometimes even eight in severe cases such as Ridgie’s. The chance of recovery can be almost 100% even in severe cases. Extraordinary, no?
In order to not have to make the heart-wrenching decision of whether or not to treat a dog based on a lack of funds, we are calling on your generosity during this holiday season. Our fundraising campaign ‘’ Offer the Gift of a Lifetime’’ will be running from the 17th of November to the 31st of December, 2021.
Your gift will have a major impact on the quality of life of so many dogs that are suffering in silence. Help dogs like Ridgie live a healthy life without TVTs.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Mbwa Wa Africa Animal Rescue is actually building a new shelter along with a permanent veterinary clinic to answer the increasing demand for veterinary services in Tanzania. This is an enormous project. Don’t hesitate to donate so that this dream shelter can become a reality.