Khayelitsha animal clinic treats the peoples pets


    mdzananda---textMdzananda has a mobile clinic that comes to the community to heal its pets. (Image: Mdzananda Animal Clinic)

    An animal clinic running from six recycled shipping containers treats dogs and cats from a community of over 1.5 million people without help from the City of Cape Town.

    Mdzananda Animal Clinic is the only veterinary council registered animal clinic in Khayelitsha, a township just outside Cape Town. Mdzananda – meaning distemper in the local isiXhosa dialect – was established in 1996 to treat animals without access to veterinary care in the fast growing impoverished community.

    In the spirit of the clinics ethos – community upliftment through animal health care – the clinic offers sterilization, dipping, deworming and vaccination as primary veterinary healthcare services. Sick or injured pets can also be brought in for consultations, hospitalisation and theatre operations for sick and injured animals.

    For those too far from the clinics improvised home, a daily mobile clinic travels around the sprawling township to care for pets in need, or too sick to be brought to the hospital. The service runs every afternoon during the week, and includes home visits by staff to educate the community about the work Mdzananda does.

    According to the Dog Trust, a third of the households in Khayelitsha fall below the poverty line. Poverty, unemployment and lack of education makes an investment in veterinary care rare. Social issues make it difficult for the community to care for their pets so finding animals suffering from disease and untreated injuries was a common sight.

    The Dog Trust, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, BCL Medical Waste Management, Ashworth Africa Tours and Safaris, Revelstone, Malls Tiles, Norpharm, and, Nestle Purina, are organisations that have funded Mdzananda in its quest to help the animals of Khayelitsha.

    You can also donate to Mdzananda by checking for their banking details here.

    Jane Levinson, project manager at Mdzananda, said: “I’ve been volunteering for Mdzananda since March 1997, almost from the start of the project. As project manager my job is overall coordination of Mdzananda, and I’m also responsible for fund raising and public relations.

    “I’ve been privileged to see Mdzananda grow from a tiny animal welfare project that had no water or electricity, to providing Khayelitsha with a full time professional animal welfare service that has helped over 50 000 pets since 1996.”


    In 2010, an emergency vaccination drive was launched to save Khayelitsha dogs from an outbreak of the deadly canine parvovirus.

    During that time a serious outbreak of Parvovirus in the Somerset West, Strand and Gordon’s Bay area’s was detected which meant that it was only a matter of time before the disease spreads to nearby Khayelitsha.

    Levinson hailed vaccine manufacturer Intervet and distributor Norpharm for contributing to the fight by slashing the price of the vaccine by half.

    She said: “We are extremely grateful to them both. Their generosity has been key to us getting this emergency relief exercise off to a swift start, meaning we can start protecting dogs before Parvovirus actually takes hold in Khayelitsha.”


    Beyond the primary services Mdzananda runs several projects that serve to look after Khayelitsha’s cats and dogs. They run spay campaigns; kennel building; sustainable gardening and a volunteer programme.

    Khayelitsha residents are encouraged to have their pets spayed, a service offered free at Mdzananda. During the campaign Mdzananda, staffed by volunteer veterinarians, can sterilize up 100 animals in a single day.  

    Mdzananda organises “kennel building” events for their staff so that they get together with the community to build and decorate kennels from scrap wood. You too can organise your “kennel building” along with Mdzananda by contacting them on +27 21 367 2302 /4091.

    The clinic also has its very own vegetable garden that helps in making soup during the cold Cape winter.