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VETS IN SOUTH AFRICA      

 

This is the home page, containing extensive general information about Vets and the health and welfare of animals in South Africa. 

Here you can find a vet, veterinarian (veterinary surgeon) or find a South African veterinary practice, searching per location. For information on specific animal care subjects simply select and click on your subject of choice above. 

This website is a comprehensive animal care resource with over 100's of frequently asked questions about animal health, welfare and care.

 

Whether you need to consult with an Vet as a matter of urgency or might only need to do so in the future, now is a good time to learn more about Veterinarians and animal care in South Africa. - This can assist you in making informed decisions when you require the services of an Vet or Animal Health Care Provider!

 

  1. How much do Vets charge?
  2. How can I reduce my vet fees and animal care expenses?
  3. What is some of the day-to-day business that a vet undertakes?
  4. How does a person qualify to practise as an Veterinarian in South Africa?
  5. How does a person qualify to practise as an Veterinarian Nurse in South Africa?
  6. How does a person qualify to practise as an Veterinary Technologist in South Africa?
  7. Which bodies govern Vets in South Africa?
  8. Are there organizations which help poorer communities who cannot afford the services of a Veterinarian?
  9. What legislation is applicable to animal care in South Africa?
  10. How many dogs may I keep on my property?
  11. What equipment does a vet use to diagnose my pets's illness / medical condition?
  12. What should I keep in mind when visiting a veterinarian?
  13. What questions should I ask my vet?

 

1. How much do Vets charge?


The SAVC (South African Veterinary Council) sets out an annual Guideline of Tariffs for veterinary services, which is available on their website: www.savc.org.za. The Council is not involved in private sector price determination, but does set out an annual Guideline of Tariffs for veterinary services. There is a scale of fees, ranging from cheaper for rural practices, to more expensive for upmarket practices. Vets are not bound by the guidelines, but in the event of complaints, the SAVC uses that scale as a guide. The Council does, however, recognise that – as with all professionals – vets are quite entitled to make a profit in their business, taking into account their training and capital outlay in establishing a practice. Other factors include where the practice is situated, the community that is serviced by the practice, the equipment and the standard of facilities offerd by the practice and the level of experience of the veterinarian.

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2. How can I reduce my vet fees and animal care expenses?


Vaccinations - Prevention is better and cheaper than a cure. Ensure that you take your pet for its vaccinations at the correct time.

Parasite Control - By applying an appropriate antiparisitic/arcaricidal product, tick-bite fever can be prevented by stopping the ticks from attaching to your dog or cat. Deworm your cat or dog regularly.

Sterilization - Animals that are sterilized, are far less likely to be wandering the streets and thus less likely to be hit by vehicles or come into contact with animals carrying diseases. They are also less likely to fight with one another at home. Sterilized female dogs are also at significantly reduced risk of contracting mammary gland cancer and neutered males have a reduced risk of developing testicular cancer.

Do not support backyard breeders / puppy mills - Disease and genetic defects are common. Animals are not properly looked after and used as breeding machines, resulting in unhealthy litters (and many more unwanted animals). Vets.org.za supports responsible registered breeders and the ADOPT don't shop cause is close to our heart.

Nutrition - Feed your animals the best quality food that you can afford. Good nutrition and balanced diets go a long way to preventing disease and illnesses.

Pet Health Insurance – Pet medical aid products offer benefit payouts in the event of your dog or cat (or horse) requiring veterinary treatment. Make sure that you understand exactly what you’re paying for, and what the exclusions and waiting periods are.

Training – A badly behaved pet can at best be demanding, at worst destructive or dangerous. Early Socialization can help prevent expensive problems later on with dog aggression and other potential behavioural problems.

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3. What is some of the day-to-day business that a vet undertakes?


A vet is not just an equivalent of your GP. Your veterinarian is also a specialist in the sense that he is also your animals’ surgeon, radiologist, dentist, ophthalmologist, ENT and pharmacist amongst others. Your vet also has to provide the equipment to treat your animal in each of these fields.

During the course of the day your vet may perform a variety of complex procedures: dental work on an aging poodle, operate on a sick hamster, look after an injured wild bird, orthopedic surgery for an active border collie, treating farm animals, sterilization, advise on the dietary requirements for an overweight labrador, X-rays, anaesthetize animals for surgery and perform laboratory work to find the cause of disease.

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4. How does a person qualify to practise as an Veterinarian in South Africa?


The BVSc degree of the University of Pretoria is recognised by the South African Veterinary Council for registration as a Veterinarian which entitles the holder to practice as a veterinarian. The degree course lasts for six years and thereafter you need to register with the South African Veterinary Council.

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5. How does a person qualify to practise as an Veterinarian Nurse in South Africa?


The University Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (DipVetNurs also referred to as DVN) is recognised by the South African Veterinary Council for registration as Veterinary Nurse which entitles the holder to practise the profession of veterinary nursing. The diploma programme requires two years of full-time study at the Onderstepoort campus of the University of Pretoria.

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6. How does a person qualify to practise as an Veterinary Technologist in South Africa?


Veterinary technologists play an important role in the maintenance of animal health and productivity in South Africa. The Tshwane University of Technology offers the National Diploma in Veterinarian Technology.

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7. Which bodies govern Vets in South Africa?


All veterinarians who render veterinary services in South Africa must be registered with the South African Veterinary Council [SAVC]. The SAVC publishes a set of tariff guidelines annually.

South Africa has strict anti-collusion legislation: the tariffs set out are therefore only a guideline and is in no way anti-competitive. Read more here about the guidelines set out by the SAVC.

Veterinarians are not allowed to lower prices primarily as a means of procuring clients, this is regarded as touting.

The minimum duty expected from a veterinarian in dealing with emergencies is the treatment of pain and shock as a matter of urgency and relieving the patient from its suffering. The client is ultimately still liable for the costs incurred with this treatment.

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8. Are there organizations which help poorer communities who cannot afford the services of a Veterinarian?


Yes - The SPCA is an animal welfare organisation which is dedicated to helping homelesss and cruelly-treated animals. They will assist owners who are genuinely impoverished. Priority areas are assessed by levels of poverty and greatest need coupled with the degree (or lack) of resources. To objectively assess if individuals qualify, they will require proof: level of income and proof of basic living expenses. It is worth noting that for every subsidised treatment, an abused animal could have been helped.

The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) is a non-profit organization which offers welfare veterinary services to less privileged clients including vaccinations, deworming, sterilizing of animals, surgeries, burn and skin treatments. There are 9 Mobile units around the country including: Cape Town, Soweto and George. Due to the economic pressure being brought to bear on the PDSA, a scale of tariffs applies. To qualify for their services you should not have a combined salary of more than R15 000 per month, per household.

The Animal Anti Cruelty League offers subsidized animal primary health services, support and education to less fortunate communities. It is South Africa's second largest independent Animal Welfare Organization, relying entirely on the generosity and goodwill of the animal-loving public for financial support.

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9. What legislation is applicable to animal care in South Africa?


Legislative Acts applicable to animal care and welfare in South Africa include the following:

Animal Health Act, 2002 (Act No. 7 of 2002)

Animal Diseases Act, 1984

Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1993 (Act No. 169 of 1993)

Performing Animals Protection Act, 1935 (Act 24 of 1935)

Animal Identification Act, 2002

Animal Diseases Act

Animals Protection Act, 1962 (Act 71 of 1962)

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10. How many dogs may I keep on my property?


By- laws will vary so it is best to check with the relevant municipality - generally two dogs per dwelling are allowed.

In most cases the by-laws or draft by-laws are available on municipality websites. Below are some of the links to major municipal websites:

City of Cape Town - www.capetown.gov.za

Ethekwini Municipality (Durban) - www.durban.gov.za

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth) - www.nelsonmandelabay.gov.za

City of Tshwane (Pretoria) - www.tshwane.gov.za

City of Johannesburg - www.joburg.org.za

Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality (Bloemfontein) - www.mangaung.co.za

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11. What equipment does a vet use to diagnose my pets's illness / medical condition?


As your pet cannot tell the vet how they are feeling or where they are experiencing problems, your vet will use a wide range of medical equipemnt / instruments to diagnose your pet.

This can include: 

  • X-Rays - are used to for example,  see if there are any broken or fractured bones,  or foreign objects that may be ingested.
  • CT / MRI Scanners - CT Scanners to scan and show soft tissue, organs such as the brain, to diagnose cancer, internal trauma or heart disease. MRI's are used to examine all tissue ( including brain, spinal cord, muscles , ligaments etc)
  • Various scopes - ophthalmoscope (eyes), otoscope (ears), stethoscope (heart, lungs, digestive system), endoscope, microscope (to examine parasites, blood smears, urine and faecal samples)
  • Ultrasound / Sonors - (internal organs)
  • Laboratories for bloodwork

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12. What should I keep in mind when visiting a veterinarian?


Your pet will visit the vet many times in his / her lifetime. It is up to you as a responsible and loving pet owner to make this as pleasant as possible.

  • Take your pet to the vet clinic for a few "friendly" visits e.g. weigh your pet, just enter the practice and spend a little time there. Then treat your pet so that he associates the smells, the trip and the place with  good things happening.
  • Dogs should be on a lead when visiting the vet. Cats should be in cat travel carriers / cat travel boxes.
  • Inform your vet of all the symptoms you have observed e.g. constipation, breathing problems, lack of appetite, lethargy, difference in behaviour, or if your pet has been in contact with other sick animals.
  • Ask questions.
  • Follow your vet's advice and instructions about the medication - always finish the course  for example of antibiotics. Do not give your pet human medicine.
  • Arrive on time for your appointment.
  • Healthcare is expensive - You are usually expected to pay after the consultation. Pet Medical insurance may help you to manage your pet care medical costs.

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13. What questions should I ask my vet?

 

  • Am I feeding my pet the correct diet ? Think of any problems your pet may be experiencing such as itchy skin, weight issues and ask your vet about this.
  • Should I be giving my pet any preventative medication such as tick and flea treatment, vaccinations and which deworming medication is recommended?
  • What are the benefits of spaying and neutering my pet?
  • How often should check-up visits be scheduled for puppies and kittens?
  • Is my particular dog breed predisposed to certain conditions that I should be aware of?
  • What is my pet's ideal weight?
  • What can I do to keep my pet's teeth and gums healthy?

 

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