Diseased dogs in the Northern Territory have found new hope in two simple ingredients: bread and butter. In the Northern Territory’s Rope Gulf, veterinarians and the local community have been lacing bread and butter with medication in an attempt to improve the health of local dogs. Sam Phelan, veterinarian for the Roper Gulf Regional Council's Animal Health Program explains:
We lace the bread with a medication that treats dogs for worms, ticks and scabies, "And we give it on bread to make it easy.
“You can inject the medication as well, but then you're catching dogs for needles, and they soon learn what the rattle of the cage sounds like. They will run from a needle, or come running to it if it's the bread, and we prefer them running to us."
It’s a common misunderstanding that most dogs in the area are wild, but the truth is, within the indigenous communities these animals, referred to as “camp dogs”,are pets.
"They're pets, they're owned family pets, and in a lot of communities those dogs are free-roaming," says Dr Phelan
Unfortunately though, as Dr Phelan explains these free roaming dogs bite each other regularly, spreading disease in these communities. But as she goes on to say, working with the local community to give medication to these dogs has enabled her to identify the “problem dogs.”
The animal management workers will identify cheeky dogs to me as well, so we very quickly know who the tricky ones of each town are. And keeping the dogs healthy certainly, limits a lot of disease transmission.
Who knew it was as simple as bread and butter.