A random sample survey using personal interviews was conducted in Zimbabwe in 1986 to determine the size and structure of the national dog population and its level of rabies vaccination. There was an average of 0.91 dogs per household in Zimbabwe giving an extrapolated total population of 1,308,577 dogs. There was a dog to people ratio of 1:6.5 and an average of 3.4 dogs per square kilometre. The ratio of adult male to female dogs was 0.56:0.44, with 20 per cent of the dog population being less than three months old. In the period 1950 to 1986 there was a 4.7 per cent per annum growth rate of the dog population. In one of the provinces, Manicaland, dogs were found to have an average age of 2.3 years and a life expectancy at birth of 4.6 years. An estimated 40 per cent of the dog population three months old and above had been vaccinated against rabies in 1985/1986. With the rabies incidence in Zimbabwe still unacceptably high this level of vaccination is clearly inadequate and measures designed to increase it are discussed.
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