Dog distemper outbreak in PE ‘is worst ever’

2015-06-10 06:00

THE Animal Welfare Society say the current outbreak of dog distemper in the Walmer Township area of Nelson Mandela Bay is the worst they have seen and urgent interventions are needed to prevent a spread to other parts of the city of this very contagious and potentially fatal disease.

Port Elizabeth Animal Welfare Society (AWS) director Hannes Stander said they are working hard to identify the affected dogs and spread awareness of the recent outbreak of canine distemper among dogs in the Walmer township.

Stander said the outbreak was the worst he has seen in his 14 years at AWS.

“The challenge is the fact that we don’t know how far and deep it has spread which is making this job difficult.

“Unfortunately there is no cure for distemper, but the disease can be prevented by inoculations,” he said.

Stander said dogs with the disease display symptoms of loss of appetite, coughing and runny nose, thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.

“It’s important for owners to contact the local vet immediately. If you do not have the means or are in the Walmer township area, you can contact us for help,” said Stander.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Public Health directorate said residents who cannot afford the services of a veterinarian, must urgently call the Municipal Dog Control Inspectorate at 041 506 1743.

“On receiving a call, a team of officials will be dispatched to the resident’s home to take a look at the dog and discuss its condition and symptoms with the owner. If suspicion exists that the dog has indeed contracted distemper, the animal will be taken away to the SPCA and may be put down,” said Mthubanzi Mniki, Municipal spokesperson.

Mniki said municipal officials were already out in Walmer Township and the surrounding areas educating people about the disease and what needs to be done when it is detected.

“The disease is passed from dog to dog through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva. Sneezing, coughing and sharing food and water bowls are all possible ways for the virus to be passed on.

“Residents could clean and disinfect (with bleach) their dog’s kennel, food and water bowls and their own home to help prevent the virus from spreading.

“Puppies and dogs who have not been vaccinated and received their distemper shots are especially prone to the disease.

“We plead for the cooperation and understanding of our residents during this period and that they appreciate that the Municipality is acting in the best interests of the health and safety of the canine population of Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Mniki.

. According to canine distemper is a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease.

Distemper primarily affects puppies and younger dogs, but can infect and be potentially fatal in dogs of any age.

This disease is not transmissible to humans or cats. Canine distemper’s high fatality rate makes vaccination essential

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