The Western Cape Agriculture Department has urged pet owners to remain calm about the canine distemper outbreak that has spread along the Garden Route, with cases being reported in Cape Town.
Commenting on the highly contagious disease, which has claimed the lives of close to 300 dogs in Knysna, department spokesperson Bianca Capazorio told the SABC on Thursday: “We have seen media reports about cases on the Garden Route and also in the Cape Town metro. However, we do note that these have been recorded over quite a long period of time so there's no need to panic.
"The disease isn't a controlled one – the Department of Agriculture doesn't vaccinate against it. The Animal Diseases Act states that the owner is responsible for ensuring that their pet stays healthy, which includes ensuring that dogs have all their vaccinations.”
The Cape Times reported this week that Cape Town has been identified as a hot spot.
The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS) in Philippi, which encompasses the entire Cape Metro with a focus on the Cape Flats, said it has noticed a “worrying” spike in the number of cases reported. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.