Are your pet's vaccinations up to date? Dr Guy Fyvie, nutritional advisor at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, says, with the recent Canine Distemper virus outbreak this question should be top of pet parents’ minds.
The virus is said to have originated with 10 cases in Hornlee near Knysna earlier this year and has now spread to the Western Cape.
Although, not an epizootic yet – a disease event in pets, equivalent to an epidemic in humans – the virus is spreading, with almost 300 dogs euthanised between March and August 2018.
The American Veterinary Medical Association defines Canine Distemper as “a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.”
“The only way to prevent and avoid Canine Distemper is to take your dog to the vet and have them vaccinated,” says Dr. Fyvie. “If your dog hasn’t been vaccinated, and they come into contact with an animal infected by distemper, they’re at a very high risk of contracting the disease themselves. There is also a possibility of the virus spreading by secondary contact or even airborne.” Distemper is traditionally a young dog disease but can easily affect older dogs that are not properly vaccinated.