the SPCA has urged dog owners to vaccinate their pets following the potential outbreak of canine distemper.
THE SPCA has urged dog owners to vaccinate their pets following the potential outbreak of canine distemper at its Waltloo branch.

The organisation took to its Facebook page to inform dog owners about the possible deadly disease.

Part of its post read: “Distemper is a serious airborne virus that spreads rapidly, and there is no cure. Symptoms often take time to manifest and dogs may initially appear healthy, only to become sick later.”

According to the SPCA, its management committee, in consultation with vets and kennel personnel, had taken a decision to quarantine the branch's kennels for at least four weeks to stop a full-on outbreak.

It noted: “Through a rigorous cycle of continuous monitoring, testing and vaccination, coupled with deep-cleaning kennel blocks and common areas as well as isolation procedures, we are optimistic that a full-on outbreak can be stopped.”

The SPCA said the health and well-being of all animals in its care took priority at all times and due to that, it was doing everything in its power to contain the threat in its kennels. “Our vets and kennel personnel have been working together to ensure that strict hygiene and isolation protocols are continuously followed to prevent further spread of this virus.

“However, the situation has become more serious in recent days,” the SPCA said.

It further revealed that the first signs of distemper included sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite are also common symptoms of the virus.

Due to the outbreak, the SPCA noted that its quarantine procedures meant that its normal services would be limited, and in some instances suspended.

“During the quarantine period, no dog adoptions will be processed as we cannot, in good conscience, adopt out potentially sick dogs,” it added.