KNYSNA NEWS - Distemper, a fatal disease in dogs, has broken out in Knysna killing 80 dogs – and this is a new strain that is even more dangerous.
This was confirmed by Knysna Animal Welfare Society (KAWS) public relations manager Retha Havenga, first on Thursday 10 May and then on 22 May.
Havenga said: "It is really bad, for this month alone up to date we, had to put more than 80 dogs down, that already had the aggressive distemper."
The disease reared its head in Charlie Lawack Street in Hornlee and is now widespread.
KAWS has asked that the community be vigilant should their animals become unwell, but also to make sure that dogs are vaccinated against distemper.
“Unvaccinated dogs that come into any kind of contact with an infected animal carry a particularly high risk of contracting this deadly disease. Please make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.
“The virus is spread through the air and by direct or indirect contact with an infected animal. It attacks the respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal and nervous systems,” says Havenga.
She says this newest strain of the distemper virus causes aggressive symptoms, mainly neurological, which closely resemble rabies symptoms.
Fever; listlessness and tiredness; vomiting and diarrhoea; discharge from the eyes and nose; coughing; muscle tremors in the body and on the head; sudden aggressive behaviour, for example overfriendly or a marked change in personality; fear of water; weakness; loss of appetite; seizures; paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles may follow, resulting in the well-known symptom of foaming at the mouth. Disorientation, incoordination and staggering may occur, caused by paralysis of the hind legs.
Havenga says, “Should your dog have any of these symptoms, please take your dog to your vet or local animal welfare immediately.”
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