UAE vets warn dog owners to be aware of outbreak of deadly canine disease
Veterinary surgeons in the United Arab Emirates are urging dog owners to have their pets vaccinated and not socialize with other animals after reporting outbreaks of the deadly distemper.
Across Dubai, many pet owners say their dogs have been diagnosed with distemper, a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease.
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Some of the dogs died, leaving the owners heartbroken.
Albert Alcopora, a veterinary nurse at the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai, said vets at their clinic were aware of cases of distemper and warned that a new strain could be in the UAE as dogs vaccinated against the disease were diagnosed with the disease.
While vaccinations provide a protective barrier between pets and these types of diseases, he said dog owners should avoid socializing their pets at this time.
“What is strange is that it could be a new strain,” he told Al Arabiya English. “Even vaccinated dogs are infected.
“The best prevention to avoid transmission of the disease through saliva and other bodily fluids is to avoid direct contact with other dogs.
“If you see signs of distemper – symptoms such as eye or nasal discharge – go straight to the vet.
“However, warn them that your dog may have distemper so they can isolate your pet so you don’t infect healthy animals as it is a very nasty virus.
“Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and when walking your dog avoid direct contact with other dogs. Prevention is better than cure.”
In Dubai Hills, dog owner Amy le Roux said her 16-month-old puppy, who is vaccinated against distemper, is currently fighting for her life after contracting the disease.
“I want everyone to know there has been an outbreak of distemper in Dubai Hills; to our knowledge, two dogs have died and one is currently fighting to get better, but there may be other cases that we are not aware of,” she said. “Vets have also confirmed that there has been a sudden increase in cases in the United Arab Emirates.
“This is a heartbreaking virus that currently has no cure. My dog is currently fighting for his life, so be very careful of who your dog socializes with. If they are showing any of the symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
Symptoms include watery/pus discharge from the eyes, fever, runny nose, cough, lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, tremors/ticks, problems with balance or walking and seizures.
“I don’t want to scare anyone, I just want to raise awareness,” the Dubai resident said. “I didn’t know about this virus and if I hadn’t known of a previous puppy that died in my area, I wouldn’t have known to ask the vet to test him when he started showing the first symptoms.”
“My beautiful boy is a fighter and we are doing everything we can to help boost his immune system so he can try to fight off this horrible virus, please all hug your fur babies really tight and keep an eye on them. I hope no one else has to experience our fear and pain.
A member of staff at the DKC Veterinary Clinic in Motor City in Dubai said she was aware of cases in Dubai Hills and Damac Hills and advised dog owners to have their pet’s antibody levels checked to see if they had enough antibodies against the disease.
“We advise booster shots and it’s best not to socialize pets in areas where it may be prevalent, such as dog parks.”
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