Owing to the large number of animals, and specifically stray and surrendered dogs, we have taken in over the last few weeks we have been battling a potential full-on Canine Distemper outbreak at our Waltloo branch.
Distemper is a serious airborne virus that spreads rapidly, and there is no cure. Symptoms often takes time to manifest and dogs may initially appear healthy, only to become sick later.
The health and well-being of all animals in our care must take priority at all times, and we are doing everything we can to contain the threat of a full-on outbreak in our dog kennels. Our Veterinarians 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.
As such, the Management Committee in consultation with our Veterinarians and kennel personnel, have taken a decision quarantine the branch’s kennels for at least four weeks to stop a full-on outbreak.
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.
Sadly, given the seriousness of the virus, the potential for suffering and the high infection possibility, the humane euthanasia of certain dogs cannot be ruled out.
Quarantine procedures mean that our normal services will 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. This will result in suffering and heartbreak, and the potential spread of the virus outside of the branch. Access to the branch’s facilities will be restricted and boarding services will be suspended. Our animal hospital’s public services will be limited to give the Veterinarians extra capacity to direct their time and effort to the animals in our care.
Notwithstanding the quarantine, we will ensure that there will be someone available at all times to accept stray and unwanted animals (under strict isolation protocol) at the branch and our Inspectorate will operate as normal. Cat and other animal adoptions will be managed by appointment.
Our Centurion branch is not affected in the same way at the moment, but we continue to monitor the situation there and will implement similar measures if necessary.
The quarantine at the Waltloo branch is effective immediately.
We urge all dog owners to vaccinate their dogs against Distemper. The first signs of Distemper include sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite are also common symptoms of the virus.
Please be assured of our best efforts at all times ensuring the health and well-being of all the animals in our care.