Mmegi Online :: Canine Distemper disease hits Chobe
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Last Updated
Friday 16 November 2018, 11:44 am.
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Canine Distemper disease hits Chobe

An animal disease called Canine Distemper has attacked dogs in the Chobe District. A virus called the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) causes this disease.
By Staff Writer Sat 17 Nov 2018, 13:52 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Canine Distemper disease hits Chobe








Chobe District’s principal veterinary officer Obakeng Kemolatlhe told Mmegi yesterday that the disease has been around Botswana for generations.  He said that some of the infected dogs recover and become carriers of the virus and infect other dogs. 

He said that usually the first signs of the disease to be observed are anorexia, runny nose and discharge from the eyes, but they are unique to CDV.  He added that about 10 days after the initial signs gastrointestinal and respiratory signs tend to set in followed by the thickening of footpads. He said that gastrointestinal and respiratory signs commonly observed are runny nose, vomiting and diarrhoea, dehydration, excessive salivation, coughing and laboured breathing, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Neurological signs commonly observed are localised involuntary twitching of muscles or groups of muscles, seizures often distinguished by salivation and jaw movements.  Other signs include incoordination, circling, and increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as pain or touch. He warned that if the neurological signs develop, urination and defecation might become involuntary.

Kemolatlhe has warned that dogs with fully blown Distemper usually die within 10 days and the few that survive have a ‘muscular tic’ or ‘twitch’.  He warned that other diseases with similar signs include Canine Distemper, Herpes Virus, Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis. 

It has been said that CDV is a cat family and dog family virus that affect other animals such as African wild dogs and lions. According to Kemolatlhe, this disease does not affect human beings and is therefore not a threat to public health. 

He has said that there is no cure for Canine Distemper just like other viral diseases. He said that the disease is better prevented through vaccination. 

“Treating the disease is very expensive

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and hence is not a viable option in the case of stray dogs and to some extent even to dogs with owners.  There is a good number of vaccines against Canine Distemper for dogs,” he said. 

Kemolatlhe has said that all possible methods of dog destruction were tabled to the team that took part in the exercise of controlling the disease.  “Since the dogs that are destroyed are stray dogs, the most reasonable way is shooting as other methods of destruction such as poisoning pose a threat of destroying untargeted group of animals.  Handling stray dogs is a threat to public health as their vaccination status is unknown so shooting the dogs minimises exposure of people to diseases such as rabies,” he said. 

Kemolatlhe said that the disease is present in other parts of the country but there is an increased incidence of the disease in Kasane.  “May be there are some predisposing factors that are not known currently that led to the increased incidence of the disease.  One of the possible explanations is that there is a high number of stray dogs in Kasane that are not vaccinated for CDV and other diseases,” he said. 

Kemolatlhe reports that the situation is under control as veterinary services department intervened early enough. He stated that the situation would remain under control provided dog owners continue vaccinating their dogs and making sure that their fencing is dog proof so that dogs do not escape and roam the streets. “If people want to keep dogs they should know that they are also responsible for the dog’s well-being.  Vaccinating your dog for both official vaccines like rabies and private vaccinations like Distemper is mandatory,” he said.

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