Viral infection kills stray dogs on Ubin

Pet owners advised against taking dogs there, urged to vaccinate them
Lim Yi Han Straits Times 18 Aug 12;

DO NOT take your dog to Pulau Ubin.

The advice comes from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) which said yesterday that several dogs were recently found dead on that island.

A post-mortem on one dog indicated it was afflicted with canine distemper virus (CDV), a contagious viral infection that affects the lungs, gut and nervous system.

Infection comes from contact with droplets, urine or faeces and objects contaminated with the discharge of an infected animal.

CDV is not known to affect humans.

AVA said it has not received information to indicate there are CDV cases on the mainland for now.

It is working with animal welfare groups - Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Animal Lovers League - and relevant agencies to tackle the issue in Pulau Ubin.

This includes working with the Residents' Committee to advise residents on taking precautionary moves such as keeping their dogs apart from other dogs.

Other animal welfare groups are also wary of the situation. Mr Ricky Yeo, president of Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), said: "We have to be more cautious when people call in these few weeks about stray dogs in Ubin."

He added that the likelihood of CDV spreading to dogs on the mainland is low "but there's still a possibility".

He added that ASD quarantines stray dogs and monitors them before letting them come into contact with other dogs.

In the early stage of infection, symptoms include eye and nose discharge, coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Later, the dog may be prone to fits and disorientation and their footpads become thicker.

AVA is advising owners to vaccinate their pets after they have reached six weeks old, and to keep the vaccinations up-to-date.

It also requires all puppies sold in pet shops and dog farms to be vaccinated against CDV.

Unvaccinated dogs, and those with a weaker immune system such as puppies as well as old and weak dogs, are at a higher risk of being struck by CDV, which can be fatal.

Owners should clean and disinfect the area the dog lives in and the objects it comes into contact with daily.

Infected dogs need veterinary and nursing care that may include the use of antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infection.

Those with feedback and queries can contact the AVA on 1800-476-1600.

Canine virus threat on Pulau Ubin
Today Online 18 Aug 12;

SINGAPORE - Dog owners are advised not to take their pets to Pulau Ubin.

This comes as the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) confirmed yesterday that the recent deaths of several dogs there were due to the canine distemper virus (CDV).

A post-mortem on a dog's carcass found that it had been infected with CDV, a contagious viral infection that is fatal in most unvaccinated dogs. It is not known to affect humans.

The virus affects the lungs, gut and nervous system. Unvaccinated dogs - as well as those with weaker immune systems, such as puppies and old dogs - are at a higher risk of infection. It is spread through urine or faeces of an infected animal or from contact with droplets when an infected dog coughs.

Early-stage symptoms include eye and nose discharge, coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea. In the later stages, the dog may display signs such as disorientation and fits, and its footpads become thickened.

Infected dogs need supportive veterinary and nursing care.

The AVA said it is working with residents' committees to advise pet-owners on preventive care for their dogs, such as avoiding contact with other animals, vaccination and seeking veterinary attention immediately if their pet is unwell.

Residents there are also advised to alert the AVA if they come across stray dogs showing symptoms of CDV.