UAE vets warn dog owners to be aware of deadly canine disease outbreak

Veterinary surgeons in the United Arab Emirates are urging dog owners to vaccinate their pets and not socialize with other animals after reported outbreaks of the deadly canine distemper disease.

In Dubai, many pet owners say their dogs have been diagnosed with distemper, a highly infectious and often fatal viral disease.

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Some of the dogs have died, leaving the owners heartbroken.

Albert Alcopora, a veterinary nurse at the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai, said vets at his clinic were aware of distemper cases and warned that a new strain could be in the UAE as dogs vaccinated against the disease were being 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 animals at this time.

“The strange thing is that it could be a new strain,” he told Al Arabiya English. “Even vaccinated dogs are being infected.

“The best prevention to avoid the 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 like discharge from the eye or nose, go straight to the vet.

“However, advise them that their dog may have distemper so they can isolate their pet and not 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 his life after contracting the disease.

“I want everyone to know that there has been an outbreak of distemper in the Dubai Hills; To our knowledge, two dogs have died and one is struggling to get better, but there may be more cases that we are not aware of,” she said. “Veterinarians have also confirmed that there has been a sudden increase in cases within 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 vigilant about who your dog socializes with. If they show any of the symptoms, take them to the vet right away.”

Symptoms include watery or pus-filled eye discharge, 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 people to be aware,” the Dubai resident said. “I didn’t know about this virus and if I hadn’t been aware of a previous puppy that died in my area, I wouldn’t have known to ask the vet to check him out when he first started showing 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 hug your babies tighter and watch them closely. I hope no one else has to experience our fear and pain.”

A staff member at the DKC Veterinary Clinic in Dubai’s Motor City said he was aware of the cases in Dubai Hills and Damac Hills and advised dog owners to have their pets’ antibody levels checked to see if they have enough antibodies. against the disease.

“We advise booster shots and it’s best not to socialize pets in areas where it can be prevalent, like dog parks.”

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