Dubai: Dog owners advised testing their pets’ immunity against highly fatal virus

Dog owners in Dubai are advising others to test their pet dogs' immunity against the distemper virus, which has left some pets battling for their lives.

Dog owners in Dubai are advising others to test their pet dogs’ immunity against the distemper virus, which has left some pets battling for their lives.

The virus is a highly contagious disease spread via air exposure and direct contact. It is an incurable disease and affects a dog’s gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems. The disease cannot be transferred to humans.

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A vast number of distemper cases were found in the Dubai Hills area around two weeks ago. Some canines died, and others were in severe conditions.

A vaccine is made that prevents the distemper, but experts have said that immunity reduces over time, and a yearly booster shot is required.

Amy le Roux, a resident of Dubai, said that her dog contracted the disease and spent four days in the intensive care unit. Although he was discharged a few days ago, he is now being fed through a tube.

Poor immunity is caused due to incomplete or inappropriate vaccination courses and puppies being vaccinated before age.

The disease is usually deadly, with a mortality rate of 50% in adult dogs and 80% in puppies.

Amy le Roux further said that her dog Paddington is vaccinated but still got infected with distemper.

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She said she had taken Paddington to the vet as he was not playing or consuming his food. He also had a high fever and was tested for the fatal virus, which came to be positive.

“He had no previous health problems to this whatsoever,” Ms le Roux said. “He is a rescue dog, so he has not got any history of illegal breeding, he was born stray. But he still got infected with the virus on May 8.

She said she has expended over Dh14,000 ($3,810) so far and was told by the vet that it could take many months for recovery, with extensive care required.

Tariq Saeed

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