A number of infected dogs at the Alberton SPCA are to be euthanised after the centre was placed under quarantine after a distemper outbreak, the National Council of SPCAs said on Thursday.
"As the situation is dire we have had no option but to arrange for the humane euthanasia of the infected dogs as the society is unable financially to treat the dogs nor are they able to keep the infected dogs isolated," the National Council of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said in a statement.
It was currently working with the in-house veterinarian to bring the outbreak under control and to avoid infecting more dogs.
Distemper is a virus diease of dogs. It is fully preventable by vaccinations. It is easily transmitted between dogs, from a sick dog (highly contagious). Dogs that contract the virus may have vomiting and diarrhoea, coughing, nasal discharge, and ultimately tremors and brain disorders (or any combination of these symptoms).
Once the brain is involved, the infection is invariably fatal. Other problems can also be caused, such as permanent damage to the teeth, if they managed to survive. It is almost always fatal.
There is no cure for distemper and only the symptoms can be treated. Ensure your dogs, especially puppies, are vaccinated against the disease and that their boosters are up to date.
Image: puppy with distemper, from http://www.kingmanveterinarian.com/
Read: Our Vet Expert answers questions on distemper
Dogs that had valid vaccination certificates would not be euthanised, but would be monitored. A national senior inspector would ensure this happened, the council said, unless they showed symptoms of the highly contagious disease.
The NSPCA said it intervened on Thursday after receiving complaints that the Alberton SPCA's management was unable to adequately isolate the dogs and prevent the spread of the disease.
"Some members of the management committee of the Alberton SPCA, including the chairlady, have failed to act responsibly in this regard and continued to accept dogs into the SPCA's care.
Read: Questions and answers about the symptoms of distemper
"Some members... have resigned and stated that funding will be withdrawn from the Society," it said.
The council described the resignations and withdrawal of funds as irresponsible at a time when leadership was needed to work through the crisis.
"Also withdrawing much-needed funding will only impact negatively on the animals."
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