Island pets at risk after two deadly viruses detected

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Recently, islanders have reported the discovery of dead dogs around San Pedro Town. Many people suspected that the dogs had been poisoned. However, the local Saga Humane Society staff believes that the cause is a pair of deadly viruses; Canine parvovirus (Parvo) and Distemper. To prevent your puppy/adult dog from being infected, pet owners are encouraged to get them vaccinated as early as possible. Pet owners can visit SAGA or call them at 226-3266 to schedule an appointment.

Once infected with Parvo, the disease calls for advanced medical treatment. A simple pill prescription cannot cure Canine parvovirus, and untreated cases carry a mortality rate of 91%. Parvo is considered very contagious, endangering the lives of other pets. It can be transmitted by any person, animal, or object that contacts an infected dog’s feces. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in urban areas with many strays. Puppies less than four months and unvaccinated dogs are the most at risk.

Parvo attacks the gastrointestinal system and the immune system of the puppy. The infection leads to severe dehydration and secondary infections by bacteria. Objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpets, and floors can carry the disease. Some of the early signs of Parvo in pets include lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite, and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea. A puppy or dog sick with the disease has the best chance to survive if they receive early treatment. Delaying treatment by even two or three days very much reduces the chances of survival.

Canine Distemper virus is another aggressive disease that attacks puppies and dogs’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. The ill pet can be seen with discharges from the eyes and the nasal cavity. Other symptoms include fever, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, vomiting, seizures, and partial or complete paralysis. It is an airborne disease, and infected pregnant dogs can pass the virus to puppies.


Proper vaccination is the most important and effective method of protection owners can take. Avoid gaps in immunization schedule and contact with infected animals, including raccoons. Pet owners are also advised to use caution when socializing their dogs with suspected unvaccinated animals.

In addition, persons bringing pets from outside the island are urged to have them tested and adequately vaccinated. This is the best way to prevent dangerous canine diseases from spreading and threatening the safety of island pets.


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