Chimi Dema | Dagana

Four among pet dogs and two stray dogs from Dagana town suffered from Canine Distemper and were brought to the dzongkhag veterinary hospital since the first case was reported on February 15.

The infection so far has killed three dogs according to hospital officials.

However, town residents claimed that the number of deaths could be higher since there were several infected stray dogs during the last two days.

Although it does not pose much threat to the health of the public, pet owners are advised to cooperate with veterinary officials.

“Residents also have to take precaution while handling the affected dogs as the disease is viral,” said Assistant Dzongkhag Livestock Officer, Pema Wangchuk.

While there is no guarantee for the dogs to recover from the disease, veterinary officials have been vaccinating and providing supportive treatment to the infected animals. A recovered dog could still spread the virus for two to three months.

He said the best way to prevent the disease is to vaccinate the animal.

“Given the high cost of the vaccination, Nu 600 for each dose, we cannot afford to vaccinate those dogs without owners,” Pema Wangchuk said.

“Owners buy the vaccines and we provide the services.”

Canine Distemper is a contagious viral disease that affects a dog’s gastrointestinal, respiratory, and the central nervous system, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eyes.

As the disease also impacts wildlife populations, officials suspect that the virus could have transmitted to the dogs from wild animals.