Disease: Phuentsholing’s veterinary officials are suspecting canine distemper outbreak in the border town. Although it does not pose much threat to the general public, pet owners are advised to correspond with officials.

Veterinary officials said that four cases of canine distemper were reported yesterday. So far, 13 cases have been reported to the hospital.

A couple brought to hospital a sick stray dog in the town yesterday evening. The animal showed symptoms such as nervousness, respiratory problem, and discharge from the eyes.

After evaluating a rapid kit test on the animal, Veterinary Dr Basant Sharma of Regional Livestock Development Centre (RLDC) in Tshimasham said rabies was ruled out suspecting distemper.

“However, we cannot exactly say whether the animal is infected with canine distemper or rabies,” Dr Basant Sharma said, explaining that the hospital does not have facility to diagnose the correct disease.

Dr Basant Sharma said brain samples have to be sent to the National Centre for Animal Health (NCAH) at Serbithang in Thimphu for verification and authentication in order to find out whether the animal is suffering from distemper.

The officials also said the best way to prevent such case is to vaccinate the animal in case of pet animals. Owners of infected pets have been advised briefed on health matters.

Assistant district livestock officer, DK Gurung, said the outbreak started this month.

A distemper-infected canine has to be given supportive therapy in antibiotics, dextrose, and glucose.

City hospital has reported one case of rabies from Samtse between 2015 and 2016.

“Number of cases have decreased compared to the previous years,” Dr Basant Sharma said.

About six rabid cases were reported between 2014 and 2015. The highest (20 cases) was between 2012 and 2013 in the western region.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing