After nearly 1,000 dogs in the country were killed by a disease outbreak, government officials have partnered with the Veterinary Medical Association of The Bahamas to provide free vaccination against the distemper virus.
Members of the public are urged to ensure that dogs not vaccinated in the past month to get a full medical check-up and vaccination.
“Ensure that if you have a dog to have it vaccinated even though it may not show any signs of the disease,” said the Minister of Agriculture. “It is important that you take it to either a public or private vet to be sure it gets the vaccination it requires.”
“During this period of this disease and its rampant spread, I would like to invite dog owners or those wishing to buy, to please ensure that it is vaccinated; it is seen by a vet before you buy it and if you have to take it out of New Providence and it will only happen if it has a certificate form a vet and is certified by the public vet to be an authentic case for export. Otherwise we are asking that no animals be moved from or to New Providence.”
Canine distemper is a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure.
It was announced that $20,000 has been earmarked for the vaccination of about 500 dogs.
So far 800 dogs have already died.
Canine distemper can be found in also raccoons and sea lions and is transmitted through aerosolised respiratory secretions and can be found in the faeces and urine in infected dogs.
The disease is easily killed in the environment once proper sanitary steps have been taking.
“Always wash your hands, disinfect your shoes by using foot baths into and out of animal care facilities,” said veterinarian Dr. Bridgette Johnson. “You will need to keep your animals confined to your home for the time being. We would like to discourage pet owners from taking their dogs out for walks as well as congregation of dogs in play groups and boarding facilities at this time.”
Pet owners are asked to vaccinate their dogs at least once a year.
Currently The Bahamas Humane Society is running an initiative which helps those that cannot afford to do vaccinations.
On Wednesday vaccinations were given out for free at the Thelma Gibson Primary school from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Vaccinations will take place again on Tuesday in the Carmichael road area and also on Friday in Exuma. Healthy dogs are only needed to vaccinated and those who have already contacted the disease need to be seen as soon as possible.