Phuket News: Soi Dog uses “firebreaks’ to stem distemper outbreak

PHUKET: Phuket animal welfare charity Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) has resorted to establishing vaccination centers at strategic locations to stop canine distemper from spreading across the island.

“Mobile teams, supported by volunteers continue to work around the clock and the situation is being closely monitored to deal with additional outbreaks quickly,” said SDF Director John Dalley.

“Areas where distemper cases have been confirmed are being monitored regularly and fortunately no new cases have been reported at these locations,” he added.

However, Mr Dalley admitted that although the strategy reduced the risk of future outbreaks, the vaccinations do not help dogs that have already contracted the disease.

“It can take up to two weeks for symptoms to become obvious, so, even though dogs have been vaccinated we cannot be sure they had not already contracted the disease prior to vaccination. What we are doing is reducing the risks,” he said.

Mr Dalley said the number of reports of new cases is falling, but warned this would quickly change for the worse if the expanded vaccination program were not continued.

“We will vaccinate every dog that comes to the shelter or a mobile clinic, whether for treatment or sterilizing. The expanded program will amount to between 5,000 and 6,000 dogs per year.

“This is the same procedure we have followed with rabies vaccines for the past seven years and should in time see the eradication of distemper,” he said.

Mr Dalley urged people to join the fight against distemper by making donations to SDF, as continuing the mass vaccinations at the current rate for the coming year will cost an extra 600,000 baht.

“A monthly donation of US$10, or 33 cents per day, will vaccinate three dogs each month, helping to stop the spread of distemper and saving countless more lives. Please consider helping today,” he said.

For more details about the SDF or to make a donation Email or visit the Soi Dog Foundation website.

Phuket News

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