Updated: August 18, 2021 at 07:58 AM
Government and veterinarians join forces to deliver low-cost canine parvovirus vaccines (file photo)
A huge increase in cases of the deadly virus in dogs has led to the organization of special vaccination clinics.
The move came after cases of canine parvovirus, a gastrointestinal disease that can kill, more than tripled in the past month.
As reported earlier this month by The Royal Gazette, vets said they saw around 60 cases of sick dogs and puppies against 17 infections recorded in July.
Home Secretary Walter Roban said: “The aim of the clinics is to vaccinate all unvaccinated dogs to stop the spread of the virus and end this epidemic.
“To achieve this, we encourage all owners of unvaccinated dogs – whether legal, illegal, licensed or not – to take advantage of this opportunity.”
More than 90 percent of affected dogs are unvaccinated pit bulls and pit bull crosses, although all breeds are vulnerable.
The affected animals are mostly young, unvaccinated puppies and adolescent dogs, but adult animals have also become ill.
The ministry and the Bermuda Veterinary Association will be holding the first clinic at Bull’s Head parking lot in Hamilton on Sunday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The BVA will also be running clinics in the east and west ends with times and locations to be announced.
Mr Roban said some dog owners may be reluctant to seek help because their dogs were not allowed.
He underlined: “The animal keepers will not be present in the clinics and we will not question you about the legality of your animals. “
Last month, vets warned of a potential outbreak of canine parvovirus, a gastrointestinal illness that can be fatal within days, after around 17 puppies and dogs were reported ill.
Dogs taken to the clinic will be assessed for suitability for injections, which will cost $ 25.
A follow-up clinic for booster injections will be held at the same site on September 19.
Owners of dogs who are pregnant or suffering from vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy should not take them to the clinic, but rather go to a veterinarian.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said no vaccine was 100% effective, but it was the safest and most effective way to protect dogs against parvovirus.
She added, “These vaccination clinics are made possible by the efforts of many veterinarians and veterinary assistants from each veterinary practice, and countless people from the SPCA and the various dog clubs on the island.
“Everyone will volunteer their time and energy to create these opportunities.
“The Interior Ministry sends a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved.
• For more information contact Animal Control at 239-2327 or email [email protected]