CAPE TOWN, South Africa – A highly contagious virus that affects dogs has been putting an animal clinic in South Africa under strain after its main donor cut funding.
The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha township in eastern Cape Town provides dogs with treatment for Canine Parvovirus, a disease that causes diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and is spreads via the feces of infected animals.
“We’ve had an unprecedentedly large amount of cases, probably more than I’ve ever seen in the 10 years I’ve been at the clinic,” doctor Brian Bergman said, adding that cases tend to spike at this time of year owing to warm temperatures and wet weather, “the perfect condition for the virus.”
And the vaccine used to treat Parvovirus may no longer be as effective as it was in the past, according to the doctor. “It also seems to be more virulent than it’s ever been before because a lot of the dogs had one or two vaccinations and they’re still coming down with it.”
While there is no cure for the illness, dogs that have had the injection are generally immune to it and “unlikely” to contract the disease, Bergman said.
According to the clinic’s communications manager, Marcelle du Plessis, cases of Parvovirus at the clinic have gone up from 14 per month to 45 cases in the past month.
With costs of about 1,289 South African Rand ($91) required to treat each dog on a daily basis and infected canines needing to spend at least five days in the clinic, the medical center was seeking help from members of the public and private donors.