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Saga Humane Society would like to alert the community of a Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) outbreak in San Mateo.  22 cases of distemper have already been seen at the Saga HS clinic. To prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease Saga HS will be doing a Mobile Clinic Tuesday August 6 to the affected neighborhood and will be vaccinating the area dogs. Vaccines will be at no charge to low income residents or $10 for those who can afford to pay. Saga HS seeks to raise $1000 to buy the vaccinations.  This will buy enough vaccinations for 100 animals.

To keep your dog safe make sure it is current on all vaccinations. Contain your dog within your yard and do not allow it to interact with unknown dogs. Puppies from three to six months old are particularly susceptible. CDV spreads through aerosol droplets and through contact with infected bodily fluids, including nasal and ocular secretions, feces, and urine, six to 22 days after exposure. It can also be spread by food and water contaminated with these fluids. The time between infection and disease is 14 to 18 days, although a fever can appear from three to six days after infection The virus is destroyed in the environment by routine cleaning with disinfectants, detergents, or drying. It does not survive in the environment for more than a few hours at room temperature (20–25°C), but can survive for a few weeks in shady environments.

Saga HS will keep the public updated on this situation.  If you suspect your dog has been exposed to CDV, seek veterinary medical care for your dog immediately.

Distemper in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments [1] From Pet WebMD

Distemper is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus similar to the one that causes measles in people. Worldwide, it is the leading cause of infectious disease deaths in dogs,  All unvaccinated dogs are at high risk of infection.

Infected animals shed canine distemper virus in all body secretions. Inhaling the virus is the primary source of exposure. The highest incidence of the disease occurs in unvaccinated puppies 6 to 12 weeks of age.

Half the dogs who become infected with canine distemper virus show mild signs of illness or no signs at all. The overall health of the dog has a lot to do with how ill he becomes. The disease is most severe in dogs who are poorly nourished and ill-kept.

The distemper virus tends to attack brain cells and cells that line the surfaces of the body, including the skin, the conjunctiva, the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, and the gastrointestinal tract. The disease takes a variety of forms. Secondary infections and complications are common, partly attributable to the immunosuppressive effects of the virus.

The first signs of distemper appear six to nine days after exposure, and in mild cases go unnoticed.

First stage is characterized by a fever spike of up to 103° to 105°F (39.4° to 40.5°C). A second fever spike is accompanied by loss of appetite, listlessness, and a watery discharge from the eyes and nose. These symptoms may be mistaken for a cold.

Within a few days, the eye and nasal discharge becomes thick, yellow, and sticky. The dog develops a pronounced dry cough. Pus blisters may appear on the abdomen. Vomiting and diarrhea are frequent and may cause severe dehydration.

During the next one to two weeks, very often the dog seems to be getting better but then relapses. This often coincides with the end of the course of antibiotics and the development of gastrointestinal and respiratory complications due to secondary bacterial invasion.

Second stage occurs two to three weeks after the onset of the disease. Many dogs develop signs of brain involvement (encephalitis), characterized by brief attacks of slobbering, head shaking, and chewing movements of the jaws (as if the dog were chewing gum). Epileptic-like seizures may occur, in which the dog runs in circles, falls over, and kicks all four feet wildly. After the convulsive episode the dog appears to be confused, shies away from his owner, wanders about aimlessly, and appears to be blind.

Treatment: Distemper must be treated by a veterinarian. Antibiotics are used to prevent secondary bacterial infections, even though they have no effect on the distemper virus. Supportive treatment includes intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, medications to prevent vomiting and diarrhea, and anticonvulsants and sedatives to control seizures.

The outcome depends on how quickly you seek professional help, the virulence of the distemper strain, the age of the dog, whether he has been vaccinated, and his ability to mount a rapid and effective immune response to the virus.

In some cases Euthanasia is the best when the dogs are suffering.

Prevention: Vaccination against canine distemper is almost 100 percent protective. All puppies should be vaccinated by 8 weeks of age. Brood bitches should be given a DHLPPv (distemper, hepatitis,Lepstoporosis,  Parvovirus and parainfluenza combination) booster shot two to four weeks before breeding.


Puppy with Distemper

Puppy with Distemper


There is no doubt that Si was probably a very cute puppy.  It’s easy to imagine a child playing with him and enjoying the wonderful bond that develops between puppies and children.  What is not so easy to imagine is how such a sweet potlicker grew up, having been cared for by someone and then ended up abandoned and shot in the street.

When residents of the San Mateo reported that there was an injured dog, possibly shot, in their neighbourhood, Hurricane Rina was threatening the coast of Ambergris Caye.  Evacuations were in progress and SAGA was making emergency plans in case the hurricane struck.  Despite all of that, SAGA workers and volunteers hurried into action to try to find the dog and bring him in for examination.

It is always very concerning to hear that someone may have been shooting a gun in a residential area where so many families live, so the SAGA team were hoping that the report was not true.  Unfortunately, residents confirmed that shots had been heard the night before and they located the injured dog quickly.

After muzzling the dog for their own safety, a SAGA volunteer and a SAGA staff member, wrapped him in a blanket and rushed him back to the clinic, where he was given urgent medical treatment by the SAGA veterinary surgeon.

Once the wounds were exposed, it was very clear that it was a gunshot wound and the bullet had entered and left the dogs body.  Lucky for this little dog, no vital organs had been damaged and SAGA was able to save his life.

Because the dog had been abandoned he has no name, so SAGA named him Si and he is currently in a foster home receiving the love and attention he needs to help recover both his health and his confidence.

SAGA deals with animal emergencies in San Pedro every day, helping to make the community safer for people and pets.  They depend on your donations and support to provide this very special ‘emergency service’.   Si is one of the lucky ones, because the caring people of San Mateo made sure they called SAGA.

If you have an animal emergency or have seen an animal that needs help, please call SAGA on 226 3266.