Dogs' death caused by airborne virus in Philippine towns

KIDAPAWAN CITY - The City Veterinary Office (CVO) came under fire from some residents here for the deaths of their pet dogs following the conduct of a massive anti-rabies vaccination for the past days.

Dr. Eugene Gornez, the city veterinarian, confirmed that at least 12 dogs had recently died in the villages of Kalaisan, Sudapin, Balindog, Ginatilan and Ilomavis.

However, he said that contrary to suspicions by pet owners, the deaths of the dogs were not brought about by the massive administration of anti-rabies vaccines in September but by an airborne virus.

He said hundreds of dogs also showed signs of being struck by the virus, called paramyxoviridae, during an assessment conducted by the CVO in 40 villages here.

Although the place where the virus first struck here was not certain, Gornez said its being airborne was the main reason why it spread to other villages and affected so many dogs.

"Since it was caused by virus there is really a possibility that it will extend to other areas," Gornez said.

He said pet owners could easily determine if their dogs were affected by the virus because the animals would suffer chilling and dry cough, aside from the accumulation of gummy secretion around the eyes.

Dogs affected by the virus have little chances of surviving the disease, Gornez added.

"We cannot cure the ailment. We don't have specific vaccines that will combat the virus," Gornez said.

"If they recovered, physical side effects are visible such as weakness," he said.

Gornez said what pet owners can do is to have their dogs administered with the 5-in-1 anti-parvovirus vaccine to improve their immune system, which costs P300 per dosage.

"We cannot administer it for free," he said, adding that each dog needed to receive five doses.

"But again I would like to clarify that the 5-in-1 vaccine could not guarantee the dog's safety (from the illness). It will again depend on how strong the immune system is," Gornez said.