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August 4, 2014

Outbreak: Stopping the Spread of Distemper

Humane Society International

  • Volunteers help Dr. Hansen as animals are lined up to be seen. Jim Crosby/Bahamas Humane Society

  • Dr. Kwakye checks for symptoms. Jim Crosby/Bahamas Humane Society

  • Dr. Keith Cox, volunteering for BHS, treats a puppy and educates puppy's young caretakers. Jim Crosby/Bahamas Humane Society

  • Dr. Hansen with a worried pet owner. Jim Crosby/Bahamas Humane Society

In late July, HSI suddenly received multiple emails from the Bahamas, including from the Bahamas Humane Society, about a massive outbreak of distemper and a desperate, urgent need for vaccines.

One message said: “The situation here is this: the current distemper outbreak seems to have surfaced around 29 May. Our earliest clear case seems to have been with some puppies that came in from one of the out islands several days before and progressively died (all five in the litter). As of this morning, we here at the Humane Society alone have seen 98 dogs die or have to be euthanized likely due to distemper. This includes shelter dogs (we lost all live puppies) and client dogs.

Your generosity allows us to act fast when needed to save animals' lives. Become a Street Dog Defender.

“The number of dogs being brought in [for veterinary attention] has exploded. We are giving supportive treatment to those owners who wish to try and save their dogs after educating them about the possibilities and likelihood of the disease progressing. We are aggressively vaccinating all animals that we can, and have had a flood of pet owners coming in to our clinic for vaccines.”

Our team leaped to respond, sending a staff member by plane (actually quicker and less expensive than shipping) to personally deliver 1,000 doses of vaccine. These will be offered free of charge to those in need, and administered to street dogs.

Our immense thanks goes to Patterson Distributors, which gave HSI a good deal on purchase. Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture decided to buy $20,000 worth of vaccines, but those will take a few weeks to arrive, so our donation will help fill the gap until then.

Distemper is airborne and highly contagious with a 50 percent fatality rate, so getting it under control as quickly as possible is vital. Please donate now to help street dogs.

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