Virus outbreak claims 45 puppies at police K9 academy

05 July 2020 - 13:05 By TimesLIVE
The K9 Academy is responsible for the training of dogs and their handlers as well as a breeding programme. Stock photo.
The K9 Academy is responsible for the training of dogs and their handlers as well as a breeding programme. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf.com/Denis Goppen

Forty-five puppies have died due to a parvovirus outbreak at the SAPS K9 Academy for dog training and breeding in Gauteng.

Police said in a statement on Sunday that veterinary services had responded swiftly to the outbreak at the facility in Roodeplaat.

Staff at the academy’s veterinary hospital noticed that puppies brought in for consultation were lethargic and unwell.

“It became a concern when the treatment that was being administered to the puppies appeared to be ineffective. This prompted the management of the hospital to have samples tested at an independent laboratory, which samples subsequently tested positive for canine parvovirus,” said police spokesperson Col Brenda Muridili.

The facility was hit by a parvovirus outbreak in 2019 that affected 120 puppies and eventually led to the death of 75.

“Even though the veterinary services had ensured primary vaccination of puppies aged 6, 8 and 12 weeks respectively, parvovirus has unfortunately hit the academy again in less than a year,” said Muridili.

The head of veterinary services at SAPS Roodeplaat veterinary hospital, Brig (Dr) Letshuti Phele, was optimistic that the latest outbreak had been contained.

"Even though parvovirus has no specific treatment, our primary focus is to maintain sick puppies on  supportive treatment, general nursing care and strict isolation to boost the immune system and minimise the rapid spread of the parvovirus, this while an internal investigation is being conducted to determine the source of the outbreak," said Phele.

Eight of the 45 puppies died suddenly and 37 were euthanised.

A task team has been established to review the breeding strategy and directives on general welfare and operational procedures governing the breeding programme.


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