The Belize Humane Society is concerned about two diseases that are targeting the canine population of Belize. Those are the Transmissible Venereal Tumour (TVT) and Canine Distemper. TVT is one of only three known transmissible cancers and its target is the canine population. It is a sexually transmitted disease which causes a tumor to grow on the external sexual organs of dogs. The recommended treatment for TVT is chemotherapy. Since treatment is expensive, the Belize Humane Society recommends that the focus be on prevention. The Humane Society advises the public to take advantage of its “Project Snip” which subsidises fifty percent of the cost to spay and neuter dogs and cats.

Project Snip was launched by the Humane Society in an effort to limit the impact of unwanted breeding on the population of dogs and cats in the streets of Belize City and to try cut the population of unwanted dogs and cats by half. It is also effective in preventing the spread of TVT since male dogs are less sexually motivated after the procedure. Individuals interested in taking advantage of the subsidised spay and neuter program can call the Animal Medical Centre (AMC), located at the corner of Castle & Lancaster Streets (off Victoria Street), at telephone number 223-3781. Residents on the Southside of Belize City can call the Lake View Animal Clinic (LVAC) which is located on Lakeview Street (between Vernon Street and Cemetery Road) at 605-5822.

Dog lovers can also speak to their veterinarians about vaccination against Canine Distemper. Gordon Kirkwood, volunteer at the Belize Humane Society, told The Guardian that he was informed by a vet that there appears to be an outbreak of Distemper in Belize. Canine Distemper is a contagious, incurable, viral disease that causes death. It is an airborne disease and highly concentrated in bodily secretions and excretions. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, eye inflammation, discharge from the eye, diarrhoea, laboured breathing, runny nose and vomiting. In addition to these symptoms, dogs almost always develop inflammation of the brain (and spinal cord) and show additional signs such as muscle twitching or spasms, muscle in-coordination, progressive deterioration of mental abilities and motor skills and seizures. There is no cure for Distemper and it is recommended that infected dogs be euthanized as early as possible. Annual vaccination is the only way to prevent distemper.

The Guardian