Animal Protection Society issues caution

The Animal Protection Society has appealed to dog owners in Samoa to take care of their pets as it faces a sudden increase in the puppy population and consequent rise in diseases. 

Veterinarian, Dr. Harriet Thornton, said even since the beginning of the new year the organisation has been dealing with unwanted dogs at their premises by owners who say they are not in a position to look after newborn.

She said all puppies that are brought in will be treated and given a new home by the Society.

"We ask people to come in and get their puppies vaccinated,” she said.

"The Society has also appealed to pet owners to vaccinate puppies of [six to eight weeks of age], as during the sudden increase in the puppy population, there is a resurgence of diseases like canine parvovirus which can spread in pups."

While three vaccines are ideal, she said a minimum of two will give them good protection on top of basic worm treatment.

Pet owners should also keep an eye out for “big pot bellied puppy”, which she said can look normal but is deadly as it is caused by worms and can be deadly for your dog.

Dr. Thornton has also recommended that puppies and their mothers are de-sexed. 

"We do this from when the puppies are roughly about [6-8 weeks of age] because if you don't each mother dog will come into season every six months,” she said.

Dogs in general do not have a specific season for mating, but there will be cases where one or two females are in heat in the same village, causing a large amount of fighting between the animals.

While females dogs are de-sexed for reasons of population control, male dogs often encounter adverse consequences. 

During Christmas last year, Dr. Thornton said she has seen a few cases of male dogs getting injured by cars while chasing female dogs onto the road:

"What we find that throughout the year, that it only takes one female in the village to be in heat, and it causes all these problems as the male dogs will chase after her.”

The Animal Protection Society is open from 9am to 3pm on Mondays to Fridays, and are located at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Compound at Vailima.

Update: This story has been amended to correct details regarding the optimal time for dogs to undergo de-sexing procedures and to clarify references to dogs' "mating season". 

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