Eight cases of canine plague have been reported to the Veterinary and Food Board (Veterinaar- ja toiduamet/ VTA) in dogs and foxes since the end of last year, the authority said on Monday.
Cases have been registered in Harju County, Tartu County and Rapla County. "As in previous years, dog plague has not been detected in Estonia, the spread of the plague is causing concern," said Hele-Mai Sammel, head of the Animal Health and Welfare Department of the VTA.
Dog plague is a highly contagious viral disease that affects puppies first and foremost, Sammel explained. In total, the VTA was notified of cases of canine plague in three dogs in December. In January this year, two foxes were diagnosed, in February one fox, and in March a dog and a fox.
As the plague has not spread to Estonia before it is important people vaccinate their dogs against the virus. This is the only known way to protect your pet from the disease and to prevent it from spreading, the VTA said. In addition to vaccination, contact between pets and wild animals should be avoided.
The VTA says If you notice sick or strange wild animals, inform your veterinarian or your local hunting organization or send them to the Environmental Inspectorate's hotline 1313.
It is not advisable to take the sick wild animal home or for treatment as this will encourage the spread of the infection.
People are not at risk from the disease.
Canine plague is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever, inflammation of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, inflammation of the eyes, pneumonia, skin rash and nerve symptoms. Many dogs, flies and raccoons are infected with the virus.
Puppies and young animals are particularly susceptible to the disease, and adults are less likely to become ill.
Editor: Helen Wright