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News: Task team working tirelessly to stop the spread of Canine Parvovirus at SAPS K9 Academy Roodeplaat
2020/07/05

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the National Commissioner

Pretoria: The Management of the South African Police Service is confident that the Veterinary Services has responded swiftly to the outbreak of the parvovirus at the SAPS K9 Academy Roodeplaat.

Around the 15th of June 2020 the SAPS Roodeplaat Veterinary Hospital, situated at the K9 Academy Roodeplaat noticed that puppies that were brought in for consultation were lethargic and clearly not well. 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.

The SAPS Veterinary Services alerted the Management of the K9 Academy Roodeplaat of the findings and immediately recommended that the quarantine measures as previously implemented during the 2019 parvovirus outbreak be enforced in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

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.

The Head of Veterinary Services at SAPS Roodeplaat Veterinary Hospital, Brigadier (Dr) Letshuti Phele is however optimistic that the current outbreak of parvovirus has 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 Brigadier (Dr) Letshuti Phele.

The Divisions, Human Resource Development (HRD) and Visible Policing, responsible for the Academy and Veterinary Services respectively are continuing to look for the long term sustainable solutions to the common occurrence of canine contagious diseases at the breeding units. In 2019, the parvovirus affected 120 puppies and eventually causing the death of 75 puppies. Currently a total loss of 45 puppies has been reported with 8 puppies that died suddenly and 37 prescribed humane euthanasia. Senior Management from the two Divisions continues to render an oversight function and monitoring of compliance at the Academy and are satisfied that the best possible measures, proactive and reactive have been put in place.

The K9 Academy Roodeplaat, which is also responsible for the training of dogs and dog handlers prioritises the maintenance of strict bio-security, standard hygiene protocols and limited access to the facility to ensure that members who interact with dogs do not unwittingly become carriers of deadly viruses on and off the premises.

A Task Team comprising of Veterinary Services, K9 Unit and K9 Academy personnel has been established to among other issues, review the breeding strategy and relevant directives on general welfare and operational procedures governing the breeding programme. Breeding remains the best strategy for the SAPS to acquire dogs and enhance the K9 Unit as a strategic policing imperative in the organisation.

Ends

Enquiries:
Colonel Brenda Muridili
‪071 686 9425

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