The Foreign Residents in the TRNC – TFR 

Four deadly dangers for your dog

by Ralph Kratzer

Yesterday I was paying my water bill at the Alsancak Belediyesi (Municipality) when I saw information that the annual Echinococcus campaign, instigated by the Municipality in     co-operation with the State Veterinary Office, has started again.

What is Echinococcus?

It is an intestinal parasite. The definitive hosts are carnivorous predators such as dogs and foxes. The adult tapeworm lives in their small intestine and delivers eggs that are excreted Echinococcuswith the stool. The intermediate hosts are infected by ingesting eggs. Sheep, goat, cattle, pig, wild herbivores and rodents are the usual intermediate hosts, but humans can also be infected. In humans, this causes a disease called echinococcosis.

More detailed information under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinococcus.

What can the dog owner do?

Regular de-worming of the dog. Most veterinarians recommend to do it every 3 months. There are tablets available at the veterinary surgeries and in most of the pharmacies. The dose depends on the weight of the dog. I personally prefer de-worming vaccination for my dog because even when I had hidden the pills in sausage the dog found them and spat them on the floor again.

Of course you can also accept the offer of the Municipality and get your dog vaccinated there. The State Veterinary Clinic in Girne does it as well. The only problem is that once a year, that´s what they offer, is not often enough. But you will get an official Vaccination Certificate there which you will again need when you register your dog at the Municipality.

Registration of dogs? Yes, you have to do this in North Cyprus! And you then have to pay a yearly tax for your dog which is ridiculously little, I remember something about 12TL a year.

The second lethal disease your dog can get over here is even more dangerous and called Leishmaniasis.

It is a disease caused by protozoan parasites. Most forms of the disease are transmissible only from animals, but some can be spread between humans. They are transmitted from sand flies, a widespread pest on our island.

Please ask your vet about the various symptoms. Dogs infected have to be put to sleep in most cases. The disease is notifiable.

More detailed information under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis

What can the dog owner do?

Some of the flea collars or spot-on-preparations against fleas and ticks also protect against sand fly bites. Please ask your vet what is the right product for your dog.

The next point in my explanations is the unfortunately still widespread bad habit of poisoning.

poison

Especially shepherds don´t like dogs running around and bothering their herds. But there are a lot of other people trying to poison dogs or cats for various reasons.

Poison is freely available in North Cyprus and is normally used as pesticides against insects or mice and rats. Most of these products attack the nervous system of your pet and untreated lead to certain death.

The normal symptoms of poisoning are: The animal starts to shiver, firstly in the neck and back. The salivation increases, the dog starts to salivate from its mouth. The pupils are dilated. Disturbances of the equilibrium occur.  Depending on the dosage and the kind of poison, these symptoms may occur very quickly after taking the bait.

What can the dog owner do?

Preventive:

Don´t let your dog roam about. When you go for a walk with him/her avoid areas where goats or sheep are herded.

Do not let your dog out of sight while walking. If he/she has the habit to run away keep him/her on the lead or let him/her wear a muzzle.

When the dog is poisoned:

My dog has been poisoned three times in her younger days and now I always have an emergency kit with me. It contains salt tablets to help the dog vomit the bait out. But much more important, disposable syringes for intramuscular injections and Atropin, the antidote.  Please note: Atropin is a poison as well, please ask your veterinarian how to use it!!!!!!!!!

More about Atropin click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atropine

I saved my dog´s life with Atropin three times, but be careful! An overdose can kill the dog as well as the poison he took before with the bait!

In all events, after giving the animal first aid, you have to visit the nearest veterinary clinic available for further medical treatment very quickly. Depending on the heaviness of the poisoning the dog needs to be monitored by the vet for one or more days.

Now I come to the last point in my article about deadly dangers for your pet.

It is the danger of a snake bite. 

In North Cyprus there are numerous species of snakes, venomous and non venomous. The KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAmost dangerous snake on the island both for animals and human beings is the so called Blunt-nosed viper or Levant viper.

This snake is not rare in North Cyprus, I see some of them every year, even in my garden.  A second dog I had previously was bitten by one of them a few years ago, fortunately he reacted fast and jumped aside when the snake was attacking him. So he was only grazed on the muzzle but even this was enough to create a day-long swelling.

A real bite from this viper, if left untreated, leads to the certain death of your pet.

Early symptoms of a bite: The affected part of the body, normally muzzle or paw, will heavily swell, the dog appears depressed.

To learn more about the Levant viper click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrovipera_lebetina

What can the dog owner do?

Preventive:

Again: Don´t let your dog roam about, don´t let him/her out of sight while walking! Avoid areas from late March to end of November where you cannot see the ground you are walking on (e.g. high grass, bushland, dry river beds etc.).

I always have a long stick with me during my walks, because especially now when the snakes awake from their hibernation they lay in the sun and try to warm their body, but they are too stiff to sneak away when you are coming close to them. So I give them a little nudge with the stick and they move away.

When the dog is bitten:

There is definitely not a lot of first aid you can do. In my emergency kit is a bottle with Hydrocortisone powder which has to be dissolved with sterile water (also in the kit) and injected into the muscle.

 But this is just shock treatment (it also works well after a car accident, fall or fight with another dog).

You immediately have to find the next available veterinary surgery!!!!! The dog needs an antidote as fast as possible!!!!!

Some additional advice:  always take your mobile phone with you while walking the dog. Save the numbers of several vets in your phone, so in case of an emergency you are able to reach at least one of them.