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Protecting African Painted Dogs from Disease

Image credit: Neil Aldridge/Wildscreen Exchange

If you heard vet Jane Hopper speaking at the ELearning.vet VirtualVeterinary Conference this week, you’ll know that she is looking into how vaccinating wild painted dogs might hold the key to their survival.

Previously WVI has supported the vaccination and neutering of domestic dogs living in close proximity to painted dogs. However, although stopping the transmission of diseases like distemper and rabies from domestic dogs is very important, it’s becoming clear that it’s not enough. Recent studies have confirmed that distemper is present in many of the mesocarnivores – like meerkats, mongooses and jackals - that share their habitat with painted dogs. That means targeted vaccination of wild painted dogs might be the most effective way of protecting them.

Jane is working on a project with painted dog expert Rosie Woodroffe of ZSL, looking at the efficacy of distemper vaccine in captive painted dogs. The ultimate aim is to determine whether a single dose of distemper vaccine – the same live modified strain used for domestic dogs – can give painted dogs safe and effective protection from the disease. As Head of Veterinary Services for the Aspinall Foundation, Jane currently has a litter of nine painted dog pups in her care and will be giving them their first distemper vaccination next month. Sign up to our newsletter to follow the progress of her research: http://bit.ly/2NC5VvW