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Dear Editor,

Our kennels are full, overloaded due to people dumping dogs everywhere. We get calls everyday about dogs they want us to pick up, trap or save but we have absolutely no available space for another dog.

We are experiencing what we see as an outbreak of Leptospirosis due to the weather conditions causing rats to move into or around homes to stay warm and find food. The problem is that RATS are carriers of the Leptospira infectious disease.

Due to people having jobs, they just dump a bowl of dog food so the dogs or puppies can eat while they are away. When the food is not all consumed, it is left for the rats to move in and contaminate the food with the Leptospira bacteria causing a puppy, a whole litter of puppies or a dog to contract the infectious disease. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can spread from animals to people.

Pet owners and veterinary staff should be careful when caring for an infected dog. Precautions such as face masks, gloves, and regular hand-washing are recommended to avoid getting infected urine in the eyes, nose, or mouth, or on broken skin. Careful disposal of soiled bedding is recommended, as well as thorough disinfection (1 part Clorox to 10 parts water) of contaminated areas. Any person feeling unwell after exposure to an infected dog should seek medical attention.   

In addition to antibiotics, dogs with severe kidney or liver damage may require hospitalization for intravenous fluid treatment and other therapy. And we do not have room for hospitalization due to the amount of animals that are being dumped on the streets, parks, stadium, trash bins and even here at the clinic.

Parvovirus is also on the rise; is not zoonotic — but can also be fatal to puppies and sometimes adult dogs.

Coronavirus in dogs is also not zoonotic and we do not have that virus here in American Samoa so I do not know why people are dumping dogs the way that they are.  Dogs do NOT get COVID-19. It’s a whole different Coronavirus disease/ virus.

I suppose it is because we do not have a US CERTIFIED VETERINARIAN that we need desperately to help solve this problem by spaying and neutering again to control the pet population.

We are overwhelmed with animals at the Veterinary Clinic and hope that someone sees the IMPORTANCE of having a U.S. VETERINARIAN here to help solve this problem. It has been 1 year and 7 months since Dr Kristen Jensen left American Samoa. So the population of unwanted puppies and unfixed female dogs are the animals that you see dumped or roaming the streets now. We have no controlled drugs to euthanize the suffering animals that only a U.S. Certified Veterinarian with a DEA LICENSE can order and purchase.

A series of vaccinations are the only way to protect your puppies and dogs from Leptospirosis and Parvovirus. A series of 4 vaccines, 3 weeks apart staring at 6 weeks old.  Vaccinations are available at the Veterinary Clinic in Tafuna.  Please call if you have questions: 699-9445.

We have a problem!

Tanya Tarasawa