THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After totally wiping out jackals from the city zoo, the canine distemper virus is turning fatal for hyenas too. Two hyenas infected with the virus died early on Wednesday. The canine distemper virus infection, a disease found in stray dogs, had claimed the lives of eight jackals in the city zoo, four of which were subjected to euthanasia.
Fourteen-year-old Rahul and its seven-year-old cub Kumar had been under critical condition for the past one week. Their condition became severe by Monday. One died on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday morning. The deaths confirm the spread of the deadly airborne disease to other animals in the zoo.
Both the hyenas were subjected to video endoscopy on January 2 owing to the suspicion of the intake of plastics. Remains of plastic hoses were found from their stomachs. Rahul was suffering from gastric ulcers and Kumar from megaoesophagus, a condition of enlarged oesophagus.
However, it is learned that canine distemper virus was the cause of death of the two. With these fatalities, no hyenas now remain in the city zoo. A female hyena had died last month owing to the intake of plastic.
The carcasses of both were taken to the Chief Chemical Examination Laboratory (CCEL), Palode. Post-mortem and related examination was held there. Runny nose, vomiting and diarrhoea, dehydration, excessive salivation, coughing, loss of appetite and weight loss are the common symptoms of the canine distemper virus infection.
According to zoo authorities, the premises were disinfected. However, other animals, which are susceptible to the disease, have not been vaccinated. Lack of a proper study on the effect of live attenuated virus on various animals is cited as the reason. The spread of the virus to other animals has triggered a serious debate over the safety of animals in the city zoo.