Apartment Puppies in Singapore.

Zoonoses & Common puppy diseases.

Very few infections are passed from Singapore puppies to people. Ringworm in puppies will be the one you are likely to encounter. It is easily treated.


Zoonoses are infections that can be passed from animals like puppies to human beings.  In Singapore, the following may be  present:

1.  Ringworm
Generalised dermatophytosis in a miniature Schnauzer puppy, Singapore Toa Payoh Vets
A fungus that infects the skin, causing itchy circular rings.

Pet owners will  see rings on the skin of their hand, elbow area and thigh area. These are the areas where the infected puppy has been held. The fungus can infect the head or other parts of the body. Ringworm can be cured. However, some pet owners think they are mosquito bites and do not consult their doctor.

If you consult your vet early when you discover any hair loss or itchy skin in your puppy, you will be able to treat the ringworm or other skin infections early before the whole body is affected. 

Some people including vets do not seem to get infected. Symptoms include an itchy circular skin area or areas.

Washing hands properly and often is important when your puppy has ringworm and is treated by your vet.

Breeders and pet shop owners need to be vigilant in daily inspections as a ringworm-puppy is not saleable.

2.  Rabies.  This virus is transmitted from rabid dogs biting people and affects the brain and nervous system.  Singapore has been free from rabies for over 50 years and no rabies vaccination is permitted in local dogs and cats. The people who are worried about rabies are those working in the dog quarantine as imported dogs may have rabies.  There are anti-rabies vaccinations for such workers.

Early diagnosis and treatment important for people bitten by rabid dogs. As Singapore dogs have no rabies, the bites do not cause rabies. The usual vaccines given to dogs in Singapore do not include rabies as some pet owners believe. 

3.  Toxcariasis. Worms live in the intestines of dogs. Younger children who often put things into their mouths or who do not wash their hands frequently may accidentally eat the microscopic worm eggs. The eggs hatch and cause symptoms such as fever, cough, wheezing, abdominal pain, rash or enlarged lymph nodes. 

Your vet will recommend that you deworm your puppy regularly. Do give the worm medicine more than once and preferably every year for the first few years. 
  Tick fever.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme Disease can be transmitted from dog ticks to people but they have not been common in Singapore.  Ticks are one common external parasites seen in Singapore dogs.

Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Signs are circular skin rashes which may not be present. Mental depression and other nervous system disorders and aches in joints may be present many years after the tick bite. Lyme disease is hard to diagnose as laboratory tests are not very reliable.

6.  Campylobacter infections. People who comes into contact with water, faeces or food products contaminated by the Campylobacter bacteria which lives in the intestines of the dogs may get diarrhoea, fever and abdominal pain.  Many members of the family may be infected. Treated with antibiotics.


The following do not infect people.

Yorkshire terriers females are rare in Singapore.

1.  Canine parvovirus.
The disease of puppy you may encounter is the parvoviral infection which causes bloody stools and death in young puppies a few days after purchase.  This is not disease that affects people but it is a traumatic experience for pet lovers and children.  Usually, the pet shop compensates the buyer financially.

2.  Canine distemper.
This viral disease affects the breathing system with the puppy showing cough, runny nose and eyes as well as diarrhoea. When the brain gets infected, the  puppy collapses in a fit and dies soon. There is no drug treatment although there is an effective vaccine.

Many home breeders who don't bother to vaccinate their puppies before they sell them. If the puppy gets exposed to the distemper virus or parvoviruses, the puppy will be sick. 

3.  Canine hepatitis.
The liver is infected by the canine adenovirus.  Jaundice is one sign of infection. 

4.  Canine parainfluenza. Most puppies have been vaccinated and do not show serious symptoms of viral flu like runny noses and eyes.

5.  Kennel cough. The Bordetella bacteria, parainfluenza and other viruses infect the respiratory system of puppies. A dry hacking cough. Sometimes yellow or greenish runny nose.  Breeders in Singapore do not vaccinate against kennel cough although a vaccine is available.  If you board your dog in a kennel with many dogs,  it is best to vaccinate against kennel cough.  

6.  Canine coronavirus and SARS.
SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is a coronaviral infection of people. 

The canine coronaviral infection causes vomiting and diarrhoea in puppies and dogs. It does not infect people. The human SARS virus affect the human respiratory system.

A canine coronaviral vaccine is available to protect your puppy. However, many Singapore  dog breeders do not vaccinate against the coronaviral infections.

Request your vet to vaccinate if you wish to protect your puppy against coronaviral infections.

7.  Leptospirosis. A bacteria affecting the urinary system especially the kidneys. It is usually transmitted by the urine of rodents to dogs.  There are rarely any reports of dogs transmitting leptospira bacteria to people.   However, your dog will have been vaccinated as leptospira is usually included in the combined vaccines given to puppies.

8.  Scabies. A microscopic skin mite which infects the skin of puppies, preferring the ear edges, paws and nose.  Dry crust or skin flakes seen may not be due to scabies. Consult your vet early. The mites do not like people but new pet shop employees may be very worried about being infected. 


1. Don't share food with your pet. Keep your pet away from the kitchen if you are preparing a meal. Never feed your pet raw meat.

2. Don't kiss or touch your pet with your mouth. It is hard to resist your own puppy licking you with its tongue.

3.  Don't let your pet drink from the toilet.

4. Wear gloves when cleaning cages or pick up pet faeces. This may be important for those working in pet shops and quarantine stations. It is easier said than done. Singaporeans usually use newspapers or tissues to remove faeces. Wash your hands afterward.

5.  Never wash you pet in the kitchen sink or bath tub.

6.  Avoid sick animals or those that appear sleepy or sick. 

7.  If you have flu, try not to be too close to your puppy. Although the human flu virus does not infect your puppy, the bacteria in your cough may do so.

8.  Vaccinate at week 6, 10 and 14. Consult Your vet.  If your puppy has runny nose, delay the vaccination. Healthy puppies do not have discharge from their nose, eyes, ears and anus usually.

Home bred Siberian Huskies - healthy and active at 4 weeks. Singapore

In conclusion, the vast majority of puppies born in Singapore or imported from Australia and the U.K do not have zoonoses. Puppies are imported from Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, the U.S, Germany and the Philippines are quarantined for 30 days in Jurong and vaccinated against rabies. 

An important concern of Singapore parents who have never owned a dog is that there are zoonoses and therefore the children are prohibited from keeping dogs. 

Dogs are great listeners and encourage children to exercise and socialise with friends.  Children without pets tend to spend a lot of time playing computer games or go out to shopping malls.

Planned Caesarean delivery at the correct time gives you vigorous puppies and strong bitch to nurse them.  Singapore Toa Payoh Vets

Extracts from the
Asiahomes.com Book:
How Your Puppies Can Live Longer?  
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS.

Buyers interested in this book, email to judy@asiahomes.com

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