Thursday, February 26, 2015

Deadly Parvovirus on the rise in the Hunter

Dog owners in the Hunter region are being urged to ensure their pets are up-to-date with their parvovirus vaccinations with a spike in cases.

“We are seeing dogs fall ill across a large area at the moment,” RSPCA Hunter Vet Manager Dr Simone Cooper said. “Dogs have fallen ill in the Lake Macquarie region as well as Rutherford, Maitland, Singleton, Cesssnock and Kurri,” Dr Cooper said.

“We've even seen dogs die from four homes in the same street in Weston, the situation is incredibly serious and a major concerns with the weather set to stay warm and see the virus thrive,” she said.

Parvovirus (often referred to as parvo), is a viral infection that affects young puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs.  The disease is incredibly hardy, and can survive up to a year in the environment. It’s highly contagious and can be contracted through direct or indirect contact with infected dog faeces. 

“Even if dogs don’t come in direct contact with an infected dog, they can still contract the virus through contaminated objects such as shoes, clothes, even the ground,” Dr Cooper said. 

Once infected, dogs typically start to show signs within seven to ten days.  Symptoms may include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and profuse, bloody diarrhoea which can quickly lead to dehydration.  If left untreated, severe shock and subsequent death can occur within a 24-hour period.

The only way to protect your dog against this deadly disease is through preventive vaccination.  Puppies are first vaccinated at six to eight weeks of age, with a booster two to four weeks later. Dogs then need another booster every year.

 “People cannot underestimate the potency and prevalence of this virus right now. If in any doubt about your pets’ vaccination history, speak to your vet immediately,” Dr Cooper concluded.

Our vet services can help you protect your dog. Contact us on 02 9770 7555 for more information.

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