Vets urge owners to vaccinate after outbreak of deadly virus
THE time to vaccinate man’s best friend has never been more crucial, as Stanthorpe vets fight against the outbreak of a deadly virus.
Stanthorpe Vet Care took to Facebook to share its concerns, revealing four confirmed cases of canine parvovirus – often referred to as ‘parvo’ – in our region.
Veterinary nurse Kirstin Widderick said parvovirus, like the coronavirus, was in most species but showed different symptoms in each animal.
“The parvo virus we are talking about is the canine parvovirus, which is a virus that attacks cells that are rapidly dividing in the intestines.”
She said symptoms could include bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite.
“Sometimes the dogs need supportive care until they eat again, which may be up to seven to 10 days. But sometimes it is much more serious and they require plasma.”
Michael Beatty from the RSPCA said the virus was extremely contagious, with the risk of infection very high.
“It is very common in Australia,” Mr Beatty said.
“Dogs tend to pick it up from dog parks when they are mixing in with other dogs.
“The trouble with that is if just one of those dogs aren’t vaccinated, all of the others will catch it.
“That is why it’s so important to make sure all parvo vaccines are up to date.”
While the vaccine is expensive, a dog with parvo is unlikely to survive without it.
“I would love if owners who think they can’t afford a vaccine tried really hard to find the money to vaccinate,” Ms Widderick said.
“I would rather that than if they were to come in sick and need a consult and a test to check if it is parvo. That in itself is much more expensive than the vaccine.”
The virus doesn’t only spread from unvaccinated dogs but can also be unknowingly transmitted by humans.
“The virus can live in soil for years or on other contaminated surfaces for as long as six months.
“Humans can also unknowingly transmit the virus on the bottom of their shoes or car tyres.
“Just because your dog does not contact other dogs, doesn’t mean it is safe.”
Although puppies are more commonly affected, adult dogs are just as likely to attract the virus if unvaccinated.
“It is vital that new puppies are kept at home until they have had their full course of vaccinations.”
For more information or to vaccinate your dog, contact your local vet.