Deadly Parvovirus Strikes
Cairns pet owners are urged to have their dogs vaccinated following an increase in reports of deadly canine parvovirus. With our two veterinary clinics seeing a strong increase in the incidence of parvovirus over the past few months, it’s an important reminder for all pet owners to vaccinate their pets to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease.
What is Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious gastroenteritis virus that infects puppies and adult dogs. Spread through the droppings of infected dogs, the virus can survive in yards, parks and streets for up to a year. It can be picked up on shoes, clothes, paws, etc. and then spread from area to area.
What are the signs of Parvovirus?
The virus attacks the cells lining the intestine that absorb fluid into the blood stream. The disease can occur at any age but is most commonly seen in puppies less than eight months of age that haven’t been fully vaccinated. Dogs infected with parvovirus are usually depressed, experience a loss of appetite and rapid weight loss, are severely dehydrated due to vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood in their motions. The disease takes hold rapidly and is often fatal.
Combined with the classic symptoms described above, a faecal test can be performed to confirm the presence of the virus.
Treatment of parvovirus involves supportive veterinary treatment. Infected animals are placed on an intravenous drip to rehydrate them and given medication to cease the vomiting and diarrhoea. Infected dogs are isolated from other dogs to avoid the spread of infection. Long hospital stays in infected pets are common and treatment may cost thousands of dollars.
Preventing the Problem
The good news is parvovirus can be easily prevented by fully vaccinating your puppies and adult dogs.
Puppies need 2 vaccinations, one at six to eight weeks and then one at 12 weeks, to provide adequate immunity.
Adult dogs should have yearly health checks and vaccinations should be kept up to date to protect against deadly diseases and to ensure their quality of life and general wellbeing is maintained.
For more information about parvovirus and other diseases that can be prevented via vaccination, or to schedule a vaccination appointment for your pet, contact us at either of our conveniently located clinics.
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