Parvovirus strikes Adelaide
You might have heard news reports recently of a Parvovirus outbreak in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. Unfortunately, due to unvaccinated dogs and puppies, and more people travelling with their pets, it’s not surprising to see the spread of this virus.
With the virus affecting animals in close proximity to the Clare Valley, it’s critical to understand the risks and symptoms of Parvovirus and how to keep your pet is safe.
So, what is Parvovirus and is your pet at risk?
Canine parvovirus infection is a relatively new disease that was first recognised in the late 1970s. Parvovirus or parvo as we sometimes refer to it, is a highly infectious virus that primarily attacks the gastrointestinal tracts of dogs. The main source of the virus is the faeces of infected dogs, which can have a high concentration of viral particles.
Susceptible animals become infected by ingesting the virus. Due to its stability, the virus is easily transmitted via the hair or feet of infected dogs, contaminated shoes, clothes, and other objects. This means that even if your dog never goes to the park or mixes with other dogs, it can be exposed to the virus in the environment. Dogs that become infected with the virus and show clinical signs will usually become ill within 7-10 days of the initial infection. The virus is carried to the intestine where it invades the intestinal wall and causes inflammation.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and resistant to the effects of heat, detergents and alcohol and it can remain in the environment for up to a year. This is why the virus can reoccur, especially in unvaccinated dogs or in dogs where vaccinations have lapsed.
What you need to look for:
The signs of Parvovirus can be the sudden onset of bloody diarrhea, lethargy, unwillingness to eat and repeated episodes of vomiting, but it is important to note that many dogs may not show all of these signs. Parvovirus may affect dogs of all ages, but is most common in dogs less than one year of age. Young puppies less than five months of age are often the most severely affected and the most difficult to treat.
How do we treat Parvovirus?
The first step in treatment is to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. This requires the administration of intravenous fluids containing electrolytes. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are given to prevent or control septicemia. Antispasmodic drugs are used to inhibit diarrhea and vomiting that perpetuate the problem.
Most dogs with Parvovirus infection recover if aggressive treatment is used and if therapy is begun before severe septicemia and dehydration occur. For reasons not fully understood, some breeds have a much higher fatality rate than other breeds.
What can you do to protect your pet?
The best method of protecting your dog against Parvovirus infection is by vaccinating your puppy. Puppies receive a Parvovirus vaccination as part of their vaccine regime which should begin at 6-8 weeks. After the initial series of puppy vaccinations, all adult dogs should be boosted once a year depending on your dog's vaccination regime. Bitches should be boosted before mating in order to transfer protective antibodies to the puppies.
Parvovirus can be more prevalent as the weather warms up, so if you think your dog or puppy’s vaccinations have lapsed, call us on 88422 822 to book in and get them protected now.