Dog virus sparks vaccination call
AN OUTBREAK of deadly parvovirus has hit the Northern Rivers, prompting one local vet to urge residents to vaccinate their dogs.
According to Dr Nick Jones, three dogs presented at the Lismore Veterinary Clinic on the weekend with parvovirus – the clinic usually expects to diagnose a handful of dogs over the entire summer season.
“A fortnight ago, we had one dog die,” said the second-generation Lismore vet.
“Basically the dog diarrhoeas to death. The virus clings to the dog’s gut and it tries to expel the virus. The dog dehydrates rapidly.
“It’s heartbreaking to watch and it’s preventable.”
Dr Jones urged residents to ensure their dogs have had their six to eight week parvovirus vaccination and a booster shot at 10 to 14 weeks. Dogs should continue to get inoculated every year after that.
Dr Jones said the virus thrived in the recent wet conditions.
Parvovirus, which is found in dog faeces and is spread on the soles of muddy shoes, can remain infectious for up to two years.
While the Lismore Veterinary Clinic keeps all its infected animals in isolation and uses special disinfectant to keep the virus at bay, regular household cleaners do not kill the virus.
Dr Jones advised that all unvaccinated dogs be kept away from other dogs until they had been vaccinated.
“Some people don’t vaccinate their dogs because they are either lax or because they think they can’t afford the vaccinations,” he said.
However, the cost of vaccination was nominal compared with the cost of treatment, Dr Jones said.
Yesterday, eight-month-old mini-fox terrier Benny was discharged from the clinic after being successfully treated and re-hydrated back to health from parvovirus.
Other dogs, particularly young pups, are often not as lucky.
The first signs of parvovirus infection are lethargy and listlessness, which worsens with bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.