Alert on canine virus outbreak

Dr Lachlan Campbell and vet nurse Daniele Lee cuddle up to some puppies.
Dr Lachlan Campbell and vet nurse Daniele Lee cuddle up to some puppies. Craig Warhurst

GYMPIE dog owners are being warned of another outbreak of the deadly canine parvovirus (CPV).

The highly contagious and potentially fatal viral disease can kill a family pet within a few days and was the cause of several dog deaths at Rainbow Beach recently. The deaths were initially put down to baiting, however an autopsy confirmed they had succumbed to “parvo”.

Veterinarian Lachlan Campbell is urging dog owners to ensure their pet’s vaccinations are up to date and said puppies are especially vulnerable.

If left untreated, the mortality rate is high, Dr Campbell warned. And in those cases where treatment is possible, he said it is expensive.

“The cost of vaccinations is quite small compared to the cost of treating parvo,” he said.

Dog owners unsure if their pets have been vaccinated should bring them into their vet for a general check up and a CPV shot.

“The vaccine safeguards you against the anguish of losing your dog,” Dr Campbell said.

The main source of the virus is the faeces of unprotected dogs, and could be carried into the home environment on a car tyre or someone’s shoes.

Considered a relatively robust virus, which can survive between one and six months (some say up to 12 months), Dr Campbell said good hygiene practices can minimise any risk of spreading it.

CPV is easily preventable; all dog owners need do is make sure their puppies are vaccinated and bring older dogs in for their yearly booster shots, he said.

Dr Campbell said bloody diarrhoea and bloody vomiting are the primary symptoms; however any ailing dogs or puppies should be brought into the vet as soon as possible.

“Your puppy or dog might be off colour or a bit lethargic – if you are suspicious, bring the animal to a vet... with respect to parvo, the earlier you get onto it the better,” he said.

Did you know...

Puppies younger than 10-12 weeks of age haven’t had all of their vaccinations yet, so they are more susceptible to canine parvovirus. Special caution is advised for puppies; be mindful of the areas visited, vaccination status and age of dogs they come in contact with, and be extra vigilant about sanitation of hands, shoes, clothes and bowls used for puppies.

Gympie Times

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