Alex Byrne from the Gympie RSPCA vaccinates Irish Wolfhound cross Naysa. “Vaccination is completely necessary,” she said.
Alex Byrne from the Gympie RSPCA vaccinates Irish Wolfhound cross Naysa. “Vaccination is completely necessary,” she said. Renee Pilcher

Killer virus threatens our pets

MANY Gympie Region dog owners are taking big chances with their pets’ survival, often without knowing it, as we face one of our regular outbreaks of the deadly parvo virus.

Vets yesterday reported an upsurge in cases of the often fatal canine disease.

Gympie Show Society president Graham Engeman confirmed that even puppies exhibited at last weekend’s show may have been affected.

The disease, which first appeared clinically in 1978, resulted in a widespread epidemic which killed dogs of all ages around the world.

“People really need to vaccinate their dogs,” Lachlan Campbell, of Gympie Veterinary Services said yesterday. And that, he said, means more than just one injection.

Puppies need two injections a month apart, with annual boosters.

“It’s completely necessary,” said Gympie RSPCA animal attendant Alex Byrne.

“It’s a horrible death,” she said.

The Gympie Show Society is working to track down any dogs sold at the show, after the discovery that two unvaccinated pups placed on display had come down with the virus.

“We’ll have to insist on vaccinations next time,” he said yesterday.

“The two volunteers who organised the Animal Nursery are really upset.

“They run it with the best will in the world.

“We’ve just decided we’ll need proof that dogs are vaccinated next time before we let them be placed on show.

“We have to do this for the sake of exhibitors and people who take puppies home.

“We’ve asked vets to report any cases to us and all we can do is offer to pay the cost of having them put down if it resulted from the show.

“Anyone who takes their dog out in public should have it vaccinated. It is a very contagious disease,” he said.

“We vaccinate all dogs sold from the RSPCA,” Ms Byrne said yesterday.

“If they get it, it’s not likely they will be saved.

“The early symptoms are listlessness and depression.”

“We get a number of outbreaks most years,” Dr Campbell said.

Cr Engeman also defended show volunteers against criticism that some kittens on show were too young to be separated from their mothers. “We could have benefited from this expertise if the critics had volunteered and been there to give us their advice, ” he said.

Gympie Times


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