6000% rise in parvo in Gympie in five years
ALARMING new figures from the Gympie region's biggest vet practice reveal a parvovirus epidemic sweeping our dog population.
Cases of the deadly disease have escalated from one or two cases a year, to 120 in the past 12 months at Gympie and District Vet Services alone.
That's a rise of 6000%.
Seems incredible, but Gympie Vet Services senior vet Shannon Coyne said yesterday the only cause he can think of for the dramatic increase in parvo is an overall increase in dog numbers throughout the region, coupled
with the fact many of those dogs are not vaccinated.
"Parvo is still a big thing at the moment," Dr Coyne said.
"We are currently seeing about one case a day.
"We have had over 120 cases in the last year with less than 25% admitted for treatment and 90% survival for treated cases.
"This has gone up from one or two cases a year five years ago."
Dr Coyne said dogs that were fully vaccinated and had received the 15 month booster did not get parvo.
"Most cases have been puppies under six months," he said. "Some dogs have come in with parvo that are over five years old and have never been vaccinated.
"People are still getting unvaccinated pups, and they are unaware that the virus can be transported in dirt, on shoes and car tyres."
Dr Coyne said isolated dogs were still at risk because the virus could be easily transported.
In the past year the Gympie clinic has treated parvo cases from throughout the Gympie region, including the city itself, Cooloola Cove, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Kilkivan, Curra, Glenwood, Amamoor and Kandanga.
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's faeces.
Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors.
It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in urban areas where there are many dogs.
AT A GLANCE
THE general symptoms of parvovirus are:
loss of appetite
bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea that can lead to life-threatening dehydration.