DEADLY: Vets see surge in parvovirus cases
LOCAL dog owners are urged to check your pet's vaccination record following a surge in cases of highly infectious parvovirus.
A Keen Street Veterinary Clinic spokeswoman said two Lismore veterinary clinics had seen a recent rise in canine parvovirus cases, and warned dog owners to take care.
Canine parvovirus, commonly known as parvo, is a highly-contagious virus which affect dogs' gastrointestinal tracts.
The virus can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months are most at risk.
The virus is spread through contact with other dogs, faeces or even contaminated footwear, clothing, bedding, food and water bowls and toys.
She said the recent surge of cases is a timely reminder for all owners to vaccinate their dogs, no matter where they live.
"The disease very easily transmitted even without dog to dog contact," she said.
"The virus can remain in contaminated soil for a very long time and if dogs are eating faeces or grass in public areas it poses a risk of infection. Ensure your dogs never eat anything on their walks."
She said the treatment was often very expensive so prevention is better than a cure, and vaccinating your dog is the best way to help prevent infection.
"Vaccination is the best form of prevention," she said.
"It's very easy to get done. It's also much cheaper and far safer for the dog. Dogs can and do die from parvovirus."
She said puppies or non-vaccinated dogs should not socialise with other dogs until they have completed their entire vaccination course, and owners should avoid public places where dogs are exercised, such as dog parks or beaches.
Pet owners are warned to keep an eye on their dogs, looking for symptoms of parvovirus including:
•Loss of appetite
•Rapid weight loss.
Most deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms.
If your dog starts to show symptoms of canine parvovirus, you are urged to contact your local veterinarian immediately. Owners are reminded to call for advice, rather than simply going straight to their clinic, to help reduce the spread of the disease.