Warning to dog owners over parvovirus
Dog owners in Exmouth are being urged by Exmouth Vet Clinic to be vigilant about vaccinating their pets against parvovirus after vet Megan Gall treated a puppy for the virus.
Parvovirus is common across the Pilbara and in other towns in the Gascoyne, but Exmouth Vet Clinic had only treated one case from Onslow last year until nineweek-old puppy Willow developed symptoms of the disease. Willow has since made a full recovery.
The highly infectious parvovirus is passed on through faeces and vomit, and can remain infectious on the ground for a long time.
Willow’s owner requested to remain anonymous, but he said he got Willow from Carnarvon and spent several days camping at Red Bluff, Warroora Station and Coral Bay on his way home to Exmouth.
Willow had received her first vaccination but was not old enough to have completed the three-dose course, which finishes when the puppy is 16 weeks old.
After Willow’s owner returned to Exmouth, he noticed she stopped eating and had lost her normal bounce and energy, so he took her to Exmouth Vet Clinic, where her first test for parvovirus was negative but a later second test proved positive.
Willow’s owner opted for treatment and the resulting bill came to $1600, including $600 to cover the plasma needed to boost Willow’s white blood cell count.
Willow’s owner paid credit to Dr Gall and her team for their professional treatment.
He joined Dr Gall in urging dog owners to ensure their pets were up to date with vaccinations and boosters, and said if everyone vaccinated their dogs, it would stop the spread of the virus.
Dr Gall said the first symptom a dog with parvovirus shows is being completely miserable as well as usually developing vomiting and diarrhoea.
She said vets in Karratha and Newman had told her half of their clients whose pets contracted parvovirus opted for treatment, with a reported success rate of about 75 per cent.
More than 100 cases were treated in Karratha last year.
Dr Gall said this past year appeared to be a particularly bad one for parvovirus, with reports of previously vaccinated adult dogs in Perth contracting the virus after falling behind with their boosters.
She said if a usually happy dog was miserable, then something was wrong and it should be taken to the vet, where it should be kept in the car until testing is done to avoid spreading the disease.
Willow has made a recovery from parvovirus and her owner is urging dog owners to vaccinate.