The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE PETS - WORDS: DR KYRA CRAFT

Ev­ery year I treat pa­tients suf­fer­ing from a range of se­ri­ous dis­eases. In some in­stances, these dis­eases could have been eas­ily pre­vented by regular vac­ci­na­tions. Par­vovirus com­monly re­ferred to as “parvo” is one such dis­ease. Make no mis­takes, this is a deadly dis­ease and it does ex­ist on the Gold Coast.

It’s a highly con­ta­gious virus that at­tacks the gas­troin­testi­nal tract, re­sult­ing in an ex­tremely se­vere case of gas­troen­teri­tis. Signs that your dog may have par­vovirus in­clude: sud­den bloody di­ar­rhoea, vom­it­ing, and a lack of en­ergy and ap­petite. The virus com­monly af­fects dogs that are less than one year old and, un­for­tu­nately, these lit­tle guys have a high rate of mor­tal­ity. The main source of the virus is the fae­ces of in­fected dogs. If the fae­ces is in­gested by an­other dog, the virus is car­ried to the in­tes­tine where it in­vades the in­testi­nal wall and causes in­flam­ma­tion.

Par­vovirus is al­most im­pos­si­ble to erad­i­cate from the en­vi­ron­ment. It is re­sis­tant to the ef­fects of heat, de­ter­gents and al­co­hol, re­main­ing in the en­vi­ron­ment for up to a year af­ter an in­fected dog has been there. I of­ten come across pet own­ers who say, “My dog never goes near other dogs, so I don’t need to get them vac­ci­nated”. Un­for­tu­nately, due to the sta­bil­ity of this virus, it’s eas­ily trans­mit­ted via the hair or feet of in­fected dogs, con­tam­i­nated shoes, clothes and other ob­jects. This means that, even if your dog never goes to the park or mixes with other dogs, it can be ex­posed to the virus in the en­vi­ron­ment.

Re­cently, re­searchers have de­tected a new type of ca­nine par­vovirus.

Though new to Aus­tralia, this strain has been pre­sent over­seas since 2000. For­tu­nately, ex­pe­ri­ence from other coun­tries has shown that the cur­rent vac­cines we use are ef­fec­tive in pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion.

If your dog is un­vac­ci­nated, I urge you to sched­ule an ap­point­ment with your vet. Par­vovirus is a pre­ventable dis­ease, so please don’t take any risks with your fur pal’s health.

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