PROTECT FROM PARVO
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.