Vaccination plea as parvo claims pups
The deadly parvovirus has taken the lives of two dogs in Motueka and there’s fears more cases in the township are not being treated says a Motueka vet.
Canine parvo is a highly contagious virus, with symptoms including lethargy, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.
The Vet Centre Motueka vet Jessie Krul said there had been three confirmed cases of parvovirus recently over a few days.
‘‘I do suspect there’s a couple more out there we haven’t seen unfortunately, and it’s a very sad thing – such a horrible disease.’’
Three cases may not seem like cause for concern but she said she had been at the practice a year and these were the first instances she had seen.
‘‘There hasn’t been a couple for three years now. Three years ago there was a bit of a spread but nothing dramatic since then.’’
Contained to Motueka, both Halifax Veterinary Centre and Victory Vets of Nelson reported no parvovirus patients had been admitted to their clinics.
Dogs can, and should, be vaccinated against the virus when they’re puppies, said Krul.
‘‘I think it lives in the ground for a quite a few years and unfortunately, all you need is one puppy that isn’t vaccinated exposed. People tend to be quite sociable with their dogs and spread it to a couple more puppies that aren’t vaccinated ... it’s that easy.’’
She said puppies should have two vaccinations, one at about 13-weeks-old and the last at 16-weeks-old. After 10 days at home the puppy would then be immune and able to be taken out.
‘‘It’s always less than $100 for a parvo vaccination versus $2000 to $3000 to try to get your dog to survive it.
‘‘It’s a very easy choice to make.’’
Once a dog has the virus, there’s no treatment.
‘‘It’s not like we can give antibiotics. It’s just a wait and see game.’’
Vet clinics provide intensive care to canines with parvo as the virus runs its course.
‘‘They can’t eat, the virus [is] stripping the lining of the intestines so we’ve just got to support them with fluids – feed them as much as we can. We’ve got to support them through nausea and secondary bacteria infections.
‘‘Helping them survive really.’’ it
Puppies are the worst hit when it comes to the deadly virus.
Two puppies had to be euthanised at Motueka Vets, while one dog battled through.
Krul said it was ‘‘gut wrenching’’ having to put them down.
‘‘It’s a horrible thing that we have to deal with ... and any animal that could have just had a vaccination.’’
Nelson SPCA canine team leader Nicole Blasdale said there had been one carrier at their site.
‘‘Sadly we did have a stray puppy brought here briefly from Motueka.’’
She said once it was tested positive, all their dogs and puppies under their care were screened.
‘‘Everything had been vaccinated or came back negative. We dodged a bullet there.
‘‘It’s a wake up call for everybody – the need to vaccinate young dogs.’’
Trudi Black of Nelson SPCA with puppies which are all vaccinated against parvovirus before finding their forever homes.