Deadly dog virus outbreak strikes South Grafton

AREAS of the Clarence Valley are under intense scrutiny from veterinary clinics after an outbreak of parvo virus in Grafton and South Grafton this week.

Dr Chris Gough from Riverbank Animal Hospital in South Grafton said there are certain pockets in South Grafton which have been classified as high risk.

"Parvo virus is a highly infectious disease that survives for a long time in the environment, particularly in warm humid weather, like we have been experiencing over the last few weeks," Dr Gough said.

"The biggest thing that is generally not understood is that people will transfer the virus around and their dogs will contract the virus from the environment.

"People can take it home on their shoes or tyres."

Three veterinary clinics in Grafton and South Grafton diagnosed seven cases of the disease in one day last week.

The worst affected areas in South Grafton are Maxwell Avenue, Cambridge St, Bligh St, Ridge St, Tyson St, McFarlane St, Margaret Crescent, Bimble Avenue, Flaherty St, Toona Way, Robina Way, Angophora Way, Melaleuca Way and the surrounding area.

"If your dog lives on one of those streets, I'd almost guarantee they will contract parvo virus if they are not vaccinated," Dr Gough said.

Because of the highly contagious nature of the disease, veterinary clinics in Grafton and South Grafton are taking every precaution to ensure they contain the outbreak.

"If we have someone phone us, if their dog has any form of gastro signs, we make them leave their pet in the car and we go straight out to the car and do a test before they are even allowed out of the car and into the clinic," Dr Gough said.

"We have a fully accredited hospital isolation ward facility, any sick patents come into the clinic by a different entrance where we have dedicated staff to care for them."

Dr Gough said that people don't realise how important it to vaccinate their dogs.

"The death rate is quite high even with the best treatment in the world, not all cases pull through and it can be quite costly to treat," he said.

"Vaccination is $80 to $90, but treating the disease can cost well over $1000".

"Please get your dogs vaccinated, if you can't afford vaccination perhaps you shouldn't have a dog in the first place.

"Once they have the disease, it's too late. this is something people sometimes don't understand.

"Sadly a vet's only option in a number of cases is to offer compassionate euthanasia, which is heartbreaking for us and the owners."

Dog owners should be looking out for sudden onset vomiting, dull and lethargic, development of bloody diarrhoea, and unwillingness to eat.

If you are unsure about your pet's vaccination status or worried about your pet, get in contact with your local vet.

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