Veterinarian Alan Giles and vet nurse Brooke Tillman, of the Grafton Veterinary Clinic, vaccinate a dog.
Veterinarian Alan Giles and vet nurse Brooke Tillman, of the Grafton Veterinary Clinic, vaccinate a dog.

The virus killing our dogs

DOGS are dropping dead across the Valley following the outbreak of a deadly virus.

Parvovirus is on the rise and any unvaccinated dog may be at risk. The younger the dog, the greater the chance it will die from parvovirus.

In the past few months there has been an outbreak of the virus in Grafton and surrounding areas, resulting in many dogs dying, with reports of some properties losing several working dogs to this deadly disease.

One local man feeling the devastation of parvo reported he lost almost a whole litter of unvaccinated pups to the virus after ‘taking them on a trip to Grafton for the day’.

Vets are warning dog owners to check their pets’ vaccination records as vaccination is the easiest – and perhaps the only way – to protect dogs from parvovirus.

Parvovirus infection, or ‘parvo’ as it is more commonly called, first appeared in the 1970s and killed tens of thousands of dogs around the world.

Since then outbreaks have occurred throughout Australia in unvaccinated dogs.

Parvo is a highly contagious disease and is easily spread by anything that comes into contact with infected dog faeces.

Even if your dog never leaves your yard, it is still possible that it may contract parvovirus if it is unvaccinated.

It’s also possible that people can act as a vector and carry the virus home on the soles of their shoes.

Vets can attempt to treat dogs suffering from parvo, but the treatment is expensive and often unsuccessful.

Grafton vet nurse Belinda Simpson is especially passionate about saving dogs from parvo this festive season.

“If not for yourself, do it for the animals,” Belinda said.

Affected dogs rapidly dehydrate and can collapse and die within 24 hours of becoming ill, even with treatment.

Puppies ideally should have their first vaccination at six weeks of age, followed by at least one more vaccination when they are 12 weeks old.

Adult dogs and pups over 12 weeks are generally protected for a year by one initial immunization.

Booster vaccinations are recommended to keep your dog safe from parvo.

PARVO SYMPTOMS
  •  Vomiting
  •  Fever
  •  Foul smelling bloody diarrhoea
  •  Dehydration
  •  Lethargy
  •  Refusal to eat


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