Often called the ‘spring time disease’ dog owners are being warned to be on the lookout for symptoms of parvovirus, after a record number of confirmed cases this October.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that attacks a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract, causing severe diarrhea and vomiting, which in many cases is fatal.
Port Macquarie Veterinarian Dr Matt Buchanan-Pascall said the “insidious disease” can last in the environment for up to a year.
“Because the disease is transferred between faeces, the virus can survive in the environment for up to 12 months, so it can still do a lot of damage in the long term,” Dr Buchanan-Pascall said.
“The number of dogs we have seen with parvovirus are unheard of. In the two years I have been in Port, I had seen maybe two cases of parvovirus, and in the last week we have seen five cases in three days.
“So at the moment, it is a really big worry, but the way to prevent the disease and protect your dog, is to get them vaccinated,” he said.
Port Macquarie RSPCA branch manager, Kerry Swift-McNair said dogs who contract the disease must be attended to immediately.
“The problem is in the initial stages you may not know your dog has contacted parvo, take them to the park and they can infect other dogs unintentionally,” she said.
“It is so important for dogs to get vaccinated, so they can have a fighting immune system and then if they then do contract the virus it will be a very mild case.”