Pet owners are being urged to vaccinate their dogs after a spike in cases of a highly contagious virus that causes 'rapid death'.
Pet owners are being urged to vaccinate their dogs after a spike in cases of a highly contagious virus that causes 'rapid death'.

Deadly disease warning as more dogs fall ill

While most people have been concerned about the spread of coronavirus, there's another infection dog owners need to be wary of.

Vets are warning people to make sure their canines are vaccinated after a spike in parvovirus cases in southeast Queensland and northern NSW.

The Animal Emergency Service has already seen 40 cases so far this year.

Last year they got 58 over the whole 12 months.

Dr Brooke Schampers said it was one of the worst spikes they had seen, with an "unprecedented" number of families losing pets and vets bills totalling thousands of dollars.

"Parvovirus is an easily preventable disease," she told 9 News.

"Check your vaccination schedule or call your local vet if in doubt, and ensure your dog is protected from this horrific strain we are seeing in our hospitals."

Holly Fyfe with Kaige, the 11-week-old parvovirus-infected german shepherd. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Holly Fyfe with Kaige, the 11-week-old parvovirus-infected german shepherd. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Parvovirus is highly contagious and presents with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

The virus attacks the lining of the intestines and the bone marrow.

The damaged bone marrow can no longer produce enough white blood cells needed to fight off infections.

Dogs also experience lethargy and loss of appetite.

The heart form of the virus is less common and attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies.

Both result in a rapid death.

It can be easily transferred on the paws of dogs and on people's shoes or other items contaminated with the virus, like bedding.

It is also passed in the faeces of infected animals.

Vets are warning that the disease is spreading fast across the Brisbane suburbs of Redbank Plains, Redbank, Springfield, and Forestdale.

"If you suspect your dog has parvovirus, visit your vet immediately - because if your pet isn't treated quickly, the symptoms will become fatal," Dr Schampers told the Courier Mail.

"We have seen pets pass away within two days of showing symptoms of this cruel disease … It's not something to be complacent about."

Originally published as Deadly virus warning for dog owners


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