PUPPY PROTECTION: Dr Deborah Sternbeck BVSc and vet nurse Allie Emmerton vaccinating a dog at Gayndah Veterinary Surgery.
PUPPY PROTECTION: Dr Deborah Sternbeck BVSc and vet nurse Allie Emmerton vaccinating a dog at Gayndah Veterinary Surgery. Alex Treacy

'Unusual and challenging' vet case brings vaccine warning

DOG owners across the North Burnett are being urged to vaccinate their puppies after an "unusual and challenging case” was presented at Gayndah Veterinary Surgery today.

"Unfortunately there was no happy ending,” veterinarian Deborah Sternbeck BVSc wrote on Facebook.

A six-month-old puppy was presented with an "acute illness” which Mrs Sternbeck said the surgery strongly suspected was Infectious Canine Hepatitis, caused by Canine Adenovirus 1.

"(This) is very uncommon now due to vaccination,” she said.

"Clinical signs vary from a slight transient fever to sudden illness, bleeding, seizures and sudden death.

"The virus is transmitted by ingestion of urine, faeces or saliva of infected dogs.”

She said the diagnosis couldn't be 100 per cent confirmed, as it would have involved a cost-prohibitive liver biopsy.

"All the clinical signs were there,” Dr Sternbeck said.

She said it's "possible” there are more infected dogs out there, or the virus could also have come from a feral host.

"In older dogs, they may have a mild illness and get over it, but in younger dogs it can be rapidly fatal,” she said.

"If dogs survive, they shed virus in their urine for more than six months.

"Recovered animals may have ongoing health issues with reduced liver and kidney function.”

Dr Sternbeck said the only vaccination the puppy had received was an Inactivated Parvovirus vaccine, a "killed” vaccine which only provides short term protection from Parvovirus.

She said at least two vaccinations are required for immunity in puppies, followed by an annual re-vaccination.

"Veterinary vaccination is highly protective against Infectious Canine Hepatitis,” Dr Sternbeck said.


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