The parvovirus can be extremely deadly for puppies and unvaccinated dogs. File Photo.
The parvovirus can be extremely deadly for puppies and unvaccinated dogs. File Photo.

WARNING: Deadly dog virus active in South Burnett

PET owners in the South Burnett are being warned that the deadly parvovirus is currently active in the region.

South Burnett Vets have confirmed there are two active cases and advise dog owners to ensure their furry friends are up-to-date with their vaccinations.

The highly contagious infection is usually found in puppies between the ages of six weeks and six months, and can manifest in two different forms: intestinal and cardiac.

The intestinal form is characterised by vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and lack of appetite, while the cardiac form, which effects the heart, often leads to death.

"The main thing you'll notice is they will get lethargic. Moving a bit slower and they will be off their food. Then there will be an onset of vomiting with some diarrhoea, which can develop into haemorrhagic diarrhoea," said Dr Chris Braithwaite, South Burnett Vet Kingaroy.

Dr Braithwaite said, like COVID-19, the severity of the disease will also differ greatly depending on the animal.

"A certain percentage will recover, some won't even show symptoms, and then there's that other percentage that will pass away no matter what you do."

Deaths due to parvovirus have radically declined since it was first observed in the 1970s due to the vaccine, however, boosters shots are required to ensure your dog remains protected throughout its life.

"The most important thing is to get their vaccinations done when they are due - that is at six weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks - and to try and keep them away from other animals during that time," said Dr Braithwaite.

"You've got to get on it early because it's very expensive to treat, and sometimes the treatment can be very disappointing."

If treated, dogs have a 70% survival rate, however, the prognosis is sadly much more dire for puppies. Due to a weaker immune system, puppies are more likely to suffer shock and sudden death.

Certain dogs breeds are also more vulnerable to the disease than others, including Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, and Alaskan sled dogs.

If you own one of these breeds, you might also want to talk to your local vet about an extended vaccination protocol.

South Burnett Vets took to Facebook to remind pet owners that if your dog has been infected with parvo, make sure you are abiding by the correct quarantine measures and avoid moving around the community to lessen the spread.

South Burnett

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