Parvovirus outbreak prompts vaccination plea

THE highly-infectious parvovirus has hit Orange hard this summer, with one vet reporting more than 10 cases in the last six weeks.

The virus, which can be vaccinated against, attacks the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular systems of dogs, and can be fatal.

Orange Vet Hospital veterinarian Dr John Mason said it was frustrating that some people chose not to vaccinate their dog.

“It’s a nasty disease to treat,” he said.

The disease can progress quickly and Dr Mason warns the only way to protect your dog is through vaccination.

“It’s an easily preventable disease with vaccination,” he said.

The disease is spread by contaminated faeces.

Parvovirus was once just a summer disease, according to Dr Mason, but now occurs year-round, with a jump in figures over the warmer months.

“We see it more and more in younger dogs, but it can still be there in older dogs,” he said.

While a vaccination costs around $85, treatment for parvovirus can cost around $1000.

“Some dogs are put to sleep because they [the owners] can’t afford treatment,” Dr Mason said.

“When you get the dog it [vaccination] should be viewed as an essential part of having a dog, as essential as feeding.”

Canobolas Family Pet Hospital veterinarian Geoff Freeth said he had only had a handful of cases over the last month.

“It’s the time of year when it’s most prevalent and it’s absolutely deadly,” he said.

“Vaccination, in my 24 years experience, is just about 100 per cent perfect [in prevention].”

The Australian Veterinary Association reports the death rate in young non-vaccinated puppies can be greater than 80 per cent.

nadine.morton@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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