2016 rainfall blamed for rise in parvovirus cases in Orange

VACCINATION WARNING: Canobolas Family Pet Hospital vet nurse Cass Scurrah with Heidi is warning dog owners to get them vaccinated due to increased prevalence of parvovirus. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0113jkparvo1

VACCINATION WARNING: Canobolas Family Pet Hospital vet nurse Cass Scurrah with Heidi is warning dog owners to get them vaccinated due to increased prevalence of parvovirus. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0113jkparvo1

Pet owners are being urged to vaccinate their dogs and keep young pups at home as at least one Orange vet clinic faces a spike in parvovirus cases.

Canobolas Family Pet Hospital has seen the number of dogs presenting with parvovirus increase from one every two months to about nine in the past month. 

Signs of the virus include extreme lethargy, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

Canobolas Family Pet Hospital vet Kate Peffer said the disease kills the inner lining of the intestine and is often fatal as it’s difficult to treat due to complications including septicemia, shock, blood loss and protein loss.

“We’ve had a lot, a much higher level than than we normally see,” Dr Peffer said. 

“I’ve been working here for just over two years and this is probably the biggest presence of parvo that I’ve seen since I’ve been here.” 

She said higher than usual rainfall has been attributed to a rise in cases across NSW with Wagga Wagga and Tamworth were named as disease hot spots and Dr Peffer said Forbes and Condobolin also have a lot of cases.

While there is a high presence of parvovirus in Orange she said many dog owners are aware of it and vaccinate their dogs so fewer cases present at veterinary clinics.

“Orange does have a high presence and it’s one of those things you try and not see because it’s 100 per cent preventable,” Dr Peffer said.

However, she said because it lives in the soil for eight years or more, heavy and consistent rain may have moved the virus into into areas it hadn’t been before exposing more dogs to it.  

“High rain and soil movement can bring it back to the surface,” Dr Peffer said.

I’ve been working here for just over two years and this is probably the biggest presence of parvo that I’ve seen since I’ve been here.

Canobolas Family Pet Hospital vet Kate Peffer

“Once it’s in your backyard or a public place you can consider it will be there forever.

“It’s quite over represented here at the moment and continuous, we’ve got a continuous number of dogs coming in with it.”

She said the increased rate was also partially due to people getting puppies at Christmas and taking them to parks and public places before they are vaccinated. 

She said puppies need to be vaccinated between eight and 12 weeks of age with the last vaccination at 12 weeks or older and some breeds such as rottweilers may need follow up vaccinations.