We’ve had a lot of calls lately about whether parvo virus is present in the area and what can be done to minimise the risk to our dogs.
The symptoms of parvo virus usually include bloody / watery diarrhoea and vomiting but presentation can vary depending on age and vaccination status. Please call a veterinary practice immediately if you suspect your dog may have this illness. The virus is often fatal but rapid treatment gives the best chance of a positive outcome.
You can check on the ParvoAlert twitter to see if any cases of parvo have been reported in your postcode (https://twitter.com/parvoalert?lang=en).
The most important preventative measure you can take for your dog is vaccination – both initial puppy vaccines and yearly booster vaccines are important for maintaining your dog’s protection. Vaccines never 100% guarantee immunity but give your dog a much better chance of fighting off the virus if they do come in to contact with it.
If cases have been reported recently in your area you reduce the risk of infection by avoiding areas with high dog traffic such as parks – the virus is shed in the faeces of infected dogs but can live for a long time in the environment anywhere an infected dog has been.
Disinfection can also help to prevent the spread of parvo virus – the virus can be carried on shoes, which can be disinfected for safety if you have unvaccinated puppies or immunocompromised dogs in your home or have visited a high dog traffic area after a parvo outbreak. Not all disinfectants are effective against parvo – feel free to contact us for advice on which to purchase.
Finally, some breeds of dog inlcuding labradors, rottweilers and dobermans are at increased risk of contracting parvo and their response to vaccines is often poorer. You can counteract this by giving an extra vaccine (after the initial puppy vaccines) at ~16 weeks of age and by giving the first annual booster early at ~10 months of age.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like any further information.