Dog owners are being reminded to be vigilant about
vaccinations after The Veterinary Centre treated six
confirmed cases of parvovirus last month.
While there were sporadic cases of parvo in dogs, it was very
unusual to see six individual cases in three weeks,
veterinarian Kevin Kearney said.
The dogs were widespread geographically within the centre's
practice area - inland North Otago, the Waitaki Valley, East
Otago, Maniototo and Strath Taieri.
Dogs become infected with parvo by oral contact with the
virus in faeces, infected soil, or environmental fomites that
carried the virus.
The incubation period, between a pup ingesting the virus and
showing the classic clinical signs of a bloody diarrhoea,
vomiting, dehydration and depression, ranged from three to 14
days but was typically five to seven days.
The mortality rate for infected dogs was greater than 90%
without treatment. With prompt recognition and aggressive
supportive therapy, including intravenous fluids, survival
rates could approach 80%, Mr Kearney said.
Pups should be vaccinated at least twice, until the age of 14
weeks, then receive a booster at a year old, followed by
boosters every three years.
Parvovirus was a very resistant virus that was able to
survive in the environment for more than a year. It could
survive freezing temperatures.
To help reduce its spread, areas where had infected dog had
been in contact with needed to be cleaned with a virucidal
product, or diluted household bleach.
Affected pups could shed the virus in their faeces for up to
two weeks, so needed to be kept isolated so as to not infect
Dog owners should also be vigilant about the biosecurity of
pups, or dogs, of unknown vaccination history, coming on to
their properties, he said.