Parvovirus outbreak suspected

A possible parvovirus outbreak has been detected in North Otago.

The virus affects dogs, causing bloody, foul-smelling diarrhoea, vomiting and high temperature. The resulting dehydration is usually fatal without veterinary treatment.

Parvovirus is excreted by infected dogs from 10 to 21 days after the onset of disease. It can be spread between dogs through water and food contaminated by faeces, and on shoes and clothing.

It can be picked up at popular dog-walking areas such as riverbanks and dog parks.

A factor in its spread is the fact that most household disinfectants do not kill the virus.

Vetlife Oamaru staff said it was essential for all puppies to have a full vaccination course - an initial dose followed four weeks later by a booster - before they were introduced to other dogs.

Further boosters were needed when they were a year old, then every two to three years, as recommended by their vet.

Owners with any concerns about their dogs should call their vet straight away. If they were taking a suspected case to a vet clinic, staff would advise them of protocols to prevent spreading infection at the premises.

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