Dog owners are being urged to be on the lookout for symptoms of parvovirus, after a record number of confirmed cases this October.
Parvovirus is an incredibly tough virus. Lasting up to six months in soil, it attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe bloody vomiting and diarrhoea which, if untreated, often causes death.
Sweet Pea Animal Hospital veterinarian Rob McMahon said the disease, once contracted, was intensely painful for dogs.
“We really want to prevent it, not just treat it,” he said.
“Because the vaccination works so well, it’s the best solution, and it’s so easy.
“Without the vaccination dogs are very vulnerable. The virus can spread through any sort of fecal material, which means that even dirt that doesn't have apparent fecal matter on it, but that has had it recently, can transfer the virus.
We really want to prevent it, not just treat it.- Rob McMahon
Whilst outbreaks of parvovirus were once quite common, greater vaccination compliance has meant a reduction of cases in recent years.
“But that doesn’t mean we can grow complacent,” Rob said.
“Puppies are the most vulnerable, and can be vaccinated from six weeks old. We like to maintain regular vaccinations throughout their life, as we are in a high risk area here.
“Once you’ve seen parvovirus, you never forget it, because it’s the most horrendous disease.”