The cooler weather has brought a fresh outbreak of parvovirus in dogs in Whyalla. Dogs become quiet, start vomiting, develop a fever and bloody diarrhoea. If they are not treated they can die from infection and dehydration.
Parvovirus is shed in the faeces of an infected dog and is spread either by direct contact with the faeces, such as dog to dog, but it can also be spread indirectly by peoples shoes or clothing. However, it is the persistence of the virus in the environment that determines whether other dogs will become infected. In the hot summer weather, the virus does not survive very long and this limits the spread of parvovirus. But in times like this, when the temperature is colder and there has been some rain, the virus survives for many months and outbreaks occur.
Recently a new variant of parvovirus has been found in dogs in Australia, the CPV-2c strain.
Parvovirus infection is acquired by inhaling or ingesting the virus particles, such as when a dogs sniff the faeces left behind by other dogs. The virus replicates very quickly in the intestines causing intense vomiting and diarrhoea. Sometimes blood can be seen in the diarrhoea. Dogs become very quiet and dull as dehydration and infection sets in and they can die.
As with most diseases, early treatment provides the best chance of survival and dog owners should seek treatment immediately if their dog has any vomiting or diarrhoea. We now have excellent tests to detect parvovirus in dogs. Survival rates with intensive treatment are good.
Prevention is always better than cure. Vaccination provides excellent protection against parvovirus and the current vaccines protect dogs against the CPV-2c strain.
Immunity for adult dogs however, is not lifelong, and all dogs should have a yearly booster to protect them from parvovirus. Some dog breeds have a higher risk of contacting parvovirus infection, such as German Shepherds and Rottweillers and vaccination for these breeds is even more important.
Recent test results on diarrhoea from our in-house tests. (Images attached)