Canine Parvo Virus (CPV) is once again spreading across the Western Cape at a rapid rate and the plea to pet parents from clinics, vets and shelters is to vaccinate.
Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha first alerted the Western Cape community of the spike on their social media pages and website last week when they began to see an increase in Parvo cases at their clinic.
While it may be contained to certain areas right now, it is only a matter of time before the virus spreads, cautions Dr. Guy Fyvie, Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s veterinary advisor.
“CPV is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their faeces. Dogs become infected through oral contact with CPV in faeces, infected soil, clothes, hands, shoes, and insects (flies). Studies have shown that infection may also be spread by wind.”
Susan Wishart, general manager at Mdzananda Animal Clinic, says the reason CPV cases rise around this time every year is because the virus survives better in warm temperatures, making summer a perfect environment.
“Once Parvo is in the environment, it is extremely persistent and yards, furniture, blankets, beds, etc must be thoroughly disinfected with F10 or bleach,” she explained.
Vaccination is the only means of CPV prevention. Dr Fyvie advises that puppies should receive their first vaccination from six weeks of age with two more vaccinations thereafter at 9 and 12 weeks.
“If your dog hasn’t been properly vaccinated (received the full course at the correct intervals), and they come into contact with an animal infected by CPV, they’re at a very high risk of contracting the disease themselves,” he says.
The virus causes severe damage to a dog’s intestinal wall and increases the likelihood of a secondary intestinal infection.
There is no cure for parvoviral gastroenteritis because it is caused by a virus. Your vet can only treat the symptoms with intensive care, including fluid and electrolyte support (drip), combined with strong anti-vomiting drugs and antibiotics.
Canine Parvo Virus symptoms
If your dog displays any of the following symptoms, head to a veterinary professional immediately:
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting, diarrhoea (often bloody and foul smelling)
- Listless or unusually lethargic
- Dull, glassy-eyed stare
Dr. Fyvie explains that while there are certain breeds thought to be more susceptible to CPV such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Pitbulls, the virus is certainly not breed-specific and pet parents shouldn’t take this latest scare lightly.
“It’s also important to note that CPV has about a 10-day incubation period and symptoms only present themselves 10 days after exposure. So, keep a close eye on your pet, and if you suspect any unusual behaviour, go straight to your vet,” he added.
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