PREVENTION: Monto vet Dr Katelyn Press says owners must be responsible and vaccinate their pups.
PREVENTION: Monto vet Dr Katelyn Press says owners must be responsible and vaccinate their pups. Mackenzie Colahan

Vets warn of parvo outbreak

VETS ARE urging residents to exercise responsible dog ownership as another canine parvovirus outbreak sweeps through the North Burnett.

Dr Stacey Rae of Monto Veterinary Services was first alerted to the outbreak two weeks ago, and has since received 14 separate reports.

Cases have been reported in the townships of Monto, Eidsvold and Mundubbera and in rural properties in the surrounding area.

This comes after a spike in case numbers at the same time last year, which killed more than 50 dogs in two months.

"In the last three years we have seen it at a similar time of year," Dr Rae said.

"It can take anywhere from four to 14 days after they're exposed to become sick.

"Once they start to show clinical symptoms the dog's health will deteriorate very quickly, within a day or two."

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the intestinal tract and heart of the animal, causing lifelong health complications or death.

Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for up to a year and is transmitted in the faeces, vomit and hair of infected dogs, or through contact with contaminated food bowls, shoes, clothes, flooring and soil.

Mortality rates are extremely high, killing upwards of 80 per cent of dogs that contract the illness.

General symptoms include: pale gums, fever, lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhoea.

The disease is especially prevalent in young dogs, under the age of four years old, that are either unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated.

Vets say poor vaccination compliance is to blame for the virus which has spread rapidly through the district and is putting other dogs at risk.

"It's really important that people are responsible pet owners and care for their dogs," Dr Rae said.

"Usually, by the time they bring them in with vomiting and diarrhoea the disease is quite advanced and it's too late.

"Symptomatic treatment is expensive, and quite often dogs will need either a blood or plasma transfusion.

To avoid the recurrence of parvo in the region, the message from professionals is clear.

"Vaccinate your dogs, don't let them roam and be concious of where you are taking them," Dr Rae said.


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