The recent rain, followed by warm days have provided the perfect breeding conditions for parvovirus, which emerges most often during spring and autumn, though outbreaks can occur at any time of the year. The highly contagious infection affects a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, is often fatal, especially to young dogs, but is easily preventable.
The City of Playford has received recent reports of dogs contracting the virus in the Playford area.
Council reassures the community that it adheres to a strict hygiene regime in cleaning communal water bowls and play areas, as well as maintaining regular communication with the Animal Welfare League and the Dog and Cat Management Board about the issue.
Dr Trevor Baker, from Blakes Crossing Veterinary Surgery, said the best way to protect your dog from the parvovirus is to have your dog vaccinated on a regular basis. “Dogs require a 12-month or three-year booster vaccination to ensure they are totally safe from parvo infection,” Dr Baker said. “At this time of year, given the hot and humid weather conditions, your dog can pick up the parvovirus from any open space. “They are equally susceptible to getting parvo from car tyres, footpaths and other public places.”
Dr Baker said he’s reassured that more and more pet owners are coming into his surgery to immunise their dogs.
How to protect your dog from the virus
Parvo is spread from one dog to another via direct or indirect contact with an infected dog’s faeces. The virus can survive in the environment of an infected dog, meaning a contaminated leash, bowl, kennel, bed or even his owner’s clothing and shoes could potentially spread the virus.
The best way to avoid infection, long vet hospital stays, high vet bills and possibly the death of a pet is quite simple – vaccination. At six to eight weeks old, puppies can receive a combined vaccine that protects against parvo and other diseases, including canine distemper virus, hepatitis and parainfluenza.
Four 'boosters' are generally recommended every two to four weeks until the puppy reaches 16 weeks. After 16 weeks, boosters are typically recommended annually to maintain protection.
The City of Playford asks all our dog owners to consult with your local vet if you’re unsure whether parvo was included in your dog’s vaccination protocol.
If you have any doubts or know you haven’t vaccinated your dog or puppy yet, please keep your furry friend at home and away from public places and other dogs, because parvovirus is not restricted to one place - it can be found on our footpaths, roads, parks even tyres and shoes.