Dr Tim Hill adopted Barney (pictured) from the pound after treating him for parvovirus at his own expense.
Dr Tim Hill adopted Barney (pictured) from the pound after treating him for parvovirus at his own expense.

Increase in parvovirus affecting unvaccinated dogs

VETS are urging dog owners to vaccinate their dogs against parvovirus after seeing a dramatic increase in cases locally.

Vet Cross practice principal Dr Tim Hill said every now and then they saw an outbreak in cases occur.

“We have had a significant increase in parvo cases, on the worst day we had five which is a dramatic increase to normal,” Dr Hill said.

He said of the biggest problems with the virus was that it effected every dog differently.

“The dogs don’t get all the signs, some have just diarrhoea, some vomiting or other gut signs, some are lethargic or off their food.”

Dr Hill said Bundaberg was a high risk area and dogs didn’t even have to leave the yard to be able to contract it.

“It is very long lived in the environment, parvo stays in the area for years, so a dog could vomit or poo and then you could walk through that area a few years later and pick up soil with the virus,” he said.

“Then you could take it home on your shoes or on your wheels and your dog could catch it.”

“A recent study found we are the only area to have two strains in the same area and are one of the only places in the world to find two strains from one single dog.

“We are a high risk area environment and the high proportion of unvaccinated dogs keeps it relevant in the community and the environment infected.”

Dr Hill said vaccinations were incredibly effective and some manufactures would pay for treatment if a dog was vaccinated by a registered clinic and contracted the virus.

He also said parvo was not covered by pet insurance as it was considered preventable.

“Vaccination is pretty much 100 per cent effective,” he said.

“I have been a vet since 1993 and only two vaccinated dogs have gotten parvo and the vaccination manufacturer paid to fix both.”

A big myth surrounding the virus he said was that it was untreatable.

“We can save nearly every dog if we are given a free range to treat them, there are no long term adverse effects but the biggest issue is cost,” he said.

“We don’t know how it will affect the dog some might leave the clinic in three days but for some you could spend many thousands of dollars trying to do everything to save the dog.

Dr Hill said he made the decision to treat a dog from the pound with parvo at his own expense and ended up falling in love with him and taking ‘Barney’ home after three weeks of treatment.



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