Parvovirus spike hits dogs
SAD, sick eyes stare out of the kennels at Warwick Town and Country Vet as the clinic's staff battle to keep a stream of parvovirus puppies alive.
Veterinary surgeon Simon Lever contacted the Daily News to say the clinic had seen a massive spike in cases of the deadly, contagious disease and he's urging Rose City dog owners to ensure there pets are vaccinated.
"In the last two weeks we've seen at least one a day, if not two," he said.
While the hotter months are peak season for parvovirus, the vet said a more normal rate of referral would be about one or two a week.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and cripples mostly dogs aged one or under that haven't been vaccinated or have only received part of the course of injections.
Signs of the disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, quick weight loss and diarrhoea, sometimes with blood.
Symptoms can develop from around six to 10 days after infection and treatment often requires vet hospitalisation, antibiotics and round the clock care, which is no cheap fix for the messy disease and no survival guarantee.
"With treatment, I'd say around 80 per cent recover," Dr Lever said.
"But that depends of course on the age of the dog.
"The more vulnerable have less chance of survival."
While the practice sent five recovering dogs just last week, a couple of puppies haven't survived.
"It's really, really contagious," Dr Lever said.
"So if you know someone's dog has parvovirus, best keep your animals away."
The disease is ingested and the virus can survive in the ground for years and is often found in backyards where previous pets have had the illness.
"People should make sure they vaccinate each year and also continue to worm their pets," Dr Lever said.
If your pet has any parvovirus symptoms, take it immediately to your local vet.