Eddie was one of thousands of puppies that die from Parvo in NSW each year
A national charity is calling on Northern NSW residents to urgently vaccinate their puppies and dogs, as a Parvovirus (Parvo) outbreak has swept through the region in the past month – leaving around 60 puppies and dogs dead.
Paws For A Purpose (PFAP) CEO and veterinarian, Dr Mark Kelman, said that local vets reported around 145 puppies and dogs struck down by the deadly disease across Tamworth, Manilla, Barraba, Bingara, Lighting Ridge and Coonamble.
NorthWest Vets’ Coonamble and Lightening Ridge clinics alone reported 29 deaths in the past four weeks and have received multiple daily calls from owners with sick and dying puppies. Many cases have died at home before being able to receive vet care.
Greencross South Tamworth has seen 30 cases resulting in 21 deaths, while Piper Street Vet in Tamworth has witnessed 25 cases including 10 deaths. There has also been 30 cases at Manilla Vets and 10 at Bingara Vets.
Dr Kelman said these latest deaths were completely preventable and more deaths will happen during Autumn and Winter if residents do not act quickly.
The charity identified the outbreak with its new Parvo surveillance system, which collects case reports from vets and will soon be in operation across the country.
“Even though we are just piloting our Parvo disease-surveillance-and-alerting program, it is already detecting major outbreaks of this horrific disease, including this one and another outbreak across Central Queensland” said Dr Kelman.
“The recent rain across both regions seems to have brought on these outbreaks. Scientific studies have shown an association between recent rain and Parvo outbreaks, however, we are not exactly sure why – one theory is that the rain might physically move the virus into contact with domestic dogs.
“With increasing numbers of puppies being infected right now with the virus, it shows that these pets have not been fully vaccinated. The highest risk is for puppies that have not had their 16 week vaccination, or are younger than 16 weeks and haven’t been vaccinated in the past month.”
To prevent infection, all puppies must be vaccinated monthly from six weeks of age, until 16 weeks (four months). Adult dogs in high-risk Parvo areas and during outbreaks should be re-vaccinated every year.
Signs of Parvo disease are vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetence, lethargy, dehydration and sometimes blood in the dog’s faeces. Puppies can die as quickly as in 24 hours. Anyone who thinks their dog might have Parvo must ring their veterinarian immediately for advice.
To find out more about Paws For a Purpose, log onto www.pawsforapurpose.org
PFAP media contact:
Dr Mark Kelman
+61 417 906 771