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Parvo – new virus in Australia – the true story

The problem with reading or hearing things in the media is that certain aspects are exaggerated and other aspects are ignored. It all depends on what they want you to see or hear and it is all about sensationalism – sell more papers or watch their television program.

Over the last couple of weeks, it has been reported that a new Parvo virus has been identified in Australia called Parvovirus type 2c. This virus has been identified in a few dogs that got sick or died – most states of Australia (including Queensland) has had this virus identified.

This part is very true – there is a new strain of the Parvo virus attacking dogs in Australia.

But now the story becomes a little hazy or slightly misreported.

It was reported that there were no vaccinations against this virus – not true!

The current vaccinations used by veterinarians DO cover for this virus. There is no need to revaccinate your dog if it has been vaccinated in the last year.

BUT – if your dog has not been vaccinated in the last year and especially if your dog has not had a vaccine for awhile (years) then there is a reasonable chance you dog is not immune to this new virus.

Parvo virus is a savage virus that debilitates and kills a lot of dogs that it infects. It is certainly one of the most dangerous viruses that can affect dogs and it is difficult to treat. Treatment can become very expensive (most dogs who survive treatment costs the owner well over $3,500.00 and in some cases can cost up to $12,000.00).

Like all viruses – they change over time (this is called mutation or attenuation) and because a vaccine worked a number of years ago this does not mean the animal is ‘covered’ when the new viruses rear it’s ugly head.

The only way to be sure your animal is immune against this new virus is to make sure your dog’s vaccination program is up to date.

It was also reported that vets could not identify this virus using ‘in-house’ testing kits – again, this is not true but there are some rare cases where your vet may need to send samples away to a laboratory to get a proper diagnosis or may need to repeat a test 24 hours later to get a proper diagnosis.

My advice to you and all owners of dogs residing in Bundaberg (and it’s surrounding areas) is to simply check your dog’s vaccination record. If your furry friend has not been vaccinated in the last 12 months then please contact us (or the vet of your choice) and get the “pooch” vaccinated as soon as possible.

Prevention is cheaper than Cure – your animal’s health and happiness depends on your actions.

Dr David

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