Parvovirus can be deadly to puppies who aren’t vaccinated against it. Photo / 123rf
A puppy attending a dog training course in inner Auckland has come down with parvovirus and pet owners are warned to look out for the deadly virus amid a city outbreak.
The puppy visited Central Bark, a luxury hotel and grooming salon for cats and dogs in Parnell, on Wednesday, March 9.
Central Bark said it is unlikely the puppy infected any of its daycare dogs, however.
That’s because the puppy took part in a training session at the centre between 7pm and 8pm, run by a “third-party consultant”, director Justin Gibson said.
“The risk of contracting parvovirus remains low as none of our daycare dogs came into direct contact with this puppy,” Central Bark said in a notice sent out to its customers on Thursday.
“Moreover, all dogs attending Central Bark are fully vaccinated, and the facility is completely disinfected throughout each day with veterinary grade virucides.”
Central Bark said as a precautionary measure, because of the serious risk parvovirus represents to puppies, it was following veterinary advice by asking all its clients’ puppies aged 6 months old and under to stay at home for the next 10 days.
During that time puppies should be monitored for lethargy, loss of appetite abdominal pain, bloating, fever or low body temperature (hypothermia), vomiting and severe, often bloody, diarrhoea.
Gibson said his team sent out the notice in a bid to be proactive.
“As highlighted in various media articles over the past few months, Auckland is experiencing a parvovirus outbreak,” he said.
“We at Central Bark are following veterinarian advice to ensure our clients with unvaccinated puppies are continually monitoring for symptoms and vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Parvovirus can affect dogs of all ages, but is more common in unvaccinated puppies under 6 months of age. The virus is spread by contaminated faeces and vomit, and can remain in the environment for 12 months, sometimes longer.
Infected dogs can begin shedding the virus before symptoms appear, leading to environmental contamination, which can sometimes result in isolated outbreaks in certain areas.
Urgent veterinary care should be sought if parvovirus is suspected, the SPCA said.
There are no specific treatments available, so management of infected dogs usually focuses on providing supportive care such as fluid therapy and pain relief.
Fortunately, parvovirus is highly preventable, and vaccination is the key to preventing the disease and protecting dogs.
It is essential owners make sure their dogs are up to date with vaccinations. A series of initial vaccinations and regular booster vaccinations are needed for protection.
If pet owners have a puppy or dog that hasn’t yet completed its full vaccine schedule, the best way to minimise risk is to limit their exposure to other dogs and avoid places where the risk of environmental contamination may be higher, such as dog parks.
SPCA recommends owners speak with their vet if they are unsure whether their dog has been vaccinated.