Parvovirus outbreak in Tasmania kills many dogs

Parvovirus outbreak in Tasmania

The death rate from Parvovirus in young non-vaccinated puppies can be greater than 80 per cent.

A deadly canine parvovirus outbreak in Tasmania was reported to Biosecurity Tasmania recently by a North-West veterinary practice. The Forbes Street Veterinary Clinic in Devonport has reported several recent confirmed cases of canine parvovirus in the East Devonport, Spreyton and Latrobe areas.

Parvovirus infection is a relatively new disease that first appeared in 1978. Parvovirus, or parvo as we sometimes refer to it, is a highly infectious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular systems of dogs.  Young puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated are particularly susceptible to the effects of this virus.  The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) says the death rate in young non-vaccinated puppies can be greater than 80 per cent.

Forbes Street Veterinary Clinic’s Dr Bob Clippingdale said to the ABC about the parvovirus outbreak in Tasmania:

“We’ve had 10 to 15 cases in the last fortnight and the Dogs Home here in Devonport have had a number as well,” he said.

“It’s been a very severe one [outbreak] too, we’ve had great trouble with it, the majority of dogs have died from it.”

Biosecurity Tasmania has advised new puppies be kept out of public areas until they have had their vaccinations. For older dogs it advised to vaccinate them if they had not been immunised for more than a year.

Dr Clippingdale said he has had a case in a dog that was up to date with vaccinations.

“Of course no vaccine is 100 per cent effective but that would be one of the few that has been vaccinated that we’ve had a problem with,” he said.

Know the signs

The AVA says common signs of canine parvovirus infection in puppies include initial tiredness and not wanting to play. The next signs will include vomiting, followed by very foul smelling dysentery or diarrhoea.  Without early veterinary attention many of these puppies will die.