Puppy owners are being urged to vaccinate their pets, with Australian researchers discovering a highly contagious and deadly disease is more prevalent than once thought.
The study from the University of Sydney found more than 20,000 cases of canine parvovirus (CPV) in Australia each year.
The survey of more than 500 veterinary clinics showed CPV remains a major cause of disease in puppies and dogs across Australia, despite improvements in vaccination technology over the last 40 years.
Cases were higher in rural and remote areas of the country.
CPV causes the destruction of the intestinal lining, resulting in severe gastroenteritis, haemorrhagic diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration.
“CPV can kill puppies, so is an especially tragic disease, and most people are unaware that this is a big issue nationally,” says lead researcher Dr Mark Kelman.
“Now that the impact of CPV in Australia has been estimated, and the regions where the highest numbers of cases have been identified, we need targeted communication and vaccination strategies in these areas to improve herd immunity and reduce CPV case numbers.
“Strategies could be developed to quickly intervene in CPV‐related disease outbreaks, or to address areas where CPV cases are endemic.”
Dr Kelman has established a charity, Paws for a Purpose, which has begun pilot vaccination programs in high-risk rural areas.
“We are currently heading into the worst time of year for parvovirus, so we also urge people to vaccinate their dogs if they aren’t fully vaccinated – especially puppies,” Kelman says.
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