Image for illustration. Photo: Pexels
There has been a marked increase in canine parvovirus infections during the spring and summer months, the Tshwane SPCA said this week.
Puppies should receive their first vaccination at six weeks of age with two more vaccinations thereafter at nine to 12 weeks old to avoid infection, said Tshwane SPCA veterinarian, Dr Marianna Bergh.
What is the parvovirus canine?
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces.
Bergh said dogs could be infected through oral contact with canine parvovirus in feces, infected soil or fomites – objects or substances capable of carrying infectious organisms.
"The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells such as those in the lymph nodes, intestinal lining and the bone marrow," she said.
This results in depletion of the white blood cells necessary for the immune system to function, delaying the recovery of infected puppies.
ALSO READ: INFOGRAPHIC: How to protect your pets during Pretoria's heat wave
She said the rapid death of the intestinal cells resulted in the breaking of the intestinal lining, vomiting, diarrhea and severe intestinal bleeding.
"This may eventually lead to the death of your puppy if left untreated."
What are the symptoms to look out for?
– Bloody diarrhea
What can a dog owner do if they suspect their dog has been infected?
Bergh said dogs owners should take their dogs to a veterinarian immediately if they suspect parvovirus.
"The prognosis for a dog with parvo improves if treatment is started early."
She said that while statistics were not readily available as some owners did not seek medical attention for their pets, it has been noted that the number of canine parvovirus cases spiked in spring and summer and declined during the winter.
How can dogs owners safeguard their pets from the virus?
The only way to prevent parvovirus is through vaccination.
"Your veterinarian will evaluate your puppy on the first visit and will provide you with the dates for follow-up vaccinations."
Dogs are usually vaccinated annually, including for the parvovirus.
ALSO READ: Fireworks season is upon us – know how to protect your vulnerable pets
"If you have a puppy that has parvovirus, care should be taken when introducing new puppies into your environment as parvovirus persists in the environment for long periods of time.
"With parvovirus, as with many other viruses that affect dogs, prevention is better than cure," said Bergh.
Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to [email protected] Or phone us at 083 625 4114.
For free breaking and community news, visit Rekord's websites:
For more news and interesting articles, like Rekord on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram