Dog owners are being warned to vaccinate their pets against a deadly infection spreading rapidly across Australia.
Researchers from University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science say canine parvovirus (CPV-2) — also known as canine parvo — is one of the most dangerous diseases infecting domestic dogs and warn owners should take swift action against it.
“Dog owners should vaccinate their pets against this insidious infection, and anyone who suspects their dogs might have the disease should have them treated or hospitalised without delay,” he said.
Parvovirus causes lethargy, vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhoea and can kill puppies and young dogs. Clark, UQ’s Professor Joanne Meers and other scientists at UQ and Boehringer Ingelheim have been researching the infection and have now discovered that a strain previously identified as minor is expanding across Australia.
“This is important because identifying various strains of the virus is a key to successful treatment,” Clark said. “We need ongoing monitoring programs to detect new variants and make informed recommendations to develop reliable detection and vaccine methods.”
While puppies can be particularly susceptible to disease and infection because of their young age, vets say all dogs should be vaccinated against canine parvo. Parvovirus was first detected in the 1970s, and two new strains began circulating in the 1980s.
The warning comes after Queensland’s Courier Mail revealed that some pet owners are taking an anti-vax stance and refusing to immunise their animals against potentially deadly conditions. The paper reported that some owners are relying on diet and lifestyle to build up their pet’s natural immunity against disease, despite warnings about the potential dangers.
Some owners are even using medical marijuana on their pets after they’ve fallen ill following vaccination. There is a growing movement towards ‘holistic vets’ across the country, too.
Many offer services such as, acupuncture, essences, homeopathy, herbal medicine and kinesthiology as natural ways of maintaining your pet’s health and treating disease. While the effectiveness of some of these treatments on humans is yet to be proven, some pet owners jumping at the change to use them on their animals.