A national charity is calling on Northern NSW residents to urgently vaccinatetheir puppies and dogs, as a Parvovirus (Parvo) outbreak has swept through theregion in the past month – leaving around 60 puppies and dogs dead.

Paws For A Purpose (PFAP) CEO and veterinarian, Dr Mark Kelman, said thatlocal vets reported around 145 puppies and dogs struck down by the deadlydisease across Tamworth, Manilla, Barraba, Bingara, Lighting Ridge andCoonamble.

NorthWest Vets’ Coonamble and Lightening Ridge clinics alone reported 29deaths in the past four weeks and have received multiple daily calls fromowners with sick and dying puppies. Many cases have died at home before beingable to receive vet care.

Greencross South Tamworth has seen 30 cases resulting in 21 deaths, whilePiper Street Vet in Tamworth has witnessed 25 cases including 10 deaths. Therehas also been 30 cases at Manilla Vets and 10 at Bingara Vets.

Dr Kelman said these latest deaths were completely preventable and more deathswill happen during Autumn and Winter if residents do not act quickly.

The charity identified the outbreak with its new Parvo surveillance system,which collects case reports from vets and will soon be in operation across thecountry.

“Even though we are just piloting our Parvo disease-surveillance-and-alertingprogram, it is already detecting major outbreaks of this horrific disease,including this one and another outbreak across Central Queensland” said DrKelman.

“The recent rain across both regions seems to have brought on these outbreaks.Scientific studies have shown an association between recent rain and Parvooutbreaks, however, we are not exactly sure why – one theory is that the rainmight physically move the virus into contact with domestic dogs.

“With increasing numbers of puppies being infected right now with the virus,it shows that these pets have not been fully vaccinated. The highest risk isfor puppies that have not had their 16 week vaccination, or are younger than16 weeks and haven’t been vaccinated in the past month.”

To prevent infection, all puppies must be vaccinated monthly from six weeks ofage, until 16 weeks (four months). Adult dogs in high-risk Parvo areas andduring outbreaks should be re-vaccinated every year.

Signs of Parvo disease are vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetence, lethargy,dehydration and sometimes blood in the dog’s faeces. Puppies can die asquickly as in 24 hours. Anyone who thinks their dog might have Parvo must ringtheir veterinarian immediately for advice.

To find out more about Paws For a Purpose, log onto www.pawsforapurpose.org

Image : Eddie was one of thousands of puppies that sadly die from Parvo inNSW each year.

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