Dog owners in Queensland, Australia, have been warned against the spread of Parvovirus. The outbreak has reportedly killed more than 150 puppies since September 2014. The warnings were issued by Australia's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), as well as the nation's veterinarians.
Thousands of Parvovirus cases have been reported across Queensland, officials said, with the area between Ipswich and Woodridge, outside Brisbane, seeming to be the hardest hit.
In Australia, most dogs get vaccinated against Parvovirus when they are puppies, but they also require a booster shot every 12 months to maintain immunity. Parvovirus is known to attack the lining of a dog's stomach, often resulting in internal bleeding. The infected dog shows symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Dogs most commonly contract the virus through contact with the feces of other dogs, 9news.com.au reported.
Vets in Queensland have urged dog owners to get their pets vaccinated against Parvovirus as soon as possible. They note that the virus spreads easily and can survive outside an animal's body for as long as six months.
Parvovirus has proved to be fatal for about half of all infected dogs, regardless of whether or not dogs have received treatment, said Michael O'Donoghue, president of the Australian Veterinary Association Queensland.
Anne Chester, chief veterinarian at the RSPCA, said that the number of fatalities make the recent outbreak the worst in the past decade. "I know our own quarantine ward has had only two consecutive days since Christmas where we haven't had at least one Parvo animal in it, and we've had up to five or six. It's very bad," Chester said, as the Brisbane Times reported.
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