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As puppy numbers traditionally grow in spring, local residents are reminded to ensure their puppies are fully vaccinated, especially against parvovirus which is a serious and potentially fatal virus that spreads easily.

Young puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at greatest risk of contracting parvovirus, which can be transmitted through direct contact with the faeces of infected animals and on the soles of people’s shoes. Dogs may not show signs of parvovirus for up to 7 to 10 days. Treatment is required if it is contracted.

Griffith City Council’s Director Sustainable Development, Phil Harding said, “To protect your dogs from parvovirus and other potentially harmful and fatal diseases, puppies should be vaccinated at the ages of 6, 12 and 16 weeks.”

“After the initial series of vaccinations, all dogs should be given booster injections at least once a year as regular vaccinations for your pets is paramount to protect their health,” Mr Harding said.

Parvovirus is highly resistant and can only be killed off with a specific germicide, which is available at vet clinics. Parvovirus is also highly contagious and can remain in the environment for up to a year after an infected dog has been there. This is why the virus can reoccur especially in unvaccinated dogs or in dogs where vaccinations have lapsed.

“If owners notice their dogs have symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite and lack of energy, or if you have any concerns about the health of your dogs, take them to the nearest vet immediately,” Mr Harding said.

Dog vaccinations are also given for:

  • Distemper, a highly contagious disease producing symptoms such as conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, convulsive seizures and spinal cord damage,
  • Hepatitis, which can cause sudden death in puppies and weakness, fever, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and bleeding in adult dogs, and
  • Canine cough, a complex disease caused by bacterium and a virus, producing a hacking cough that lasts several weeks.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local vet.

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