Parvovirus Enteritis

There has been a cluster of dogs in the Hawick area with severe, or fatal, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting in addition to the ones we had last summer. Parvovirus enteritis has again been confirmed following laboratory tests. Parvovirus enteritis is a highly contagious disease of dogs. It is one of the components in the routine vaccinations which are given to puppies so it is important to ensure your dog receives a primary course of two injections and then keeps up to date with annual boosters. If you are unsure if your dog is currently vaccinated please consult your vaccination card or contact reception and we will be able to advise you.

How is it spread?
The virus is very hardy and can survive for up to a year in the environment. Infection usually occurs after direct contact with an infected dog. However, infected dogs faeces contain large amounts of virus so it is possible to pick up infection if your dog sniffs infected faeces even if the owner has picked up most of it. The virus can also be spread by hands, shoes and clothing and on the coats and pads of dogs. Therefore it is sensible to avoid contact with any dogs with vomiting and diarrhoea , furthermore any shared kennels, bowls and leads should be cleaned and sterilised.

What are the signs of parvovirus infection?
Dogs with parvovirus usually lose their appetite, are quiet and have a fever, they then progress to vomiting and diarrhoea within 24 to 48hours. They then become weak and dehydrated quickly. Parvovirus is most commonly seen in puppies or elderly dogs but is a risk in unvaccinated dogs of any age.

Can it be treated?
This is a very serious disease and without treatment mortality rates are high. Most dogs with parvovirus will require hospitalisation for intensive treatment and nursing care. This may include intravenous fluids (a drip), anti-sickness mediations, pain killers, plasma and/or blood transfusions (to replace cells and proteins), tube feeding and antibiotics. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses so will not treat the infect ion itself but will sometimes be used to prevent or treat secondary infections. Many dogs require intensive treatment for a period of time which can be both emotionally and financially costly.

Avoid contact with unvaccinated and ill dogs
Keep ill dogs away from public areas
Ensure you always pick up your dogs faeces