25 May 2016

HEALTH - Keep Your Dog Safe From Parvo

Veterinarians are cautioning dog owners to be mindful of their pet’s vaccinations – particularly puppy boosters, as there has been an increase in Canine Parvovirus this spring season - a highly infectious disease that is easily transmitted between dogs.

In 2016 there has been an outbreak in Alaska and increased incidence in Calgary and surrounding area.

According to Dr. Danny Joffe, national director of Associate Vet Clinics (AVC) who works out of the C.A.R.E. Centre in Calgary, AB, dogs who contract Parvovirus suffer an 80-90% mortality rate if left untreated.

“We see Parvo all the time – especially in the spring,” said Joffe, who stressed that the best way to protect dogs is not to skip out on those three initial puppy vaccinations and to follow up with the Parvovirus vaccine (which can now be administered every three years).

“For new puppy owners, that’s the first thing they want to do – show off their new addition – but that can be a really, really big mistake,” he said, adding that it is not advisable to take puppies in public or off-leash areas until after four months and  the initial three booster vaccines have been given.

The viral illness is spread through fecal-oral transmission and is frequently carried by coyote and wolf populations; most cases are in dogs aged six weeks to six months and if treated early enough, vets have a success rate around 95%.

Parvovirus rates can be higher in rural areas, where there is more exposure to wild dogs, both semi-feral and feral; southern Calgary has seen a spike in Parvovirus this season, likely due to higher exposures to urban coyote populations.

“Classic signs of Parvovirus include severe diarrhea often with blood and severe vomiting, followed by extreme lethargy,” said Joffe, adding that his clinic sees around 15 cases each year with spikes in the fall and spring seasons.

The AVC are comprised of some 75 vet clinics in four provinces (Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec) with a mandate to ‘provide friendly and compassionate care’ for pets, including 24-hour emergency services.

One of the best methods of safe and efficient veterinary care for pets is the ability to provide emergency care staff with access to up-to-date information on pets.

Enter HomeSafeTM through PetLynx – the ‘supernet for pets and people’. For a single payment, HomeSafeTM offers a lifetime membership for owners to register their pets.

”A system like HomeSafeTM that allows owners to keep track of their pet’s vaccination history and due dates for vaccines (as well as other medical information) can only help ensure that pet’s vaccines are up to date.  A client can check at any time to tell when vaccines are next due,” said Joffe.

“For diseases like Parvovirus, prevention is much easier and much less expensive than treatment, and systems like HomeSafeTM can only serve to help maximize vaccine compliance.”

The benefits to registration include access to veterinary information; a universal passport for emergency care staff to access all veterinary info; and a network to help find your lost pet from anywhere in the world.

By Lindsay Seewalt
Lindsay is an experienced journalist and mother of three whose heart and home is always open to a four-legged friend. With her Corgi, Angie, as household editor-in-chief, Lindsay gives back to the animal planet through the written word on anything and all ado about pets. She is passionate about topics regarding animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, which she aims to instill in both her readers and children to be compassionate animal lovers who are conscious and considerate that furry friends around the globe deserve a voice.

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