Eurobodalla veterinarians are urging dog owners to get their pets vaccinated against an increase of parvovirus in the shire.
Dogs, mainly puppies, have died or have had to be euthanased due to the usually lethal virus in the past two weeks.
“All the vet clinics in Batemans Bay and Moruya say they had all seen an increase recently in the number of parvovirus cases from what they normally see,”’ Australian Veterinary Association NSW/ACT division branch liaison officer Tara Cashman said.
Parvovirus, or parvo as it is often called, is a highly infectious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular systems of dogs.
Young puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated are particularly susceptible to the effects of this virus, and the death rate in young non-vaccinated puppies can be greater than 80 per cent.
“There is not enough awareness about it,” Ms Cashman said.
“We have had two litters affected, and at least one puppy died that was from an unvaccinated mother,” Moruya Animal Hospital’s Dr Kerry Jackson said.
“Parvo is a nasty business, and the thing that causes such despair is that it is totally avoidable.
“Owners need to get their dogs vaccinated and keep their vaccinations up to date.
“Parvo is a clever virus which can survive a long time, and its effects are heart breaking.
“Puppies are incredibly vulnerable.
“It can be transferred by contact between dogs, from insects and even carry it on your feet after a walk in the park.”
A Surf Beach man said he knew of two dogs that had succumbed.
“Frighteningly one was my next door neighbours’ dog,” he said.
“The scary thing was that they had heard of (other) dogs who had died in the past three weeks.”
The Australian Veterinary Association says that common signs of parvo-affected puppies include initial tiredness and not wanting to play, then vomiting, followed by foul smelling dysentery or diarrhoea.