Vets warn of new strain

Monday, 15th May, 2017

By Emily Roberts

A new strain of the deadly parvovirus has been discovered in Australia, with vets warning pet owners to look out for their dogs.

Local RSPCA vet Rachel Bailey said a new strain of the highly contagious parvovirus, known as Canine Parvovirus-2c, has been discovered in Adelaide and Victoria last month. 

“Some vets suspect that this strain has existed in Australia for the past couple of years, as some animals presenting with classic parvovirus symptoms have returned negative in-hospital tests, but until now it has never been properly identified by scientists,” she told the BDT.

“Parvovirus strains 2a and 2b have existed in Australia for decades, but 2c is thought to have first emerged in Italy in 2000. Parvovirus 2c is present in several countries around the world.”

However there is some good news with no confirmed cases in the city but there is a possibility for it to infect dogs here.

“While we have not confirmed any specific cases with external laboratory testing, we do suspect that the new strain is in the area as we have seen several dogs recently with classic symptoms of parvovirus but with negative in-hospital tests,” Dr Bailey said.

“There is much more work that needs to be done to understand the new strain.

“Overseas 2c strain has been identified in adult dogs as well as those with completed vaccination schedules. 

“However, it is thought that the current vaccine offers good immunity to the new strain and at this stage it is just a case of being alert and not alarmed.” 

The best thing you can do is ensure that your dog is up to date with their parvovirus vaccination, Dr Bailey said.

“For some pets this means either having yearly or three yearly injections depending on the vaccine and the vet clinic. 

“If you are unsure of your pet’s vaccination history and find it difficult to get that information it is recommended to get a vaccination in case.” 

Owners should take their dogs to the vet if they have any unexplained or persistent diarrhoea, particularly if there is any blood, vomiting, no appetite and if they seem flat or unwell. 

“This is particularly important for young dogs or any animal that is not up to date with their vaccinations, however, with this new strain about even if your dog has had its full course of vaccinations it is recommended that your pet is checked at the vet if you are concerned,” Dr Bailey said.