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We're Parvo capital

Thursday, 13th January, 2011

This dog has been treated for parvo and is ready to go home This dog has been treated for parvo and is ready to go home

Broken Hill has the highest number of Parvo virus cases in Australia, according to an RSPCA vet.

In the last three months more than 30 cases of the deadly canine virus have been reported to the RSPCA and one dog has died, said veterinarianDoug Dixon-Hughes.

He also said several dogs have been put down because owners could not afford the treatment. "We've had high levels of cases this year especiallysince spring started," Dr Dixon-Hughes said.

"Six dogs over the Christmas period were being treated." The symptoms of the parvo virus included "really bad gastro and diarrhea," he said. He also said that dogs can go off their food and water, become lethargic and sometimes can froth at the mouth.

Dr Dixon-Hughes said it cost more than $500 to treat a dog for the virus, but that it could be prevented. Treatment can involve rehydrating the animalwith intravenous fluids, providing pain relief, antibiotics and drugs to stop them vomiting.

"The best way to prevent it is to vaccinate dogs at six weeks of age and again at 10 weeks," Dr Dixon-Hughes said. The vaccination for a pup costs $53. 

Dr Dixon-Hughes said could dogs contract the virus anywhere. "It's in the environment ... they just get it," he said.

"It can blow onto properties in the wind or get on shoes (and owners) can walk it in. "It is very contagious and it is difficult to disinfect a property of parvo ... it is very important that if you are in a rental to get your dog vaccinated.

"We recommend vaccination for the entirety of a dog's life." Dr Dixon-Hughes said it was important to vaccinate dogs more than one year old, he said these vaccinations protect a dog for three years and cost $71.

"I fear there a lot of dogs with parvo not being treated. We need to get a lot of dogs vaccinated to prevent it." If anyone suspects a dog has parvo, they are advised to contact the RSPCA.

But Dr Dixon-Hughes asked people not to bring infected pets into the clinic until instructed so as to avoid passing on the virus.

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