Outbreak ongoing

Deadly canine parvovirus is continuing to be a problem in Marlborough, with three dogs succumbing in the past two months.

The Vet Centre Marlborough senior veterinarian Dr Mark Wiseman said he had seen 16 infected dogs in the past six weeks. Three had died.

"Since the beginning of December we have had an outbreak of the parvovirus and there is no sign of it slowing down," he said.

"We manage to save 75 per cent but about one in four die."

The parvovirus is a highly contagious and painful virus that strips the lining of a dog's stomach.

It causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

In many cases dogs die due to dehydration and blood poisoning.

Owners needed to ensure their dog's vaccinations were up to date to prevent them catching it, Dr Wiseman said.

All three vet clinics in Blenheim had, on average, two puppies a day coming in with the virus, he said.

There is no specific treatment for the virus but with intensive care some dogs survive.

Intensive care was expensive, with costs totalling more than $1000.

Parvovirus spreads through infected dog faeces and can survive in soil for many years, Mr Wiseman said.

Puppies were most vulnerable to parvovirus but adult dogs could also get sick, he said.

The virus could be eliminated if everyone took their puppies to a vet for vaccinations at 6 to 8 weeks old, then monthly until 16 weeks, which would cost $210 to $225.

Booster shots were given a year later, then every three years.

The Marlborough Express