Parvo cases drop

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 16:14 08/04/2014

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An outbreak of the deadly canine parvovirus in Marlborough appears to be under control.

The Vet Centre Marlborough senior veterinarian Dr Mark Wiseman said he had not seen a case of the virus for about four weeks, which indicated the outbreak had "settled down".

"It just runs its natural cycle, whenever we have an epidemic like this we get a huge increase in numbers [of dogs infected] at first, then they settle down to an equilibrium," he said.

The influx of infected dogs in Marlborough began in December last year, when six puppies with the virus were treated by the centre, and it had continued to be a problem until about a month ago.

Wiseman said he would normally see a single parvo case every three months.

The virus often struck in clusters, possibly because of the number of puppies around, but was common in the environment year-round, Wiseman said.

Vets On Alabama vet Stuart Kerr said their clinic had also been clear of any cases of the virus for about five to six weeks.

"It seems that things have quietened down now which is definitely a good thing for everyone," he said.

Despite a decrease in cases in Marlborough, vets in the Wellington region are busy coping with an outbreak of the virus in their patch.

It appeared to have started in Porirua central six to eight weeks ago, before spreading to Porirua East, Titahi Bay and Tawa.

CareVets New Zealand chief executive Nick Cooper said its Porirua and Tawa clinics had been seeing a case per day, when they would usually see 12 in a year.

The highly contagious infection was very painful, destroying the dog's gut lining and often causing blood poisoning.

About 75 per cent of infected dogs survived if treated with intravenous fluid, anti-vomiting medicine, pain relief and antibiotics at a cost of $500-$1000. Left untreated, most died.

The infection could be eliminated with vaccinations when puppies were six to eight weeks old, then monthly until 16 weeks, costing $210-$280, Wiseman said.

Booster shots were recommended a year later, then every three years at least. 

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- The Marlborough Express

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