Poor missy carried a dreaded dog disease

NAOMI Pritchard thought she would spend plenty of time getting to know her new puppy in the days after getting it as a 21st birthday present.

However, she has hardly seen anything of little Missy, a Staffordshire terrier cross, who has been in a veterinary clinic since Naomi got her, and has ended up costing her hundreds of dollars.

Naomi's partner bought Missy from the Rockhampton pound early this week.

The initial joy has turned to “heartbreak” because Missy had parvovirus - a contagious virus that invades the intestines and attacks white blood cells.

Council yesterday said it was investigating “the instance of parvovirus in the region's pounds”.

A council spokeswoman said the council would stop selling animals until the investigation was done.

She said the council did not vaccinate animals put up for sale at the pound, but did advise potential buyers a vet check-up and vaccination were encouraged after buying an animal.

She said the council would still need to use the city pound to hold wandering dogs.

“This is a good reminder for dog owners to ensure their dog is kept at home in a secure enclosure,” she said.

Local veterinarian Kris Thompson from Rockhampton Veterinary Clinic said parvovirus was a highly contagious and resilient virus which lives in the environment.

“This time of year, it's usual to see parvovirus in the community as the virus is more prevalent in warmer weather. In fact, we've already seen several cases of the virus already,” she said.

“The disease lives in the ground and dogs need to be fully vaccinated. Young dogs up to 18 months of age are most at risk and we would strongly urge owners to vaccinate their dogs. Young dogs require two vaccinations to become resistant to the virus.”

Naomi said she was concerned there were other people who recently bought dogs from the pound and would be going through the same heartache.

“I don't think I will be able to afford to keep her alive,” she said.

PARVOVIRUS • Invades the dog's intestines and kills cells, allowing bacteria to invade the dog • It also attacks white blood cells so dogs have a reduced immunity • The virus can live in the ground for up to two years and is picked up through faeces • Mainly affects dogs less than 12 months old • Virus is treatable with antibiotics

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