High Street Vet owner Jocelyn Birch Baker warns of a parvo virus outbreak in Rockhampton, urging all dog owners to get their pets vaccinated.
High Street Vet owner Jocelyn Birch Baker warns of a parvo virus outbreak in Rockhampton, urging all dog owners to get their pets vaccinated. Amber Hooker

Rocky vet's warning: Dogs will die without this vaccine

DOG owners are being urged to vaccinate their pets after an outbreak of the parvovirus in Rockhampton.

Two dogs have already died after being infected with the virus, and it is expected the numbers could rise if owners don't vaccinate.

High Street Veterinary Clinic has seen up to eight dogs with parvo in the last six weeks, with other local clinics reporting similar numbers.

No home is safe from the virus, said High Street Vet Dr Jocelyn Birch Baker.

"It's in the soil, it's everywhere," she said.

"Rockhampton tends to get outbreaks of parvo every now and then.

"Sometimes it seems to increase with wet weather but the point is we need to get these dogs vaccinated.

"I don't think owners understand the severity. They think it'll be okay or they forget."

Dr Birch Baker said the mortality rate of unvaccinated dogs is a staggering 90 per cent.

That rate decreases to 80 per cent if treatment is sought, which can come with the hefty price tag of around $2000.

The cost of preventative measures are far less expensive, with a series of three vaccinations costing between $250-$300.

Owners have been urged not to rely on treatment measures to save their beloved pooch's life, as the vicious virus is not always curable.

Many dogs perish from dehydration as the virus causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

Dr Birch Baker said many new owners don't consider the financial cost of raising a dog, and neglect to fund the crucial medical costs such as vaccinations, worming, and flea treatments, as well as microchipping.

"If you're struggling financially, don't get a puppy," she said.

"These are essential things. If you don't do them you could lose your pup.

"It's like the council says; 'your pet, your responsibility'."

High Street Veterinary Clinic is changing the vaccination schedule and increasing the number of vaccinations for puppies, with another needed at six months.

Dr Barrett Hasell of Rockhampton Veterinary Clinic said there is "no magic cure" for parvo, and four to five pups infected with the virus won't survive.

"It takes four to five days of intense treatment and despite the best treatment, dogs can still die," Dr Hasell said.

"Parvo virus is resistant to natural elements that kill viruses like sunlight and drying out.

"It spreads very easily around town via people's feet. You just have to walk through a property where a dog has vomited and you can carry it home.

"Vaccination means dogs can develop antibodies that recognise the virus. When the virus crosses the intestinal barrier, it has to be absorbed into the blood stream to go anywhere and if there are antibodies circulating they latch onto the virus and neutralise it.

"The virus gets around and is extremely contagious and very dangerous."



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