Killer virus sparks warning

A highly contagious virus that is deadly to dogs has appeared in western Queensland, with three animals infected in a week.

Cases of canine parvovirus reappeared at veterinary clinics in Mount Isa over the weekend, sparking calls for residents to take precautionary measure to protect their pets.

Paws, Hoofs and Claws Charity president Sue Carson admitted three dogs with the potentially fatal virus to the veterinary last week.

Bear, a four-month old collie cross and two newborn French-Boxer cross puppies were still recovering from the illness.

Mrs Carson said the highly contagious virus existed anywhere infected animals had been and could lay dormant in the ground for morethan a year.

"It's passed through bodily fluids like urine and faeces," she said.

"Its not just in backyards, it can affect parks and footpaths too."

Mrs Carson said people new to Mount Isa or thinking about purchasing a new pet needed to be wary of where they took their dogs.

"It's a timely warning for the residents of Mount Isa," she said.

"You really need to keep your pets vaccinated and must be aware of bringing puppies into new yards - you just don't know the history of the land."

Mrs Carson said the three vaccinations puppies required to ward off the virus were expensive, but watching pets struggle with the virus could be emotionally and financially taxing.

"It has been really upsetting seeing the animals go through this, especially because they are so tiny and weak," she said.

"Most of them have to go onto a drip for up to a week to try and keep their fluids up and some don't make it."

Len Fulham from Mount Isa Veterinary Clinic said there was awareness in the community about parvovirus, but cases were still coming in.

"We've had a burst of cases in the last fortnight but the virus usually affects more animals during spring and summer," he said.

"Mount Isa's large population turnover and large dog population help keep the virus going as well."

Dr Fulham said in many instances owners wouldn't be able to tell if their pet had the virus until it was too late.

"Overnight they may not be eating well and in the morning they will be very ill, possibly vomiting or suffering from diarrhoea."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop