A WESTPORT-based vet has recommended the immediate vaccination of dogs, particularly young pups, following the outbreak of a strain of a contagious virus which has resulted in the death of three dogs.
Canine parvovirus has been detected in dogs in the Newport and Tiernaur region in the last week. The virus has resulted in the death of three dogs and more have been hospitalised. The contagious virus is especially severe in puppies, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and internal bleeding.
The mortality rate for the virus is very high when left untreated. It can also cause pregnant bitches to abort their pups. Older dogs are also at risk. Healthy adult dogs are generally immune to the effects of the virus.
John Paul Corrigan (pictured)of the Lodge Veterinary Hospital in Westport told The Mayo News that canine parvovirus is a very contagious and severe type of virus. It is not contagious to humans, but can be spread indirectly by humans if they come in contact with affected dogs. He urged farmers in particular to vaccinate their animals.
“The farm dog is typically not vaccinated, and it is farm dogs who suffer the most. It mostly affects young pups under a year, pregnant bitches and older dogs. This virus is particularly severe. Affected dogs run up high temperatures, which leave them vomiting, and they become dehydrated very quickly.
“The best way to prevent a dogs being infected is through vaccination, although it takes between ten and 14 days to take effect. Any dog that is vaccinated properly should be close to 100 per cent safe, and I would encourage people to have their dogs vaccinated,” he said.
The virus is believed to have been brought into the Newport area by a young pup that was brought in from outside the county a week before the outbreak. It spread from Newport towards the Tiernaur area but has not been detected in any other area. This is the first time Mr Corigan has come across the virus in Mayo, but he has treated it in Dublin and he expects more dogs to be affected before it ‘peters out’.
However, he said that the strain was ‘very stubborn’ and recommended that farmyards where an infected dog was present should be thoroughly disinfected.
“People should avoid farms where the virus was detected to prevent it spreading. The virus is also very stubborn and can remain in the ground for many years, and there may be a repeat outbreak in the future. Anyone who has a dog which contacted the virus should give their yard a thorough cleaning and disinfection,” he said. The number of cases of Kennel cough, a common respiratory infection has been reported to have risen in Mayo recently with claims that it is picked up by dogs along the Greenway.
John Paul explained that dogs brought to Mayo can sometimes spread diseases but added that Kennel cough was one of the most common diseases in Ireland. But he has not seen a substantial increase in the number of Kennel cough cases since the opening of the Greenway.
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