Canine Parvovirus Runs Rampant In Rural Australia

Illness puppy with intravenous anything on the operating table in a veterinary clinic

Picture Credit: kozorog / Getty Images

A recent study by the University of Sydney discovered that canine parvovirus, or CPV, is more prevalent than previously thought. In fact, it’s running rampant in rural areas of Australia, claiming the lives of nearly 10,000 puppies last year alone.

According to the findings, improvements in vaccination and treatment of parvo have not significantly improved the death rate in these areas. In many cases, the owners of these puppies remain unaware of the danger, do not seek vaccination, and can’t afford treatment when the dog falls ill.

The results of the study point to location as a factor: the dog owners’ remoteness makes it difficult or time-consuming to seek vet care, resulting in a higher infection rate.

To prevent CPV, veterinarians and animal activists hope to spread word about the disease and encourage pet owners to get the proper vaccinations.

What Is Canine Parvovirus?

A cluster of Canine Parvovirus particles (PDB 1C8D).

(Picture Credit: Science Picture Co / Getty Images)

CPV, known commonly as “parvo,” is a viral infection that affects the intestinal lining in dogs. It causes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and ultimately death. The euthanasia rate for this disease is extremely high, averaging about 41 percent in Australia.

The disease is highly drug resistant, highly infectious, and extremely deadly–particularly to puppies. For that reason, it’s vital to protect your puppy from CPV until they are fully vaccinated.

How To Prevent Parvo

The most surefire way to prevent CPV is to vaccinate your puppy. An easy way to do this is to adopt puppies who have already received their mandatory vaccinations. If you’re caring for a pregnant dog, you should contact your vet before mom gives birth. Once the puppies are born, talk to your veterinarian about setting a date for vaccinations and other necessary medications.

Until the vaccination series is complete, avoid letting your puppy come into contact with other dogs. Do not let them sniff the feces of other dogs, and clean their feet after bringing them inside. Avoid puppy daycares and kennels until your puppy is completely immunized. CPV can transmit from dog to dog in a number of ways, so be cautious.

The current CPV situation in Australia arises mostly from lack of education and availability due to location and poverty level. However, that does not diminish the core issue: dogs are not receiving vaccines, so the disease is spreading wildly. The more people know about this disease and proper vaccinations, the better we can combat it.

Has your dog had their parvovirus vaccination? Have you seen the effects of CPV first hand? Share your stories below.