Canine parvovirus affecting more puppies in recent days

Published - June 11, 2024 10:08 pm IST - MADURAI 

The spread of canine parvovirus among dogs has witnessed a rise in Madurai district in recent days.

While a government veterinary doctor said it was a seasonal spread during pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons, he did not deny that the case load had increased when compared to previous years. Hospitals received more than 10 cases in a day this year, a hike by five over last year.

As there were no specific reasons, he said, it might be due to the rapid change of climate. “While it could be stopped by preventive vaccination, not many owners have the knowledge of vaccinating their dogs for the particular virus,” he added.

Like Anti-Rabies Vaccine (ARV), the vaccine for parvovirus was not provided for free or available in government veterinary hospitals, barring a few government veterinary colleges, he added. “The owners have to vaccinate their dogs in private hospitals where a dose would cost around ₹600,” he noted.

The doctor said the highly contagious canine parvovirus manifested itself in two forms – intestinal form and the less common cardiac form. Common symptoms in the dogs were bloody diarrhoea, dehydration, lethargy, vomiting, anorexia and collapse.

As there was no real cure for the viral infection, a veterinary doctor noted, the primary course would be to treat the symptoms and prevent secondary bacterial infections.

“Vaccination against the virus is very important and puppies younger than 16 weeks should receive their first dose between the sixth and eighth weeks, then two more doses two to four weeks apart. Dogs older than 16 weeks with no previous vaccination or an unknown history should receive two doses 2-4 weeks apart,” the doctor said.

Another government veterinary doctor said, a few years ago they received only foreign breeds of dogs infected with the virus, but now even native breeds were being affected with it.

“This means the virus has changed its genomic structure capable of affecting all types of dogs. Vaccination is the only cure for it. The viral infection will only result in the death of the dog,” the doctor said.

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