A local veterinary clinic is urging dog owners to take extra care of their pets following a rise in cases of a deadly dog virus.
Vetcare Animal Clinic in San Ġwann has noted a rise in cases of parvovirus in dog patients over the past few weeks, prompting the clinic to take to social media to warn dog owners.
“In recent weeks we are seeing parvovirus in our dog patients.”
“This is a stark reminder that parvovirus is still present in the dog population and that it is a big killer, especially in the young,” the clinic said in a Facebook post.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that transmits from dog to dog through faeces and vomit. It causes an infectious gastrointestinal (GI) illness in puppies and young dogs, and without treatment, it is potentially deadly.
“Please ensure you get your puppies and adult dogs vaccinated regularly on the advice of your vet. Not only is it important for the protection of your dog, but it also contributes to ‘herd immunity’, reducing the chances of an outbreak of the disease in the future,” the clinic continued.
Although the source of the virus is the faeces of infected dogs, it can also be easily spread on shoes, clothing and on the coat and footpads of pets.
Humans are unaffected by the virus.
“All unvaccinated pets are at risk of contracting parvovirus, particularly those in high-risk areas and puppies from 4 weeks of age. Outbreaks of the disease continue to be regularly reported around Malta.”
The clinic has urged dog owners to make sure their pets are fully-vaccinated as it is the only proven method of preventing the disease.
“There is no specific treatment for parvovirus and affected dogs need intensive veterinary care to give them any chance of survival. It’s therefore advisable to vaccinate dogs initially as puppies and then regularly as adults.