Contrary to earlier hopes that the recent death of a dog due to the Canine Parvo Virus (CPV) was an isolated incident confined to the De Waal Park area of Cape Town CBD, the Animal Welfare Society released a statement confirming that the fatal virus has now spread to a number of other neighbourhoods in the Southern Suburbs.
The virus is so potent that it is able to be carried and transmitted by unwitting third party vectors via the soles of their shoes or clothing. All dogs and puppies are at risk regardless of demographics, and all pet owners are strongly urged to vaccinate their pets and to be extra vigilant.
“There are several affordable and practical bio-security precautionary measures that pet owners can take including dunking the soles of their shoes into a strong bleach solution to disinfect their shoes before entering their property and avoiding walking in areas frequented by potentially infected dogs (especially those areas where dog walkers tend not to pick-up their dogs faeces) until the situation normalises,” said Allan Perrins, Resource Development and Communications Officer of the Animal Welfare Society.
Worrying signs to look out for include diarrhoea, listlessness, loss of appetite and lethargy. Any dog or puppy displaying any of these symptoms or that appears to be ‘off colour’ should be seen by a veterinarian without delay. A snap-test will quickly confirm whether or not the pet has parvovirus.
“Pet owners should also be aware that the virus can survive for many months on an infected property and are strongly discouraged from acquiring another dog or puppy for at least 6 months,” Perrins added.
“In one case brought to our attention yesterday [January 23] the distraught owner claims that her dog was fully vaccinated and never left their premises yet it contracted the virus. The dog is currently in Intensive Care fighting for its life at a Pinelands Vet. It is very likely that this unfortunate dog was unwittingly infected by one of the occupants of or visitors to the premises who must have walked in a contaminated area or come into contact with another infected dog.”
Last year, CPV claimed the lives of hundreds of dogs and puppies in the Garden Route, Khayelitsha and areas of the Cape Flats and required a Herculean effort to stop it from spreading and claiming more lives. “In almost all of these cases the owners neglected to vaccinate their pets, had them vaccinated by a dubious person or bought them unvaccinated at a reduced price from unscrupulous breeders,” the statement said.