THE Australian Veterinary Association is asking owners to make sure their dogs are up-to-date with their vaccinations with a high risk of exposure to parvovirus at this time of year.
AVA president Paula Parker said that many pets' lives were unnecessarily put at risk because they hadn't had the vaccinations they need to protect themselves from parvovirus.
"Young puppies and dogs that have never been vaccinated are susceptible to the virus with death in a high proportion of cases," she said.
Commonly known as parvo, the disease is not new to Australia.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and is spread by oral or nasal contact with contaminated faeces, a contaminated environment or through contaminated objects.
Outbreaks continue to occur around the nation with several hot spots located in several states.
Recently three dogs were saved from death row by Toowoomba organisation off The Chain K9 Rescue Qld only to have two of them contract parvo and die.
Founder Jess Otto was heartbroken and shared the nasty reality of parvo.
"Not even 30 hours ago these dogs were happy and energetic and running around their pen in the pound," she said.
"One perished and the other was fading before my eyes. His test came back positive and so I chose to euthanise him.
"His suffering until that point had been short-lived, but brutal. There was no coming back from it and no discussion to be had. He was cuddled into his dead friend's corpse for comfort."
Ms Parker said it was all about vaccinations.
"Canine parvo is a disease that we have really good vaccines for. Unfortunately, vaccination is not happening with the right puppies in the right place at the right time," she said.
"All puppies from six weeks of age should be vaccinated against parvovirus and other canine diseases.
"Follow-up vaccinations are also required, and your local veterinarians can advise on the best type of protection for your area. If you are unsure of your pet's vaccination status you should also contact your veterinarian for advice."
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