Parvo outbreak continues to spread

JABBED: RSPCA Port Lincoln vet Isabel Thorne vaccinating a dog against parvovirus with the help of Ray Dickinson and Mark Huan from the Whyalla City Council. Photo: supplied.
JABBED: RSPCA Port Lincoln vet Isabel Thorne vaccinating a dog against parvovirus with the help of Ray Dickinson and Mark Huan from the Whyalla City Council. Photo: supplied.

A combination of ideal weather conditions and an area of low vaccination has led to one of the worst parvovirus outbreaks in Whyalla's history, with cases continuing to grow.

Local vet Andrew Melville-Smith has seen between 40-50 cases of the deadly disease at the Whyalla Veterinary Clinic, with some dogs having to be put down.

Mr Melville-Smith says it's one of the most serious oubreaks he has ever seen, impacting not only Whyalla but Port Lincoln and Port Augusta as well.

"This particular strain is hitting all dogs including older dogs, so we've got older dogs getting sick and dying from it," he said.

"Whyalla is a hotspot because out west we have an area with low vaccination rates."

The mild weather has contributed to the outbreak, which has been clustered in Whyalla Stuart, preventing the virus from being washed away by the rain or dried out by warmer weather.

The only way for owners to save their dogs is to vaccinate, and Mr Melville-Smith is encouraging the community to get their dogs jabbed as soon as possible.

"Right now it's much the same as it is with COVID, vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate," he said.

Parvo is spread through dog feaces so if your dog has been diagnosed with parvo, the best course of action is to pick up any droppings in the yard and wait for some hot weather to sterilise the area.

"Feaces are also tracked in on your shoes, quite a lot of people have a habit of wearing their outdoor shoes inside - a puppy can sniff the shoes and catch parvo that way," Mr Melville-Smith.

"You should change your shoes before you go into the house so you don't bring anything in."

RSPCA Whyalla Shelter Manager Andre Sliedrecht has been busy informing the community about the virus, doorknocking in Whyalla Stuart to warn residents about parvo.

RSPCA Port Lincoln Animal Care Centre Manager Isabel Thorne followed this up by providing free vaccinations for 24 dogs in the area.

"I strongly urge the Whyalla community to check their dog's vaccination status and contact your local veterinarian to organise an appointment if your fur baby is overdue or yet to receive a vaccine," she said.

The RSPCA intend to vaccinate a further 100 dogs over the coming weeks. You can book in for a vaccination at the Whyalla Veterinary Clinic by calling 8645 9926.