Veterinarians Remind Pet Owners of the Importance of Vaccinations After Recent Outbreaks

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - In light of a recent increase in reported cases of parvovirus in dogs, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association reminds Ontario's pet owners to ensure that their pets' visit a veterinarian on a regular basis and receive regular vaccinations to help prevent illness.

Veterinarians and the media are reporting an increase in cases of parvovirus in areas across Ontario in all settings, including animals in humane societies and in private homes.

Dr. Scott Weese, Chief of Infection Control and a professor in the Pathobiology department at the Ontario Veterinary College, believes these cases again support the importance of preventive veterinary treatments and the need for ongoing surveillance. "In recent years there has been some skepticism about the need for veterinary preventive care, ironically, this is partly because these treatments have been so successful in preventing the spread of disease, but this study shows that prevention only works if we stick with it. Pet owners need to believe in the importance of routine preventive medicine in order to control the spread of disease in our pets."

Parvovirus is a serious and potentially fatal condition that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system of puppies and dogs, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. It can also attack the hearts of very young puppies.  The virus is highly contagious and spread through direct contact with infected dogs or infected feces. It is easily carried on hands, food dishes, leashes, shoes, etc. The virus is very stable in the environment and can survive for years in feces and soil through extremes of heat, cold, drought, or humidity. Though 85 percent to 90 percent of treated dogs survive, the disease requires extensive supportive patient care and can be expensive to treat. In untreated dogs, the mortality rate can exceed 90 percent.

Although parvovirus can be a serious disease, it is easily prevented by a vaccination from a veterinarian.  "It's imperative that owners take their pets to their veterinarian on a regular basis to ensure that they remain happy and healthy," said Dr. Weese.

Founded in 1980, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association represents thousands of Ontario veterinarians in private practice, government, academia, industry and public service. Its mandate is to advance and promote excellence in the veterinary profession in Ontario, and contribute to the betterment of animal health and the protection of human health.

SOURCE: Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

For further information:

Melissa Carlaw, OVMA Manager of Communications & Public Relations
905.875.0756, ext  15 or mcarlaw@ovma.org