Temporary closure of animal dropboxes due to parvovirus outbreak

Gunnedah Shire Council

Gunnedah Shire Council has temporarily closed the drop-boxes at its Animal Impound Facility because of an outbreak of canine parvovirus.

A number of dogs have been surrendered anonymously through the facility’s surrender boxes recently and some of these young dogs have been positive to parvovirus.

To better manage symptomatic animals and reduce the risk of parvovirus affecting other seized dogs in the Animal Impound Facility, the surrender boxes on Quia Road were closed last week until further notice.

Gunnedah Shire residents who want to surrender or deliver a companion animal to Council will need to contact Council’s Regulatory Services team during business hours on (02) 6740 2100 to discuss their options.

Canine parvovirus is a serious and often fatal gastrointestinal viral disease that impacts unvaccinated puppies and dogs.

Vet Chelsea Mitchell said Gunnedah Veterinary Hospital has treated about 14 cases in the last month and some of the dogs had to be euthanised.

Ms Mitchell said the virus was generally spread in contaminated faeces by unvaccinated dogs, many of whom have been roaming around town.

“Clinical signs are pretty consistent – lethargy, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhoea. Not all dogs will vomit and not all dogs will have diarrhoea. If it’s quite severe, they will have blood in the diarrhoea.”

Ms Mitchell said there was no cure, so hydration was vital to survival.

“Because they aren’t able to keep down water… they’re severely dehydrated and usually get secondary bacteria infections, and that’s usually what kills them,” she said.

If owners suspect their dog has parvovirus, Ms Mitchell advised to call the veterinary clinic, not visit, so a test can be organised before the animal enters the clinic.

Prevention is the key to keeping dogs safe, and puppies should be vaccinated at six, eight and 12 weeks, then they should receive a yearly booster.

“Vaccination is 99.9 percent effective in preventing parvovirus infections, so ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and if you have a puppy that hasn’t had the full course, make sure it isn’t being taken out and exposed.” Ms Mitchell said.

Council’s Regulatory Services coordinator Wade Berryman said vaccination was strongly encouraged as part of responsible pet ownership.

“Pet owners are reminded that the health and well-being of their animals is their responsibility under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act NSW,” Mr Berryman said.

“Owners who want to surrender healthy pets should first contact an approved rehoming organisation to find their dog or cat a ‘furever’ home.”

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