We have been informed that a virus is being released in the first week of March 2017
for biocontrol measures in wild rabbits, this in turn may impact our pet rabbits. A new vaccine schedule has been recommended to protect against the Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV).
The signs of the disease progress rapidly from fever and lethargy to sudden death within 48-72 hours of infection. The incubation period for the disease is between one to three days. Most rabbits will show no signs of external symptoms.
It is extremely important that you take action to start your pet rabbit on the new vaccine schedule requirements as below
Kittens: 4, 8, 12 weeks of age, then 6 monthly for life
Adults: 2 vaccinations 1 month apart, then 6 monthly for life
Please contact us to make an appointment for your pet to protect against this virus.
The once vanquished viral
disease feline panleukopenia has caused the death of scores of cats in Sydney
in recent weeks, investigations into the outbreak by researchers from the
University of Sydney show.
Blacktown City Council is the latest area to announce an outbreak, last night issuing a statement saying its Animal Holding Facility would be closed to cats and it was placing a hold on adoptions and cat rescues until the outbreak was under control.
The symptoms are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, followed by vomiting and diarrhoea. In severe infections cats can die suddenly with no signs.
Sydney veterinarian Dr Tanya Stephens, owner of Haberfield Veterinary clinic, said she had not diagnosed a case for 40 years. That was until about two weeks ago when her practice diagnosed the disease in four rescued stray kittens. The kittens died after a short illness.
The disease has also struck three animal shelters in western Sydney, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 cats. Affected cats were mostly kittens that had not yet been vaccinated, or were not fully vaccinated.
DNA sequencing by University of Sydney Professor Vanessa Barrs has confirmed that the strain of virus causing the outbreak in Australia is feline panleukopenia virus (FPV).
It coincides with several large outbreaks of parvovirus in dogs in NSW, around the Shoalhaven area as well as the Riverina region and Tamworth.
“The message for pet owners is make sure your dogs and cats are vaccinated against these deadly infections,” said Professor Barrs, from the Sydney School of Veterinary Science and Marie Bashir Institute .
“Disease in cats is caused by parvoviruses, small DNA viruses. The main one is feline panleukopenia virus but parvoviruses that infect dogs can also cause the disease in cats.”
However, there is no risk for humans as the disease cannot be passed on to them.
Feline panleukopenia virus, also known as feline enteritis, is a deadly viral infection of cats that was first discovered more than 100 years ago. With the uptake of vaccinations, disease virtually disappeared from Australia in the mid-1970s.
The current outbreak is particularly dangerous because it occurs in the middle of summer, when there are larger numbers of kittens around, which are most susceptible to the disease.
The research by Professor Barrs and her colleagues indicates that current vaccines should be effective.
“The current outbreak seems to be caused by a lack of mass vaccination, especially in shelter-housed cats,” Professor Barrs said.
“The disease had previously re-emerged in Melbourne cat shelters a few years ago but despite warnings, cats have not been vaccinated in many shelters because their risk of disease was perceived to be lower than in dogs, when in reality the risk to cats is high.
“When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, there is a perfect storm for the emergence of a disease epidemic. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals where effective vaccines are available is essential”.
Take home message - If your pet has lapsed with vaccinations it is highly important you contact us asap to make an appointment or if you have any questions.
Media release from the University of Sydney
We sure have had some hot days and we are all feeling it! When we leave home for the day and flick on the air con in the car it can be easy to forget about our animals left in the heat at home. We see animals come into our hospital suffering from heatstroke and if left untreated at home this can be very dangerous to your pet.
So here are some tips our team use to keep our dogs cool on the hot long days.
It is just so important to make sure your pet always have access to cool clean water. You can place water bowls in shady areas of the yard and if you pet is home alone it’s a good idea to have more than one water bowl available during the day. Placing ice cubes or ice bricks in the water can also help to keep the water cool.
For dogs that love to swim and play in the water, Clam pools are great to have as their very own swimming pool, they are cheap and easy to clean and your dog can swim whenever he or she feels like it! Using the hose to wet down outdoor pets can also help with keeping them cool when you're home.
Escaping the heat
Ensure your pet has access to shady cool areas in the yard at all times; This can vary from a shady bush to lie under, the back verandah or they just love coming inside with the air conditioning on!
Ice blocks for dogs
One of our teams favourite things to do is make our own yummy ice blocks for our pets! These are a great cheap and easy way to encourage your pet to drink more water and help them to stay cool; they are also excellent for pets who get bored easily! All you need is a container (ice cream containers work great for dogs and Margarine containers are great for smaller dogs), water and pets favorite treats. Simply add the water and treats to the container and freeze overnight! Be creative, you can also use chicken necks, Frankfurts cut into pieces, liver treats, you can even add a small amount of beef/chicken stock for flavour or why not try dog ice cube treats! Caution: Always remove any uneaten food as once the ice has melted any meat will go off in the heat.
Do not exercise your pet during the day; this includes walking and playing in the yard. Early mornings and late in the afternoon when the sun is going down are the best times to exercise with your pet. Also be aware that when walking your pets on the road or footpath that the hot concrete can burn the pads of their feet so it’s best to wait until it cools down.
Travelling with pets
When travelling with your pets always make sure you take water and a bowl for them to drink from. It’s also illegal to leave your pet in the car unattended. Pets will overheat very quickly in a car and this can cause fatality within a short period of time.
Clipping and grooming your pets in the hotter months can help to keep them cool. Having shorter hair however can expose them to the risk of sunburn so pets should be watched closely with short hair, especially white coated animals.
suspect your pet may be suffering from heat exhaustion please contact us as
soon as possible.
Irrawang Veterinary Hospital
Ph: 4987 1898
3/17 Port Stephens Street, Raymond Terrace 2324
Thornton Veterinary Hospital
Ph: 4966 1133
3/ 30 Railway Avenue, Thornton 2322
What is Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious and life threatening virus that affects dogs of all ages, but is most severe in young puppies. It is during the warmer months that we see more outbreaks, commonly these puppies that are affected live in the same or nearby suburbs.
How is it spread?
It is spread through contact with faeces from an infected dog, or by contaminated footwear, floors, carpets etc. People can spread the disease even if their dog does not leave the house, and the virus can live in the environment for months!
What are the symptoms?
Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system and destroys the immune system. Symptoms include vomiting, bloody foul smelling diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, depression and even death.
How do we prevent it?
Parvovirus vaccination, like other vaccinations, work better on "herd immunity", which means the more dogs that are vaccinated in an area the less prevalent the virus becomes in that area. Vaccinating your adult dog will help to protect other young puppies in your area.
Puppies need to be vaccinated at 6, 12 and 16 weeks of age, followed up by yearly or 3 yearly boosters for the rest of their life. Vaccinating your breeding dog will also help to protect the pups until they are old enough for vaccination.
How do we treat parvovirus?
Any symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea in puppies are suspected of having parvovirus. We use an in-house test kit to confirm the disease. There is no cure for parvovirus and treatment involves supportive care, including intensive hospitalisation and in some cases blood or plasma transfusions are required. Without prompt treatment most puppies will die. Intensive treatment is often successful. The outcome, in our experience, depends on how sick the puppy is when we first start treatment.
Vaccination is the most important thing we can do for our puppies, breeding dogs, adults and senior dogs. The more vaccinated dogs there are, the less outbreaks we will see.