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Parvovirus Alert

There has been a significant increase in the number of cases of parvovirus reported by local veterinary clinics on Grand Cayman, the Department of Agriculture reports today (Friday, 1 May 2015).

Parvovirus is a highly infectious disease in dogs that causes severe vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. It is often fatal and commonly affects young dogs and those that have not been routinely vaccinated.

To safeguard against this disease, a dog's annual vaccinations include parvovirus, and those that are current on these vaccinations have high levels of protection against the disease.

Vaccinations are especially important if a dog is to be placed in boarding facilities, 'doggy daycare', or is being moved from its location. To prevent the spread of the virus or other illnesses, it is recommended that unvaccinated dogs (including puppies which have not completed their full course of initial vaccines) should not be taken to areas where they will come into contact with other dogs or their faeces.

Persons who suspect their animal may be sick should take it to a local veterinarian. It is best to call ahead and alert the vet, so that proper isolation and quarantine practices can take place before an animal enters the veterinary clinic. Pet owners must also restrict travel with pets until they have been fully vaccinated, received all necessary treatments, and are deemed healthy enough to travel by a veterinarian.

Following parvovirus treatment, pet-owners should also consult their veterinarian as to when it is safe to move around with dogs, or have their have pet interact with other dogs.

Only dogs and puppies which are fully vaccinated against parvovirus should be allowed entry into the home of a dog which was recently diagnosed with this disease.

Most animals which are diagnosed early, receive the appropriate treatment, and survive the first few days of illness, tend to make a full recovery, and develop long-term immunity.

  • Disinfection of surfaces can help prevent the spread of parvovirus. A diluted bleach solution (one part bleach to 30 parts water) can be used to disinfect bowls, floors, surfaces, toys, kennels, bedding and anything that may be contaminated and is colourfast or for which colour changes are not important.
  • First remove any organic matter, such as soil, and allow for at least 10 minutes of contact time with the bleach solution.
  • Disinfect and dry items twice before reusing them.
  • Disinfect clothing and footwear as soon as possible if in contact with other dogs, after walks where other dogs may have been, or if in contact with dogs and travelling overseas or between the Cayman Islands.
  • Disinfection becomes problematic for non-bleachable surfaces such as carpet or lawn. Outdoors, if good drainage is available, a thorough watering down of the area may dilute any virus present. Additionally, a disinfectant can be used outdoors with a spray hose, although this will be less effective when compared to application to a clean, indoor surface.

For more information on how to best protect dogs from Parvovirus, persons should contact their local veterinary clinic or the Department of Agriculture, at 181 Lottery Road, Lower Valley, tel. 947-3090.