CD Meeting Abandoned due to Parvovirus

On Wednesday, the decision was made to abandon the CD meeting. This was due to the discovery that some of the racing dogs nominated to race had been on a property where other breeds on the property had been identified as suffering from Parvovirus.  Parvovirus is a highly contagious infection and the Greyhound community have worked really hard to keep Parvovirus out of the Greyhound population. All of our racing dogs have been vaccinated. The reason for the abandonment is that the dogs from the contaminated property had been released into the kennels at the track and Parvovirus is easily transferred via dog to dog contact, contact with contaminated faeces, environments or people. We recognize the racing dogs at the track had all been vaccinated but there was a major risk that they could have taken the virus back to their properties where it would be transferred to unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than 4 months.

All facilities at the track and the dogs and licensed persons present were fully disinfected to contain the spread and ensure that the virus was not transferred back to properties where unvaccinated greyhound puppies were present.

A decision to abandon any race meeting is not taken lightly, and specialist veterinary advice was taken before the decision was made.

Below is a summary of the parvovirus symptoms and actions needed to be followed in order to prevent the spread of Parvo Virus in the Greyhound Population.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. Dogs that are ill from canine parvovirus infection are often said to have "parvo." The virus affects dogs' gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated faeces (stool), environments, or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of faeces from an infected dog may harbour the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.

Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy; loss of appetite; abdominal pain and bloating; fever or low body temperature (hypothermia); vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhoea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhoea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.

Parvovirus infection is often suspected based on the dog's history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Faecal testing can confirm the diagnosis.

No specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, and treatment is intended to support the dog's body systems until the dog's immune system can fight off the viral infection. Treatment should be started immediately and consists primarily of intensive care efforts to combat dehydration by replacing electrolyte, protein and fluid losses, controlling vomiting and diarrhoea, and preventing secondary infections. Sick dogs should be kept warm and receive good nursing care. When a dog develops parvo, treatment can be very expensive, and the dog may die despite aggressive treatment. Early recognition and aggressive treatment are very important in successful outcomes. With proper treatment, survival rates can approach 90%.

Since parvovirus is highly contagious, isolation of infected dogs is necessary to minimize the spread of infection. Proper cleaning and disinfection of contaminated kennels and other areas where infected dogs are (or have been) housed are essential to control the spread of parvovirus. The virus is not easily killed, so consult your veterinarian for specific guidance on cleaning and disinfecting agents.

In spite of proper vaccination, a small percentage of dogs do not develop protective immunity and remain susceptible to infection.

Dogs with vomiting or diarrhoea or other dogs which have been exposed to ill dogs should not be taken to kennels, show grounds, dog parks, or other areas where they will come into contact with other dogs. Similarly, unvaccinated dogs should not be exposed to ill dogs or those with unknown vaccination histories. People who are in contact with sick or exposed dogs should avoid handling of other dogs or at least wash their hands and change their clothes before doing so.

Posted on 30 September 2020

< Back