Parvo warning for Rockhampton as deadly outbreak hits

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Nine-month-old rescue puppy being treated for parvo at Rockhampton Torenbeek Veterinary Clinic

A Queensland veterinarian is calling on Rockhampton residents to urgently vaccinate their puppies and dogs, with the town experiencing a spike in parvovirus (parvo) cases since February—leaving 13 puppies and dogs dead. 

Twenty four puppies and dogs have been struck down by the disease, with Torenbeek Veterinary Clinic seeing 16 cases in the past three weeks—including older dogs—leading to 11 deaths. 

Alma Street Veterinary Clinic is treating five other puppies in hospital, while four rescue puppies have also been infected, two fatally. 

Paws for A Purpose (PFAP) founder and veterinarian Dr Mark Kelman said these latest deaths were preventable and more deaths can be stopped if residents act quickly. 

PFAP managed to identify the outbreak, as the national charity is working with Rockhampton Regional Council to offer eligible residents heavily discounted parvo vaccinations at Alma Street Veterinary Hospital and Torenbeek Veterinary Clinic. 

Vouchers are now available from Rockhampton Regional Council, for local residents with Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards, Pension Concession Cards, Health Care Cards, or those on a Newstart allowance. 

“It is so important we do whatever we can to protect our dogs. The standard cost for these vaccinations is around $100, but now people who need a little extra assistance can get these for as little as $15,” Dr Kelman said.

“The late seasonal rain seems to have brought on this outbreak and any dogs and puppies that are not fully vaccinated are at risk. Scientific studies have shown an association between recent rain and parvo outbreaks, however, we are not exactly sure why—one theory is that the rain might physically move the virus into contact with domestic dogs. 

“With increasing numbers of puppies being infected right now with the virus, it shows that these pets have not been fully vaccinated. The highest risk is for puppies that have not had their 16 week vaccination, or are younger than 16 weeks and haven’t been vaccinated in the past month.” 

To apply for the parvo vaccination vouchers, visit any of the Rockhampton Regional Council’s Customer Service Centres, contact Customer Service on (07) 4932 9000 or email enquiries@rrc.qld.gov.au.

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