GREYTOWN is currently experiencing a drastic increase in numbers of both the Parvo virus (Cat flu) and kennel cough cases. Both diseases are hard to treat but can be easily prevented by vaccination. Umvoti Animal Hospital (220 Durban Street) is offering a vaccination special on Friday, December 7 from 9 am to 3 pm. PARVO VIRUS Canine Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo) is a highly contagious disease that affects dogs. It can be a deadly disease, particularly in young puppies. The Parvo virus can be found and transmitted to dogs in almost any environment. Dogs can become infected when they come into contact with the virus, which can be found in the faeces of an infected dog, bedding, bowls, carpets, floors etc. Parvo is a very tough virus and it can survive in extreme heat as well as freezing conditions, it is also resistant to many detergents. When a dog is exposed to the Parvo virus, they usually start to show symptoms of the illness three to 10 days later. Typical symptoms in a dog with Parvo • Lethargy • Vomiting (often with blood) • Bloody diarrhoea • Loss of appetite • Dehydration • Fever There is no treatment to kill the Parvo virus once a dog has been infected. Dogs and puppies can receive treatment for their symptoms but survival rates are often low. The best way to protect your dogs from the virus is to have them vaccinated. Puppies need a full set of vaccinations and adult dogs need to receive booster vaccinations. Puppies must be brought in for their first vaccination at six weeks, followed by two more each a month apart. Puppies are not fully immune until they have had all three vaccinations. KENNEL COUGH Kennel cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection caused by a wide range of both bacteria and viruses. Kennel cough causes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract including the trachea (wind pipe) and larynx (voice box). Kennel cough is an airborne disease and dogs become infected when they inhale bacteria and virus particles into their respiratory tracts. This can happen when an infected dog barks, coughs, or sneezes, releasing thousands of microscopic contaminants into the air. These contaminants can stay alive for up to two weeks in the air on tiny dust particles, travelling through the environment until they reach another host dog. A dog infected with kennel cough usually has a consistent, forceful cough and many people mistake this for something stuck in the dog’s throat. The cough can be dry and hoarse or produce mucous (slime). Some dogs also develop a discharge from their eyes and nose. Most dogs will still have an appetite and continue to eat and drink normally. Kennel cough can be treated by your veterinarian after a diagnosis has been made. Response to treatment can be slow however vaccination prevents the disease and is more cost effective.