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Parvoviral Infection: Scourge Of 2011

Published by Guardian on Sat, 31 Dec 2011


THE end of the year comes with a lot of stock taking, and it is not different in the pet industry. We had the usual fluctuations: Some good, some not too good and some were quite challenging.The unpalatable events masked and blighted the happy moments some owners had with their pooches.Quite a lot of first-time pet owners and those who were acquiring puppies experienced the unsavoury events of loss of their puppies and waste of hard-earned money.Most of the puppy deaths this year were due to a viral condition called Parvovirus infection, which is among a group of disease conditions that are called puppy-hood diseases in the dog.They include Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus infection and Para-influenza (Simply put-DHLP+P)They often affect puppies and are preponderant between the ages of six and 20 weeks of age. This does not, however, exclude infection before or after these ages.The focus of this discussion is, however, Parvovirus infection, which often presents in two forms: One form attacks the gastro-intestinal system, and the other affects the heart muscles (both are very fatal).In practice, only about 10 per cent success rate has been recorded in the management of this disease and these largely depend on a lot of factors, which cannot be discussed at this time.I recall that I had discussed the condition before and proffered solutions to counter it, but it seemed our best efforts in the industry have not yielded quantifiable and measurable results.The assaults continued unabated and losses were even more profound, especially towards the end of the year. It was horrendous and so heart-rending.Definitely, this cannot be allowed to continue into the coming year. Investigations have revealed that everyone involved in the industry may have contributed to the problem.Owners have been found to be ignorant of the fact of immunisation of their puppies. Such an exercise is considered to be a luxury by some persons who believe the pets can take care of themselves naturally.Some knowledgeable owners blame time and forgetfulness for not immunising their pets when due and would not do so until their puppies start to show signs of illness, and at which time it is almost late to do anything.A lot of owners engage the services of quacks to do the immunisation and this exposes their puppies to a lot of danger. The quacks lack the basic knowledge of art and science of immunisation.Most of the time, they do not know the exact time to challenge the puppies with vaccines. Often times, they vaccinate sick puppies, some at the threshold of being sick. Some that are not even due to be vaccinated are all challenged-simply because of the money.The vaccines being used open another can of worms. These people often use impotent vaccines, because they do not appreciate the sense of keeping vaccines in well-maintained cold-chains and the events that must exist before the vaccines are administered to the puppies.It is also not uncommon to give blank shots. I had encountered quacks that have given ordinary injection water as vaccines to unsuspecting owners who were eager to pay the low fees for nothing.There is also an emerging trend by some breeders. They either vaccinate too early or too late and either of these can lead to deleterious consequences.Early vaccination often leads to neutralisation of the maternal immunity conferred on the puppies by their mother, which subsequently leaves such puppies bare without protection.Not a few breeders have been encountered in the receding year vaccinating puppies at three to four weeks of life. This is quite not good because the maternal immunity only starts to wane at about five to six weeks of age, and this can be quite disconcerting for the puppies.Another sorry practice by breeders is to lie about the fact of vaccination. These breeders do not vaccinate at all or vaccinate when the puppies have lost all their passive protection and are exposed to environmental influences of adult neighbours.These set of puppies pick up the wild virus readily and succumb to the disease very quickly.(The discussion continues in the New Year).
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