Two puppies have been euthanised in the past couple of weeks as an outbreak of parvovirus has come to Waihi.

Parvo is an infectious gastrointestinal disease to dogs causes vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and bloody diarrhoea. The virus is highly contagious and spreads through either direct contact with an infected dog or faeces.

It can be lethal, especially for puppies.

One case of parvo is one too many, says Waihi Veterinary Services clinic manager Jan Bert Pape, and dog owners should be on alert.

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In the last two-three weeks the clinic has seen four cases of parvo with two dogs treated — and two puppies needing to be euthanised.

"And there will be more dogs affected as there will be some people who won't bring their animals in," Jan Bert says.

Parvo is a very resilient virus, he says. It can exist on surfaces for up to a year.

"In the first instance you will see a loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy and diarrhoea often with blood.

"There is a socio economic aspect for those who do not vaccinate their animals but the treatment is long and expensive. They will need to be quarantined, need fluids, antibiotics and supplements and there is no guarantee they will survive. A lot of puppies die even if you treat them. Older dogs have a better chance."

Preventative action is always the best option, he says, and vaccination is all you can do. Jan Bert recommends all unvaccinated puppies remain indoors until they are completely vaccinated (vaccination is usually at six weeks, then every month until 14 weeks old, at one and at three years).

The clinic asks clients not be offended if suspected cases are asked to come around the back of the building when an appointment is booked. Dogs will be examined in the car to keep premises safe.