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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Chennai: Amid canine parvovirus outbreak, 5-day vaccination drive organised

Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary in Chennai is organising a free five-day vaccination drive from July 21 to July 25 for street puppies.

Written by Shivani Ramakrishnan | Chennai |
Updated: July 22, 2021 3:04:19 pm
puppies, Chennai, stray puppiesPuppies are most susceptible to parvovirus. (Express Photo: Shivani Ramakrishnan)

With Chennai having received intermittent showers in the evenings for the past one week, there has been an increase in canine parvovirus cases being reported in the city.

Parvovirus is a contagious virus which affects the intestinal tract of canines.

“The virus is endemic in South India, so most dogs will be a carrier of the virus. Even vaccinated dogs carry the virus in their system,” Dr R Sooraj Mohan, senior veterinarian at Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary (BMAD), told Indianexpress.com.

In light of this, the BMAD is organising a free five-day vaccination drive from July 21 to July 25 for street puppies. The drive aims to vaccinate at least 100 stray puppies who are less than 60 days old everyday.

Dr. Sooraj explained that the virus is transmitted when dogs pass blood stools, when they come in contact with other with infected dogs, or through water contaminated by the virus.

“Vaccination gives dogs the immunity to fight the virus but since they may be carriers of the virus, any unvaccinated dog that comes in contact with them can contract the virus. This is why we have also stressed on getting dogs vaccinated at the right time,” he said.

Dr. Sooraj attributed the outbreak in parvovirus cases in Chennai to the ongoing monsoon. “We suspect that the sudden rise in cases could be due to the rains which can be a carrier, since most animals come in contact with contaminated water. Even if one dog has the virus, it spreads to all other dogs through contact, especially since most dogs live in packs,” the veterinarian said.

Dr. Sooraj said that puppies, especially those aged below 50 days, are most susceptible to the virus. “We have noticed that dogs that have been infected by the virus in the past don’t usually relapse,” he added.

“The first dose is given at 45 days old and the second dose is given 21 days after the first dose. Any stray puppy which is less than 60 days old and has not been vaccinated can get inoculated during the drive,” said Dr. Sooraj.

The senior veterinarian said over 50 puppies were vaccinated on day 1 of the drive on July 21.

Parvovirus has no cure. “Inoculating a puppy or a dog gives them a fighting chance against the infection, which is all based on body immunity,” added Dr. Sooraj.

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