Category: “Home Page”

Parvovirus and You

Canine Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus or ‘Parvo” is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs but especially young puppies. It can cause devastating gastrointestinal  effects and is potentially fatal.

How is Parvo spread?

Parvo is spread by dog to dog contact and contact with contaminated people (on clothes, hands, shoes) and environments (kennels, food and water bowls, bedding). Dogs that have had the disease can shed the virus for weeks afterwards, even once they are well. It also is extremely good at surviving for long periods of time in the environment as it is not easily killed by heat, cold and dry conditions. Dogs can also incubate the disease for up to 2 weeks before showing any signs of illhealth.

What are the signs of Parvo?

Loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, severe or bloody diarrhoea, dehydration and collapse. Puppies can die within a very short time from the start of clinical signs, so it is important to seek veterinary treatment early.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis is often suspected based on the patients’ history, vaccination status and clinical exam by a vet. There is also a faecal sampling test available that can be done at the practice which can be useful to confirm diagnosis, although tests are not always 100% accurate.

Treatment usually requires intensive treatment in an isolation facility. It involves intravenous fluids, pain relief, nutritional support, gut medication and antibiotics for secondary infection. Severe cases of parvovirus may be hospitalised for several days or longer. The earlier the treatment is started the greater the chance of a successful outcome. If you are concerned that your dog might be showing any of the signs of Parvo, please contact the clinic as soon as possible and explain. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the disease, please do not bring your dog into the clinic but make staff aware that you are here, then wait outside until our vet staff can attend to you.

How can Parvo be prevented?

It is vitally important that all puppies receive a course of vaccinations every 3-4 weeks with the final vaccination between 14-16 weeks of age. A booster vaccination should be given between 6-9 months of age. Adults that have never been vaccinated should receive 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart. In addition to this, try and avoid contact with sick and unvaccinated dogs and faecal matter when out and about. If you are concerned that your dog is not fully vaccinated, please contact one of our clinics.

Your New Puppy

Your New Puppy


Your puppy should have received its first vaccination together with a physical check up before re-homing; you should have received a vaccination certificate as proof of this.  If this has not been done please book for an appointment straight away.

Boosters are required every 3-4 weeks until your puppy is over 14 weeks of age.   Full immune protection cannot be relied upon until a week after the final booster.

The diseases we routinely vaccinate against include Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis.

Further vaccinations for Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough are also available

Boosters are essential to maintain your dog’s immunity to these serious diseases.  These are required annually for Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough; and biannually for Parvovirus, distemper and Hepatitis

What to expect at your puppy’s first visit to the Vet Centre.

At the Vet Centre we want your puppy’s first visit (and every other visit) to us to be a positive experience

When you arrive at the Vet Centre, your puppy will be weighed.  They will then have a consultation with the vet, where they will have a full and thorough check-over.

Any queries or problems you may have regarding your puppy can be answered at this time.

Once your puppy is found to be healthy they will be vaccinated.  This is done as a small injection under the skin.  Your vet will advise you on the best vaccination protocol for your puppy, they will likely need a booster a few weeks later

The vet may ask what worm and flea treatment your puppy has had, and if needed these may also be administered.  Microchipping may also be done at this time.


Good socialisation ensures that your puppy develops into a dog that is well behaved with yourself, your family, other humans and animals.

The most important period for socialising puppies is between 8 – 16 weeks of age.   Once your puppy is fully vaccinated it is important that you take your puppy out to meet other puppies, adult dogs and also people of all ages – especially children.  It is also important to expose your puppy to all kinds of environments, novel things and experiences, in a non-threatening way.   This will make the puppy confident and enable it to cope with normal everyday things, including noises, smells, water, other animals, strangers and even vets.

Puppy Playcentre is a fun way to help you socialise your puppy, helping it to develop those social skills it will need for the rest of its life.


The goal of our classes is to help produce a well socialised, happy, confident and obedient dog.

It is important that what we teach them at this early stage results in a well-behaved and socially acceptable adult pet.  By starting now, we can prevent bad habits and teach our pets good manners in a fun and friendly environment.

If your puppy has had its first vaccination and is less than 16weeks old, we would like to have you join our next puppy class.

Please contact us for a registration form.


Worms are a common cause of ill health in dogs and can cause symptoms ranging from poor condition, loss of appetite, pot belly, vomiting and diarrhoea, coughing, anaemia and even death.

Four worm types in New Zealand – round worms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, affect dogs.

Puppies should be treated with an fortnightly from 4 weeks until 12 weeks, monthly until 6 months, then every 3 months for the rest of its life.


Fleas are a common problem, particularly in summer, but are an issue all year round.   As well as carrying tapeworms, fleas are very irritating for dogs, and can cause an allergic dermatitis.   Effective flea control requires the use of products that are non-toxic, convenient to use and effective at breaking the flea breeding cycle.

Ensure any flea product you use on your puppy is safe for use on young animals.  If you are unsure, please ask our staff.


Proper development of the teeth, bones, internal organs etc relies upon supply of the correct balance of nutrients and hence depends greatly on the quality of the diet.

It is important that you choose the correct type of diet for the life stage and also the size of your dog.   Puppies require more protein, energy and minerals than an adult dog, and it is important to feed them a suitable puppy food during the first year.   Large breed puppies (greater than 25kg expected adult weight) can suffer from certain skeletal problems associated with fast growth rates and to minimise this there are special diet for large breeds.

Premium foods (such as Eukanuba and Hills) are made of high quality ingredients; providing your pet with the best nutrition.  Smaller amounts of these foods are needed for daily nutrition so it is important to follow the recommendations on the packaging as to how much of the product to feed.  This is a guideline only; you can vary this to your own dogs needs by assessing their body condition.

Ideal body condition is when you can easily feel the ribs with gentle pressure but cannot see the ribs.   If you are unsure, ask a member of our staff to help you.

As a general rule we recommend feeding three meals a day from the age of eight weeks.   This can be reduced to two meals at the age of twelve weeks or earlier if the puppy starts to leave food after a meal or shows disinterest in food.   From sixteen weeks of age the puppy can be fed just once daily though twice daily feeding for life is ok too.

Remember fresh water should be available at all times.


You will need to choose a suitable collar.  Remember to check the adjustment regularly as puppies grow fast.   You should always be able to insert two fingers easily beneath the collar.

Other alternatives for lead training are available including; haltis, harnesses & check chains.   Talk to our staff about what is best for your puppy.

Once venturing outside the house you should keep your puppy under control at all times and you must be sure you can call your puppy back to you before letting off the lead in public places.   The use of a long retractable lead allows the puppy some freedom whilst it is still in training.

For the first 3 – 4 months of your puppy’s life it will get most of its exercise from playing around the house and walks are not strictly necessary.   However, once your puppy is fully vaccinated short daily walks are very useful to help socialise your puppy with other dogs, people, animals, traffic and other sights and sounds encountered outside.

It is important not to overdo a young dogs exercise to avoid their bones prematurely stop growing or becoming deformed.   When a dog reaches its full size, the bones stop growing and amount of exercise can safely be increased.   This is generally around 12 months

Adult dogs need a exercising for at least half an hour a day and this can include some time off lead.   The more athletic the breed the more exercise they will require.   Try to vary the exercise so that the dog does not become bored.


By law, all dogs over the age of three months must be registered with Animal Control and are required to wear a registration tag when in a public area.

Visit your local council.

Microchipping is a local council requirement for all new puppies being registered.

It can be done during a normal consultation or vaccination.


Unless you are serious about showing or breeding your dog, desexing is recommended, and has far more advantages than disadvantages.

Owners are often tempted to have at least one litter from a bitch, believing that having a litter will improve temperament.   There is no evidence to support this theory.

Breeding is an expensive and time-consuming process, which requires a lot of hard work.

The advantages of desexing are:

  • Reduces wandering in the male and female
  • Reduces diseases and cancer of the prostate
  • Mammary cancer, a relatively common disease can largely be prevented by desexing the bitch.   To gain this advantage it is important to have the bitch desexed before her first heat.   For this reason we recommend desexing bitches at 6 months of age, decreasing the chances of mammary cancer by a 70%.
  • The bitch will not have any unwanted puppies or phantom pregnancies
    • Prevents pyometra, a serious, toxic infection of the uterus, which usually requires an emergency operation to save the bitch’s life

The disadvantages of desexing are:

  • You will not be able to breed from your dog.
  • A small number of female dogs become incontinent later in life.  This is easily treated

It is a common fallacy that a desexed dog will become fat and lazy.   Remember that all service animals, Guide dogs, Hearing dogs and dogs for the Disabled are routinely desexed.   Feeding of a quality diet without excessive titbits should adequately control any problems of weight gain, just as it does in the entire animal.

Both dogs and bitches are usually desexed at about 6 months of age although the operation can be carried out at any time.   Any of our staff will be more than happy to discuss the details with you.


We recommend that you think seriously about how you would cope financially in a situation where expensive surgery or long term treatment is necessary for your puppy.   The companies in New Zealand that offer pet medical insurance offer a variety of plans ranging from very basic to very comprehensive cover.   Be sure you know what you are getting for your premium. To find out more about insurance visit

Grass Seeds!

Grass Seeds!

Dogs love going into the long grass when out on their walk and grass seeds can cause many problems to them.  Although these seeds may seem harmless, they can act like small spears and can lodge in many places on your pet and it’s coat.  These seeds commonly cause problems in many areas.


Grass seeds get caught between the toes, pierce the skin and then can travel under the skin.  This causes significant damage and irritation to tissues.Affected animals often need sedation and local anaesthetic to remove the seed.


Grass seeds can get caught down ear canals and cause irritation, pain and infection.


Seeds can get caught in the eye and under the eyelids.  These seeds can then cause scratching on the cornea and conjunctivitis.

Dogs with long coats are more susceptible as the seeds get caught in their coat more easily.When you return from a walk with your dog it is useful to inspect between the toes, underneath the armpits and in the ears.

The sooner damage is noticed the quicker the recovery from treatment, so if your dog is licking at it’s feet excessively or you notice a wound between the toes, shaking it’s head, or rubbing at eyes; please contact the clinic.