Are your canine patients protected from parvovirus?

Are your canine patients protected from parvovirus?

Make sure clients are informed about their dog's vaccines.
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Jan 19, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Most clients are good about bringing in pets for their annual vaccinations. It's a practice that has been ingrained since before the concept of the wellness visit. But do your clients really know what the vaccines their pets are receiving protect against? According to the results of a recent survey, maybe not.

This survey, conducted by WMS Marketing Services for Merial, specifically evaluated clients' knowledge of parvovirus, a common and potentially fatal infectious disease in dogs. Although 84 percent of the respondents knew canine parvovirus was a high-risk disease in dogs, they had misconceptions about how it's transmitted and its effects.

For example, almost 90 percent said that parvovirus affects the central nervous system. In fact, parvovirus is an intestinal disease that causes gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea but no neurologic signs. In addition, 42 percent said they thought that once a dog recovered from parvo, the dog cannot transmit it to other dogs. In fact, recovered dogs can become carriers of the disease and occasionally shed the virus in their stool.

The good news? Seventy percent of owners said they do get their dogs vaccinated against parvovirus. But since this disease can be fatal, a higher percentage is definitely desirable. And a higher percentage need to vaccinate dogs under 1 year of age since these puppies are at an increased risk of parvo.

This survey highlights the need for client education. Clients' understanding of the diseases you're trying to protect their pets from is important so that they remain vigilant about maintaining that protection. The next time you notify a client about a wellness visit that includes vaccinations, consider including information about what specific diseases the vaccines will protect their pets from and why it’s so important to do so. And if your understanding of your practice's vaccination protocols is a little fuzzy, it might be time for a little team training as well.