SYDNEY, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- A highly contagious disease that targets puppies is more prevalent than previously thought, with 20,000 cases in Australia every year and nearly half of them fatal, according to a latest research.
The canine parvovirus (CPV) is a major cause of disease in puppies and dogs across the country, particularly in rural and remote areas, despite improvements in vaccination technology in the last four decades, the University of Sydney said in a statement on Wednesday.
The virus destroys dogs' intestinal lining, resulting in severe gastroenteritis, haemorrhagic diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration, said researchers. Their national survey of more than 800 veterinary clinics investigated the number of CPV cases, their geographic distribution and financial impacts on pet owners.
"CPV can kill puppies, so is an especially tragic disease, and most people are unaware that this is a big issue nationally," said lead researcher Dr. Mark Kelman.
"The estimated number of cases of CPV across Australia was 20,661 in 2015 and 20,110 in 2016, and the overall reported euthanasia rate was 41 percent." The latest findings were published in the Transboundary and Emerging Disease scientific journal.
"A range of risk factors might contribute to these differences across the country and requires further research," said Kelman.
"We suggest that socioeconomic factors and other issues in these regions may result in poor vaccination rates. If these rates could improve, this might stop these outbreaks and disease cases from occurring."