Tongans can take their pet dogs for parvovirus inoculations, after 600 vaccines were recently provided to the animal care clinic in Tokomololo, Tongatapu.
The vaccines were sourced and shipped to Tonga with the help of the South Pacific Animal Welfare (SPAW), Tonga Animal Welfare Society (TAWS) and Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries (MAFFF).
Since COVID-19 restrictions started in March 2020, there have been no parvovirus vaccines available in Tonga.
Pre-COVID, SPAW would usually bring and administer 800-1000 parvovirus vaccines to Tonga each year at their clinics run in Tongatapu, Vava'u and Nomuka, said SPAW Veterinarian, Dr Geoff Neal.
“Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect dogs of any age, but puppies and young dogs that are under 1-year-old are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus.”
The fatality rate for infected dogs is reported to be around 90% or more.
Parvovirus vaccines are very safe and provide very good protection against this deadly disease, he said.
The virus spreads via faeces and can survive outside a dog, in the environment, for 6 to 12 months depending on conditions.
“Puppies can be infected at any stage of life, from when still in the uterus (ie before birth) through into adulthood.”
In addition, the parvo vaccines are administered by MAFFF at Tokomololo at a low cost of $10 for two. The vaccine is a prevention and not a cure, he said.
Dogs can’t be vaccinated if they are sick, less than six weeks old, pregnant, and puppies that are still suckling.
Meanwhile the Tonga Animal Welfare Society has been fundraising in Tonga to be able to buy and import animal treatments for the community.
This includes the Tonga Marathon to be held on Saturday, July 17 to fundraise for TAWS.
TAWS Vice President, Angela Glover said around 40 runners will take part in the marathon which includes the 5km, 10km, 21km, 42km.
The 42km will start from Able Tasman to the Ha’amonga Trilithon.
A separate free event will be held, after the marathon at TOP Restaurant with raffle prizes and present awards to marathon winners.