A twitter-based early warning system to alert vets and dog owners of cases of canine parvovirus (CPV) in their area has warned of cases in 61 postcode areas in the three months since it was launched. It has also attracted more than 1,000 followers across the country.
Launched in November 2012 by Virbac Animal Health, @parvoalert is a twitter feed that updates followers on the geographic location of cases. Vets and owners learning of a case are asked to tweet the first half of the postcode where it occurs to @parvoalert, which then retweets it. As an additional precaution, Virbac immediately sends practices in the affected postcode a ‘Parvo-Alert pack’ to help them warn pet owners.
Reports received have been most frequent from cities in the North West, including Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds but cases have been reported as far afield as Hereford, Romford, Sevenoaks and Weston super Mare.
Simon Boulton MRCVS, Product Manager at Virbac, comments: “Two things have surprised us since we launched @parvoalert. The first is the sheer volume of cases. The second is their geographic spread. We have received reports of cases all over the country and it is clear that it is by no means confined to the North West nor to urban areas.
Unfortunately many owners are still unaware of CPV but we hope @parvoalert is contributing to a growing understanding of the threat posed by the disease, which still proves fatal in many diagnosed dogs. In creating this understanding we hope we’ll encourage owners to be vigilant and to protect their dogs through vaccination. We’re delighted to have attracted more than 1,000 followers in such a short space of time.”
Parvovirus is a common, highly contagious virus that can prove lethal to dogs of all ages, especially young puppies. Sadly many people are still unaware of this potential canine killer which is hard to treat, but can easily be prevented by regular vaccination and hygienic dog breeding conditions. For us vets @parvoalert is an excellent service that fully embraces social media, successfully raising much needed public awareness.
@parvoalert is the latest initiative from Virbac to help vets warn owners of the dangers of CPV. The Parvo-Alert pack it sends to practices contains a range of tools and support materials to help them alert dog owners. These include waiting room posters, leaflets, stickers and template text for newsletters.
Once @parvoalert is established, the company aims to build it into a comprehensive web-based CPV resource, featuring background on the prevention and treatment of the disease; comment from veterinary experts and downloadable practice support materials.
Alongside the Canigen vaccine range, Virbac also offers Virbagen Omega, the veterinary interferon based treatment for CPV and Speed Parvo FC, a rapid in-house diagnostics test for the disease.
Founded by a veterinary surgeon, Virbac is the largest independent veterinary pharmaceutical company in the world and is dedicated to supporting the veterinary profession through the development of innovative products and services, which support their businesses and help animals lead longer, healthier lives.