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PDSA warning over latest parvovirus outbreak

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Several dogs have died in what the PDSA has described as a serious outbreak of Canine Parvovirus in Staffordshire.

Dog owners in the Stoke-on-Trent area are being urged to get their pets vaccinations up to date after the sudden rise in the number of cases of the potentially fatal disease.

Vets at Stoke’s PDSA in Club Street have reported seeing up to five cases a day of suspected canine parvovirus, compared to the ‘normal’ rate of just one a week.

Parvovirus: highly contagious

A highly contagious viral disease, symptoms of Parvovirus can include severe vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, dehydration and heart problems.

Dogs that develop Parvovirus infection show symptoms of the illness within three to 10 days of contacting the virus.

I would urge all owners to make sure their pets' vaccinations are up to date

Parvovirus can be fatal, especially in young dogs. It spreads from dog to dog in faeces and the virus is able to survive for long periods in the environment.

Protection against the disease is given as part of a vaccination course which should be boosted annually.

Parvovirus can be fatal especially in puppies

Duncan Senior, senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA in Stoke-on-Trent said: "Parvovirus is a severe, highly infectious disease that can often be fatal, particularly in puppies.

"We saw a surge of cases two months ago, but this seemed to be tapering off.

"However in the last week we have been inundated. This indicates a serious outbreak, and sadly there have been several fatalities.

"I would urge all owners to make sure their pets' vaccinations are up to date."

Warning over at risk areas

Vets advise clients with puppies that have not completed their vaccination course to be very careful about taking them to public places such as parks, dog toileting areas, shopping areas.

All adult dogs whose vaccinations are not up to date are potentially at risk so they should receive a booster ASAP.

Maria Bailie of Cardiff Dogs Home said: "It's incredibly important to get the message out there," she said. "You can liken it to the measles outbreak in Swansea that is spreading because people opted not to have the vaccination and I think something similar is happening here with parvovirus."

In the past few months, vets while also dealing with individual cases nationwide on a regular basis, have also reported a number of serious outbreaks involving several dogs at a time.

Outbreaks have taken place across the country including;

  • July: Bolton, Lancs, several cases reported
  • June: Bradford, Yorks, three cases reported, two dogs die
  • May: Swindon, Wilts, nine dogs die
  • April: South Wales, a new outbreak after the death of seven dogs in Cardiff in November last year
  • March: Aberdeen, one dog dies

February: Burnley, Lancs, five dogs die, Leigh, Lancs, 9 dogs die, while in Leicestershire there are a further 3 deaths
For more information on parvovirus follow this link

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Published: 06:23, 9 August 2013 | Updated: 11:22, 25 September 2013