We are seeing an increase in the number of dogs in the Derby area with Parvovirus. The number of cases of Parvovirus per week has risen and is the highest we have seen for a number of years resulting in a number of deaths since the New Year.
Parvovirus causes severe damage to a dog’s gastro-intestinal tract, resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea (often with blood and a characteristically foul smell). Dogs under the age of 12 months are most severely affected. The virus is caught when ingested or inhaled, and is very persistent, remaining active in the environment for many months after an infected dog or their faeces have gone.
Affected dogs require intensive care with fluids, antibiotics, gut protectants and supportive feeding in a veterinary centre if they are to survive this devastating disease. Even with maximal care approximately 20% of dogs do not survive. (This percentage is greater if the dog is already severely unwell). Dogs that survive Parvovirus need isolating from other dogs for up to a month after their recovery to ensure they don’t pass on the infection.
“The only way to prevent infection is to vaccinate your dog and follow up with regular booster vaccinations. Not vaccinating your dog is a false economy and can seriously compromise their welfare,” says Anna Cockle, Associate Partner at Scarsdale Veterinary Group. She added “It is heart breaking to see dogs suffering from this horrific, preventable disease.”
Any un-vaccinated dog with vomiting, diarrhoea or coughing should be kept isolated from other dogs in a dedicated isolation facility. At Pride Veterinary Centre, we have an isolation ward as it is important to protect our other inpatients from any infectious disease whilst they are in hospital.
Parvovirus will remain active on clothes, shoes, toys, pavements and paws for months. Bleach and specific virucidal cleaners will eliminate the virus.
If your dog is not vaccinated please consider this risk and call your vet to discuss.