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Parvo ‘killing 300 a month’ claim

Preventable dog diseases are claiming too many lives, so say a number of vets from the PDSA, who are warning that parvovirus is present in Britain - with an estimated 300 new cases of the disease seen at its hospitals in only one month.

Canine parvovirus (CPV), which mainly affects younger dogs and in advanced stages, can kill nine out of ten animals, and with over 25% of cases proving fatal, the PDSA is urging all dog owners to vaccinate their pets to prevent them from contracting the disease and risking death.

PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon Sean Wensley said: “Parvovirus makes dogs extremely ill which is distressing for both them and their owners. PDSA staff at some PetAid hospitals have seen a large influx of very sick pets over the past few weeks.The virus normally affects a dog’s intestines, causing signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea. The faeces will also often contain mucus or blood. Dogs with parvovirus can also become subdued and lethargic very quickly, and go off their food. If a dog develops any of these signs, they should receive immediate veterinary attention.”

Some dogs will recover but others can die within hours of showing signs.

Checks carried out at around half of PDSA’s 47 PetAid hospitals in recent weeks revealed that at least 160 new canine parvovirus cases had been seen in a single month, so the actual number seen by the charity could be double this.

Information gathered also show stark regional variations in the prevalence of parvovirus. Samples were taken from over 350 dogs suspected of having the disease: In northern England, 78 per cent of dogs sampled tested positive, compared to Scotland where it was just 13 per cent. In Wales 70 percent of suspect cases proved positive, along with 65 per cent in the Midlands.

Sean Wensley added: “Ensure your puppy receives their vaccinations to provide good protection against this disease. Follow your vet’s advice on booster injections, which are usually once a year, because an animal’s immunity to the infection decreases over time.”

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