A Salford veterinary clinic has issued a warning to the Greater Manchester public following a rise in identified cases of a deadly and highly-contagious virus.
Irlam Animal Clinic has said it is seeing increasing numbers of puppies and young dogs suffering from Parvovirus, which is disease that can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs, as well as reduced appetite and low energy.
Parvovirus is easily spread by animals touching surfaces, and can live in soil in parks and gardens for as long as a year.
The disease can be fatal if left untreated.
Due to the rise in cases, Caroline Taylor – a vet at Irlam Animal Clinic – has urged pet owners to keep up with vaccinations.
With certain larger black and tan breeds of dog, such as Rottweilers and Dobermans, said to be more at risk of the virus, she has also urged owners to consider getting their four-legged friends a second dose earlier than usual, as most dogs are vaccinated when they are very young, but it can be difficult for vets to tell whether the treatment has been successful.
Dr Taylor has suggested that pets go for a second injection in their first year.
“There’s been an increase in the number of Parvovirus cases we see and the other worry for us is that some of the dogs have been vaccinated,” Dr Taylor explained.
“It’s probably because they were very young when they were vaccinated.”
She continued: “It’s not just us who are seeing an increase in Parvovirus cases, it’s happening in lots of places [and] it does dogs no harm to go back to the vets to get another vaccine at six months or nine months, so that’s what we would advise.
“Usually vaccines for dogs are all done in one, but we have got a specific Parvovirus one which is just for that and it’s a bit cheaper”.
Leading veterinary charity PDSA has also advised pet owners to make sure vaccinations are as up-to-date as possible in order to stop the spread of the virus, with Rachel Smith – senior vet at Manchester PDSA Pet Wellbeing Centre – adding: “Parvovirus is a nasty virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
“It’s spread from infected dogs through anything they’ve touched, or by their faeces [and] it can live in the environment, such as the soil in a park or garden, for up to a year.
“Signs of Parvovirus include watery diarrhoea, which may have blood in, vomiting, reduced appetite and low energy [and] sadly it can often be fatal, with young puppies being particularly at risk, so call your vet immediately if you have any concerns.
“It’s vitally important not to turn up at your vet practice unannounced [however as] many vets have made changes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which will still be in place even now full lockdown has ended.
“They will also need to take steps to prevent any potential spread to other pet patients.
“If your dog has missed their boosters or has never had vaccinations, we’d advise getting them up-to-date as soon as possible”.
You can find more information on Parvovirus via the PDSA website here.